Despite Rain Delay Georgia Softball Defeats Harvard in Opening Game of Regionals

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Despite Rain Delay Georgia Softball Defeats Harvard in Opening Game of Regionals

Georgia infielder Justice Milz (2) during the Bulldogs' game against Harvard in the NCAA Tournament at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)
Georgia infielder Justice Milz (2) during the Bulldogs’ game against Harvard in the NCAA Tournament at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Friday, May 18, 2018. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

Georgia opened the NCAA Athens Regional play Friday afternoon with a 6-2 win over the Harvard Crimson at Jack Turner Stadium. The Bulldogs improve to 44-11 on the season. After the win against Harvard, Georgia faces Northwestern Saturday at noon. 

Mary Wilson Avant started for Georgia and pitched five innings in the circle. She improved to 10-3 on the season as she claimed the win against the Crimson. Wilson Avant allowed two unearned runs and tied a season-high with eight strikeouts. Lauren Mathis came in to relieve her and closed the game with two scoreless innings.

Georgia outhit the Crimson 9-4 in Friday’s game. Cortni Emanuel and Alysen Febrey each collected two hits for the Bulldogs. Mahlena O’Neal laid down three successful sacrifice bunts in the game. She’s the first Georgia player since Kayle Puaiola to do so since March 8, 2016, against Boston College.

Emanuel led off the bottom of the first with a bunt for a hit. She stole second and took third on a wild throw by the catcher. Emanuel was safe on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Ciara Bryan. Justice Milz added to the lead with a home run. The dinger marked her 13th of the season. A walk to Alyssa DiCarlo and a double by Febrey put runners on second and third. O’Neal laid down a successful squeeze bunt to score DiCarlo and widen the lead to 3-0 in the first.

Then, in the bottom of the second, the game went into a two hour and 31-minute weather delay.

Harvard’s Erin Lockhart capitalized on a two-out error in the bottom of the third with a triple to the wall in right center. This hit drove in two unearned runs and put the Crimson on the board. Georgia added a run in the bottom of the inning when Febrey stole home. Her stolen base marked Febrey’s fourth stolen base of the season. The score gave Georgia the 4-2 lead.

RBI doubles by Jordan Doggett and Emanuel in the bottom of the fifth gave Georgia its 6-2 lead. Mathis led the defense and silenced the Crimson offense wrapping up the game in the sixth and seventh innings.

Georgia faces Northwestern on Saturday at noon. Harvard and California square off in the first elimination game scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. The second elimination game of the day will begin at 5 p.m.

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Savannah Leigh is a recent graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia. She is an avid SEC, Dawgs, and college football fan. She also adores her three-year-old black lab, Champ Bailey.