ATHENS, Ga. – In front of a record home crowd of 2,011 fans, the 10th- ranked Georgia softball team defeated #2 Florida in five innings Saturday, 11-1, clinching the series win.
Georgia has tied the program record with its 25th-consecutive victory.
This is the first series win over the Gators since 2011 and the first run-rule victory over Florida since Apr. 2, 2005 (12-4, 6 innings).
The offense outhit Florida 10-6. Alyssa DiCarlo, the game one hero, finished 2-for-3 with a double and a home run. She drove in three and scored twice. Ciara Bryan finished 3-for-3 while Cortni Emanuel had a 2-for-3 performance with a trio of RBI, tying a career high.
In the circle, Brittany Gray worked the full five innings and improved to 13-0 on the season. She struck out four and allowed just one Gator run.
DiCarlo reached third on a two-out error by the centerfielder in the opening stanza. On a throw down to second on an attempt catch Alysen Febrey stealing, the shortstop mishandled the ball, allowing DiCarlo to score and Febrey to retreat back to first safely. Georgia led 1-0 after one.
Georgia capitalized on another Florida error, this time with two out in the second inning, when a ball off the bat of Emanuel rolled through the third baseman’s legs, allowing Kendall Burton to score, widening the lead to 2-0.
Florida’s lone run came in the top of the third on an Amanda Lorenz RBI single, cutting the early Bulldog lead to 2-1.
The Georgia offense exploded for eight runs in the bottom half of the inning. The frame started with DiCarlo’s 12th home run of the season off the scoreboard in left. Florida went to the pen for RHP Natalie Lugo. Febrey drew a walk then was bunted to second and advanced to third on a groundout. With two out, Georgia rattled off seven runs. Bryan drove in Febrey with a single to center. Following a base hit by Kaylie Harding that Bryan took third on, Jordan Doggett singled to center, plating Bryan. Emanuel followed with a base hit of her own, driven up the middle. On the play, the shortstop muffed a throw to third, allowing another run to touch home. Following Justice Milz getting hit by a pitch, DiCarlo doubled off the wall in right center, plating both runs and putting Georgia ahead 9-1.
A single poked up the middle by Emanuel drove in the final two runs of the day for Georgia, bringing the lead to 10, 11-1.
The Bulldogs will look for the series sweep Sunday at 2 p.m. at Jack Turner Stadium.
Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer:
“We are hitting on all aspects of the game right now. Brittany (Gray) was outstanding in the circle. She was able to throw a lot of different speeds out there and at different locations to keep it a little unpredictable. I’m really proud of her composure and just the way she delivered pitches. I thought the defense had her back too, together. There is a process that goes through that and they are connecting right now. Offensively, (Alyssa) DiCarlo is just absolutely amazing. Cortni (Emanuel) had a three-RBI day swinging away and Ciara (Bryan) was 3-for-3. A lot of things are clicking. We are getting some power out there and then we are able to play small ball.”
“We are just going to continue to stay focused on what we do and stay focused on the process, because the most outstanding thing about today was the crowd. The crowd was awesome. The team just feeds off of that. When it is loud out here and the fans are going crazy, they love it and they love to play for Georgia and their fans.”
Senior pitcher Brittany Gray:
On what’s going well for Georgia…
“You know, everything. All of our pieces are clicking, hitting, pitching and going out there and just playing Georgia softball.”
On starting SEC play off strong…
“Just going in and knowing that each team is capable of beating us and sweeping us just as much as we are capable of beating any team out there. So just using our momentum for us.”
Junior shortstop Alyssa DiCarlo:
On clicking on all cylinders…
“I would say it’s just our mindset. We are all like very, very tough up here and we’re just working together with a lot of trust. We all trust each other. And more importantly, we trust ourselves.”
On clinching the series, but going for the sweep…
“Yeah, I mean Florida is a really good team obviously. So, this win gives us a lot of confidence moving forward and we just need to come out the same way.”