Softball: Five 2020 Seniors will Return for 2021

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Softball: Five 2020 Seniors will Return for 2021

Mahlena O'Neal
Mahlena O’Neal

University of Georgia softball student-athletes Mary Wilson Avant, Ciara Bryan, Alley Cutting, Justice Milz, and Mahlena O’Neal have announced their intent to conclude their senior seasons in 2021 for the Bulldogs.

Georgia saw the 2020 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, concluding the shortened season 23-5 overall. The Bulldogs finished with a No. 14 ranking in the NFCA and USA Softball polls.

Outfielder Ciara Bryan led the squad with 11 home runs, 31 RBI, 33 hits, 39 runs, 74 total bases, an .860 slugging percentage, and 15 stolen bases. Her 11 home runs co-led the SEC and ranked fourth nationally. Justice Milz saw limited time in 2020 but has been a force with the bat in her career, holding 24 home runs and 120 RBI in her career.

In the circle, Mary Wilson Avant concluded the shortened season with a 1.39 ERA and an 11-4 record in 16 appearances and 75.1 innings pitched. She fanned an SEC-best 120 hitters and held opponents to a .148 hitting clip. Alley Cutting recorded an ERA of 1.88 and a 5-1 record in 37 innings of work. Avant and Cutting’s battery mate Mahlena O’Neal returns to conclude her senior season. The catcher boasts a .997 career fielding percentage behind the plate for the Bulldogs in 175 games.

Avant (Marketing), Bryan (Communications Studies), and Cutting (Psychology) received their undergraduate degrees last week from UGA and will begin work toward their graduate degrees in the Fall.

Amanda Ablan and Jordan Doggett will not return to Georgia for the conclusion of their senior seasons. Ablan will attend graduate school at College of Charleston as a traditional student. Doggett has announced her graduate transfer to Oklahoma State.

Mary Wilson Avant
Mary Wilson Avant

RHP Mary Wilson Avant
“Playing softball for the University of Georgia for these past four years has been an absolute dream, but I am not done yet. While I originally had a plan to pursue my masters of Marketing Research at UGA as a traditional student, God had a different plan. I can’t wait to return as a student-athlete and play another season with Team25. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity. See you in 2021, Dawg Nation! Go Dawgs!”

Ciara Bryan
Ciara Bryan

Outfielder Ciara Bryan
“Dawg Nation, it looks like you get me for another year and I’m super happy to go all out and give you guys my best one last time! The 2021 season will be a show to watch. See you soon. Go Dawgs!”

Alley Cutting

RHP Alley Cutting
“Softball has brought me more opportunities than I could have asked for. Having the opportunity to play collegiate softball for six years has allowed me to grow through struggle and adversity. This year will truly mean so much more. Being able to obtain my masters degree in Education Psychology while playing the sport I love is more than I could have hoped for. I vow to step on the field every day with my heart on my sleeve and a fire in my eyes.”

Justice Milz
Justice Milz

Infielder Justice Milz
“God had other plans. I have unfinished business with Dawg Nation. I’m extremely thankful and excited to get another opportunity to finish my senior season and fight with my teammates for a national title! Go Dawgs!”

Mahlena O’Neal
Mahlena O’Neal

Catcher Mahlena O’Neal
“Sometimes life does not follow the plans that we make for it, and as those plans change, we must learn to adjust and overcome. I planned on ending my softball career in 2020, but the universe has decided against that. I am so excited to get a second chance to finish out my senior year at Georgia in the 2021 season. I can’t wait to take the field with my teammates and coaches! Go Dawgs!”

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