For the first time since 2014, the 12th-ranked Georgia softball team clinched a series over #14 Auburn with a 3-2 victory Saturday evening at Jane B. Moore Field.
“I’m just so proud of our grit right now,” said head coach Lu Harris-Champer. “We’re really coming together as a team. It’s been one of those years where we’ve been scrapping and fighting and finding a way. Everybody’s been working the process and knowing that any given day they can be as good as their best day.”
The evening was highlighted by a stellar pitching performance by junior Mary Wilson Avant (8-3). The Macon, Georgia native carried a no-hitter through six and two-thirds innings, losing the bid with one out remaining in the game. She fanned three, allowing one hit to the Tigers.
“I thought Mary pitched a beautiful game, she just delivered,” Harris-Champer added. “I thought [Rachele] Fico was on her game A-game as far as reading their hitters. The two of them combined really well. The really special part about it was the defense had her back all the way.”
Georgia’s offense scattered five hits, led be a two-hit performance by Justice Milz. Ciara Bryan’s bat stayed hot with her fourth home in as many games, the first to do so since 2014.
Auburn pushed across an unearned run off a couple errors in the bottom of the second to capture a 1-0 lead on Georgia.
The Bulldogs found the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Savana Sikes drew a leadoff walk then advanced to second on a wild pitch. CJ Landrum beat out an infield single to third to put runners on the corners. After a Landrum stolen base, Alyssa DiCarlo grounded out to second, plating Sikes, tying up the game at a run apiece. With Landrum standing on third, a wild pitch allowed her to score, putting the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.
Bryan widened the Bulldogs’ lead to two, 3-1, with a solo shot in the top of the sixth. That home run was Bryan’s fourth in four games. The last Bulldog to hit a home run in four-straight games was Alex Hugo (Mar. 12-19, 2014). It was Bryan’s eighth home run of the season, moving her into second on the team.
An out shy of a no-hitter, Auburn’s Brittany Maresette, in a pinch hit role, hit an inside-the-park home run own the left field line to break up the no-no and narrow Georgia’s lead to one, 3-2. A groundout to second ended the game and clinched the series for Georgia.
The Bulldogs and Tigers will face off in the final game of the series Sunday at 3 p.m., ET, from Auburn.