The eighth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs came back from a 6-0 deficit late in Friday evening’s game against Virginia Tech only to fall in extra innings, 7-6.
The first pitch of Friday evening’s game was delayed one hour and 36 minutes due to weather conditions. In the top of the eighth with one out and one runner on base, the lights in Jack Turner Stadium went out, causing a seventeen-minute delay. The game also served as Georgia’s first extra-inning game of the season.
In a battle between two of the best pitching staffs in the country, with the Hokies and the Bulldogs being one of only four teams nationally to have eight or more shutouts, three Bulldogs saw time in the circle. Senior Kylie Bass earned the start, pitching four and one third innings, giving up three runs on five hits while tallying three strikeouts. Junior Mary Wilson Avant pitched one and two thirds inning and ended with three runs on three hits and one strikeout. Finishing the game in the circle for Georgia was sophomore Lauren Mathis (4-1) who pitched two innings, recording one strikeout and allowing one run on three hits.
After a quiet offensive start, Georgia (15-2) ended the game with six runs on twelve total hits. Junior Ciara Bryan tallied a team-high two RBI and recorded her 12th-career triple, which ties for fourth on the all-time Georgia career triples list. Senior Alyssa DiCarlo knocked her 54th career home-run and junior Alysen Febrey finished three-for-four with a walk and one RBI.
“We have a competitive group,” said Associate Head Coach Tony Baldwin. “I don’t fault our competitiveness in the early going. I give credit to their pitcher and her ability to make some really quality pitches. It took us a little while to get things going. I’m really proud of our girls and their fight. Just sticking to it. It’s a seven-inning game for a reason. If it was a four-inning game, we would have been in trouble today. We played all seven and we gave ourselves a chance to win at the end, and that’s all we can ask for.”
Between the two pitching staffs, the first inning was highlighted by five total strikeouts. In the top of the second, the Hokies got on the board first with a two-run home run over the right-field wall, only the third allowed by Georgia this season, giving them the early 2-0 advantage. These two runs were also the first earned runs allowed by the Bulldogs since Feb. 15 against Winthrop.
At the conclusion of three innings, Milz and Febrey combined for Georgia’s only four hits, tallying two apiece.
The score remained 2-0 through four innings of play, despite Georgia allowing two doubles in the top of the third. Virginia Tech extended its lead in the top of the fifth, 3-0, on an RBI double. Avant came in in relief with one out in the top of the fifth inning.
The Hokies offensive performance continued into the sixth, tacking on an additional three runs and extending their lead to 6-0. DiCarlo sparked Georgia’s explosive four runs on two outs in the bottom of the sixth with her 54th career home run over the right-center wall, putting Georgia on the board. Fincher reached base on an error and Sikes followed with a walk. O’Neal plated Fincher on an RBI double and Bryan followed, hitting a two-RBI triple, allowing Georgia to continue to chip away at Virginia Tech’s lead. The Bulldogs headed into the seventh only trailing by two with a score of 6-4.
Mathis entered the circle for the Bulldogs in the top of the seventh and allowed no runs. Pinch hitter Jessica Morgan led things off for Georgia with a single in the bottom of the seventh. DiCarlo singled to first with one out, advancing the runner. A full-count RBI single from Fincher followed by a full-count, two-on, two-out RBI double from Febrey tied it 6-all and sent the game into extra innings.
Mathis continued in the circle for the Bulldogs in extra innings, giving up one run in the top of the eighth prior to the
Georgia and Virginia Tech will rematch in the second game of the Bulldog Classic on Saturday, Mar. 2, at 3:30 p.m.