ATHENS, Ga. – No. 11 Georgia softball lengthened its winning streak to 21 games Monday, coming out on top of both ends of a doubleheader with Arkansas.
The Bulldogs were victorious in a nine-inning affair in game one, 1-0. The nightcap featured Georgia’s slimmest margin of victory on the season, defeating Arkansas 5-4.
Georgia improves to 22-1 in 2018 and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play. The sweep is the first of a conference opponent since Georgia swept Missouri in 2016.
Senior pitcher Brittany Gray finished the series 2-0 with a save in 15 and two-thirds shutout innings. She allowed only four hits and struck out 22 on the weekend.
Georgia 1, Arkansas 0 (9 innings)
Gray (11-0) set a new career-long outing in the circle in game one, going nine complete innings, allowing only two hits and striking out 11 Razorbacks (16-4, 0-2) in the shutout. Gray worked five and two-thirds of perfect softball.
Georgia scattered five hits with leadoff hitter Cortni Emanuel tallying two on the afternoon. Justice Milz recorded the lone RBI, driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Arkansas’ Haydi Bugarin tripled to right center with two out in the top of the sixth, breaking up Gray’s perfect game and no-hit bids. A groundout to short ended the inning, preserving the shutout.
Arkansas loaded the bases with no out in the top of the eighth but Gray and the defense quelled the scoring threat. The final out of the top of the eighth set a new career-long outing for Gray, topping her previous mark of seven and two-thirds.
Emanuel led off the bottom of the ninth, reaching on an infield single up the middle. She advanced to second on a passed ball. Milz lined a single into center, driving in Emanuel and walking off on the Razorbacks, 1-0.
The nine-inning game was Georgia’s first extra-inning game of the season.
Georgia 5, Arkansas 4
Kylie Bass (9-0) earned the victory her start in the circle. The junior worked four and two-thirds innings, surrendering two runs, one unearned, on four hits to the Razorbacks.
Gray earned her first save in the nightcap. She pitched the final inning and two-thirds of scoreless softball, striking out four.
At the plate, Georgia was outhit for only the second time this season, 8-6. Alyssa DiCarlo finished 2-for-3 with three RBI.
Back-to-back base hits by Jordan Doggett and Emanuel led off the bottom of the third. DiCarlo stepped in and launched her team-leading eighth home run to right field, putting the Dawgs on the board in a loud way, 3-0. A two-out hit-by-pitch and a walk led to late-inning baserunners. Mahlena O’Neal singled through the left side, plating the fourth run of the inning.
In the fourth inning, Emanuel reached on a throwing error by the shortstop then stole second. She scored on a base hit off the bat of Milz, widening the lead to 5-0 in favor of the Dawgs.
Arkansas scored its first runs of the series in the top of the fifth. A two-out walk to Bugarin followed by a double in the gap off the bat of Autumn Buczek plated the first win. Another walk followed by a two-out error by Milz allowed the second run to score, unearned. Georgia led 5-2 going to the bottom of the inning.
A two-run home run off the bat of Katie Warrick in the top of the sixth cut the Georgia lead to 5-4. Arkansas put two more on, prompting a call to the pen for Gray. She fanned the first batter she faced before an infield hit loaded the bases. Gray’s 100th strikeout of the season was the final out, stranding the bases loaded and preserving the one-run lead.
Two more strikeouts by Gray led to retiring the Razorbacks in order in seventh, securing the victory for Georgia.
Georgia’s doubleheader against Bucknell has been moved up to 1 and 3:15 p.m. start times on Wednesday at Jack Turner Stadium.
Georgia shortstop #8 Alyssa DiCarlo
On game one…
“Brittany (Gray) was throwing a great game so we just wanted to get it done for her. We weren’t doing as well on offense so we were just really trying to work hard on defense to get it done.”
On game two’s home run…
“It felt really good. Like I said, the pitchers have done well all weekend so to help give them the win was great.”
On moving forward…
“We are just going to forget about this weekend and move on to the next one. We will come out with the same energy and synergy and confidence that we came out with this weekend.”