Georgia Softball beat Tennessee 4-3 Friday night. The game was the first in a best of three series for a trip to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series. Georgia improves to 46-11 on the season and is one win away from going to its fourth world series appearance.
The Bulldogs came into the game averaging nine runs per game in the NCAA regional. Georgia wasted no time in Friday’s matchup as it recorded three hits in the bottom of the first. Cortni Emanuel started things off with a bunt single. She stole second giving her 51 stolen bases on the season. With one out, Justice Milz smashed a double off the left-center field wall. The hit allowed Emanuel to reach home and give Georgia the 1-0 lead.
Alyssa DiCarlo followed with a single of her own and Alysen Febrey drove in Milz from third on a sacrifice fly. This run gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage after the opening inning. Georgia continued its early success off of Tennessee’s starting pitcher Caylan Arnold in the third when DiCarlo and Febrey launched back-to-back solo home runs with two-outs doubling the home team’s advantage to 4-0.
Kylie Bass got the start and pitched five shutout innings before running into trouble in the sixth. A leadoff single and a hit-by-pitch set up catcher Abby Lockman’s sacrifice fly and right fielder Amanda Ayala’s double as the Lady Vol’s trimmed the Bulldog lead in half to 4-2. Mary Wilson Avant came in to relieve Bass with two runners on and two outs in the sixth. She avoided any more damage and ended the inning.
Tennesee refused to give up and manufactured a run without a hit in the seventh inning. Two walks, a wild pitch, and an RBI groundout narrowed the Bulldog lead to 4-3. With the go-ahead runs on base, Avant fanned Abby Lockman and gave Georgia its sixth one-run win of the season. Avant picked up her second save of the season, as she pitched one and a third inning out of the bullpen.
Georgia and Tennessee go head-to-head in game two on Saturday at 3 p.m. at sold-out Jack Turner Stadium. If necessary the rubber match will follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two. Both games will air on ESPN.