Daily Dawg Thread: March 28, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: March 28, 2024

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SB: Georgia run-ruled the Kennesaw State 10-1 in five innings at Bailey Park

Tyler Ellison

The third-ranked Georgia softball team run-ruled the Kennesaw State Owls in five innings at Bailey Park Wednesday evening, 10-1.

Georgia climbs to 28-4 on the season, having won 13 of its last 14 games.





Tyler Ellison’s recorded her first career multi-hit game with two, driving in a career-best four RBI to lead the offense. A two-home run day by Sydney Chambley also highlighted the offense. Along with Ellison and Chambley, Sara Mosley, Jayda Kearney, and Jaydyn Goodwin all had two hits. 

Shelby Walters pitched two innings in her start, allowing an unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts. Rachel Gibson, Destin Howard, and Riley Orcutt each pitched an inning in relief. Orcutt (1-0) was awarded the win as the most effective reliever, picking up her first win of the season.

A two-run home run off the bat of Kearney, her 13th of the season, put the Dogs ahead quickly, 2-0. Following Sydney Kuma getting hit by a pitch, Goodwin singled through the right side, putting Kuma on third. An errant throw to second on a stolen base by Goodwin allowed Kuma to score. Goodwin touched home on an infield single by Ellison to complete a four-run first inning, 4-0.





Kennesaw State (10-22) pushed an unearned run across the plate in the bottom of the first, 4-1.

Chambley and Mosley’s solo home runs in the second widened the Bulldogs’ lead to 6-1. Georgia wasn’t done in the frame, loading the bases with two out. Ellison plugged the left-center gap to clear the bases and bring the tally to 9-1.

Chambley’s second leadoff home run of the game tipped the 10-run mark for Georgia in the third.

Howard and Orcutt retired the Owls in order in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to secure the five-inning win.

The Bulldogs welcome No. 20 Arkansas to Athens for a three-game series this weekend. The series begins Saturday at Jack Turner Stadium at 12 p.m., and airs live on SEC Network. The first 500 fans to Saturday’s game will receive a Hairy Dawg Funko Pop.

GYM: Lily Smith has been named the SEC Gymnastics Freshman of the Year

Photo: Georgia Sports Communications

University of Georgia gymnast , the conference office announced Wednesday. The postseason awards are voted on by the league’s head coaches.

In addition, Smith was placed on the All-SEC and All-Freshman teams, and was joined by fellow freshman Anya Turner and sophomore Ja Free Scott. 

Smith is the highest ranked SEC freshman and tenth overall on bars with an NQS of 9.950.  She also ranks in the top 25 on floor and all-around. She scored a season-high of 9.850 on vault, 9.950 on beam and floor, and a Perfect 10 on bars. 

The Limerick, Pennsylvania native was a five-time SEC Freshman of the Week throughout the season.  She claimed 17 event titles- six on bars, two on beam, five on floor, and four in the all-around.

Smith notched a historic all-around score this season for the GymDogs, capturing her first-ever all-around title in her second meet competing all four events. She totaled a 39.600 against the Gators, which is the highest all-around score from a Georgia freshman since Courtney Kupets in 2006. She matched that score at the SEC Championship after beating it with a 39.625 at the Kidney Cares Gymnastics Championship in Nashville.

In her third meet as a GymDog, Smith scored a Perfect 10 on bars. She is only the fourth freshman in Georgia gymnastics history to record a Perfect 10 on bars and the tenth to achieve a 10.0 in their rookie season- marking the first since 2001.

To add to her recognition total, Smith earned All-SEC recognition for her scores on vault, bars, beam, floor, and all-around at the SEC Championship and was named SEC All-Freshman on bars, beam, and all-around. 

The GymDogs are set to compete at the NCCA Florida Regional April 4-7 at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville. Session II of the second round will feature No. 4 seed and host Florida, No. 13 seed Missouri, and Georgia as well as the winner of Clemson and Iowa State from the first round on Friday, April 5 at 5 p.m.

MTEN: Niels Ratiu named the SEC Co-Freshman of the Week, Manny Diaz’ final home matches this weekend

Ratiu’s award marks the first time this season that a Bulldog has earned a weekly award from the SEC. The Liège, Belgium native is the first Georgia player to earn Freshman of the Week honors since Ethan Quinn did so on April 17, 2023. Ratiu shares the honor with Alabama’s Andrii Zimnokh.

“I’m happy to have won the award,” Ratiu said. “It is an honor to be recognized for my work and it encourages me to do more. I’m just happy that I was able to help the team get the three wins this past weekend. I’m just trying to be me and play my game. I know what I’m capable of – I know that if I keep going and keep playing this well, the future can be bright.”

Ratiu anchored the No. 34 Georgia tennis team with clinching performances against two ranked opponents in doubles. Ratiu’s victories on court one in doubles and court three in singles were the clinching points of the competition, marking the second point-clinching win in doubles and first match-clinching win in singles of his collegiate career.

Later in the weekend, Ratiu and partner Freddy Blaydes defeated No. 29-ranked doubles pairing Bozo Barun and Hared Horwood 6-2 on court one for Ratiu’s highest-ranked doubles victory of their careers.

In his last ten matches, Ratiu has gone 7-3 against his opponents, closing out six of those wins in straight sets, giving him the best record on the team in that span. He has accumulated a 10-5 dual match record – also good for the most wins on the team.

His 14 three-set matches are also the most on the team, while his 11-2 record in straight sets this year gives him the best winning percentage of any Bulldog.

Georgia will host its final home matches this weekend, beginning with Manuel Diaz’s retirement celebration on Friday, March 29 against No. 20 South Carolina at 5:00 p.m. ET at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Coach Diaz will be honored after the match.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.