The seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs advance to the Women’s College World Series after defeating the 10th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols 2-1. Georgia and Tennessee went head-to-head for eight innings sweeping the best of three series. The Bulldogs head to Oklahoma City for the fourth time in program history and improve to 48-11 on the season.
Mary Wilson Avant pitched the complete game and turned in a masterful performance. She tossed five hitless innings before giving up a single hit in the bottom of the sixth inning. As for the offense, Georgia outhit Tennessee 6-4. Cortni Emanuel and Ciara Bryan led the way with two hits each.
Tennesee’s pitching proved to be just as good as its starter Matty Moss matched Wilson Avant step for step.
There wasn’t much offense for either team until the top of the fourth when Bryan cracked a leadoff single down the first base line. Justice Milz got hit by a pitch following Bryan bringing up Alyssa DiCarlo to the plate. DiCarlo laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Bryan and Milz with one out. However, Moss got sophomore Alysen Febrey to line into a double play keeping the game at 0-0.
The Volunteers turned to the bullpen in the top of the seventh after a Milz single bringing in Caylan Arnold. With a runner on first DiCarlo nailed a triple into the right-center field gap scoring pinch runner Tyler Armistead from first. The score gave Georgia a 1-0 lead.
After having just one hit all game off Avant, the Lady Vols hit the tying run in the bottom of the seventh using two singles and a hit by pitch sending the game into extra innings. In the top of the eighth with no one on base and two outs facing a 0-2 count, Emanuel lined her third career home run into the right-field pines putting Georgia on top 2-1.
I thought the synergy around the team was fantastic,” head coach Lu Harris-Champer states. “I thought Mary [Wilson Avant] was lights out in the circle. She was really in sync with Coach [Rachele] Fico, and she threw her pitches with such ease and belief. Her changeup was remarkable. I’m proud of [her] for [her] steady pace and confidence in [her] team and [herself]. And then Cortni’s Cortni. She’s amazing. She’s the heart and soul of this team. An amazing leader for our team. I’m so proud of her. We get to watch her jack home runs every day in practice, and for her to step up in that situation, it tells you everything about her. To take a changeup to the trees is pretty phenomenal.”
With the win, the No. 7 Bulldogs advance to the 2018 Women’s College World Series which will be May 31-June 6 in Oklahoma City.