The sixth-ranked Georgia softball team opened the 2019 season with a pair of wins Friday at the FAU First Pitch Classic.
The Bulldogs (2-0) run-ruled St. John’s (0-1) in game one, 10-1, in five innings. The nightcap featured a 4-1 victory over host Florida Atlantic (0-1).
“I’m proud of the way we played Georgia softball today,” said head coach Lu Harris-Champer. “We came out scrappy and found a way. I thought the defense was outstanding, we made a lot of really good pitches, and it was fun to see the hitters work their process and get the job done.
“[The offense] continued to be the first team to adjust; looking for a pitch in our window and getting the job done. We faced a lot of good challenges today and for that, we’ll be better. Mary’s change-up was gorgeous. I thought she did a good job working the game, working from behind in some situations and working ahead in others. You could really see her keeping the hitters off balance.”
#6 Georgia 10, St. John’s 1 (5 inn.)
Justice Milz recorded a 3-for-3 performance in the season opener, driving in a trio of runs for the Bulldogs. Alyssa DiCarlo also had three RBI with a home run, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI groundout. Freshman Savana Sikes hit Georgia’s second home run of the game in her first collegiate at bat.
Kylie Bass started the game for the Bulldogs in the circle, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. Amanda Ablan also saw two innings of work in the circle, allowing one run on just two hits. Alley Cutting (1-0) picked up the win in relief by tossing a three-up, three-down inning in the fifth to close the game.
After a one-out double by Milz in the bottom of the first, DiCarlo sent a home run over the fence in center in her first at bat of her senior season to put the Bulldogs ahead early after one, 2-0.
In her first collegiate at bat, Sikes led off the top of the second with a solo home run to left field. With bases loaded and no out, Ciara Bryan drove in Jordan Doggett on a fielder’s choice. Milz drove in two more with a single to center. With Milz on third following a wild pitch, DiCarlo flew out to right for a sacrifice fly, widening Georgia’s early lead to 7-0 after two innings.
St. John’s got on the board in the top of the fourth with a home run to left off the bat of Marissa Rizzi, 7-1.
With two on and one out, Milz drove in her third run with a single to center in the top of the fourth to bring the lead back to seven, 8-1. DiCarlo picked up her third RBI on a groundout back to the pitcher, plating CJ Landrum. Alysen Febrey’s first hit of the evening was a double to left, driving in Milz and bringing the lead to 10-1 heading to the fifth.
Cutting (1-0) made her Georgia debut and recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth to wrap up the game.
#6 Georgia 4, Florida Atlantic 1
Mary Wilson Avant (1-0) worked a combined six and a third scoreless innings in her start, allowing just two hits, striking out four in the circle. Avant started the game then re-entered in the seventh to close the game. Lauren Mathis pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief, allowing one run on no hits.
At the plate, Febrey picked up two hits and DiCarlo added two more RBI with another home run.
Avant fanned the first batter she faced then proceeded to retire the next 10 batters, going perfect through three and two-thirds innings.
DiCarlo broke the scoreless tie the same way she did in game one with a two-run home run, this time with two out in the top of the fifth, 2-0 Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs added to the lead in the top of the sixth with two unearned runs, the first scoring on an error at the plate by the catcher and the second on a groundout by Bryan. Georgia led 4-0 going to the bottom of the sixth.
Avant recorded a no-hitter through five and two-thirds innings, broken up by a single down the left field line by Jolie Duffner with two out in the bottom of the sixth.
Avant re-entered in the bottom of the seventh in relief of Mathis with one out and two on. A one-out, bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center plated the Owls’ lone run in the final frame, 4-1.
Georgia returns to action Saturday morning against Bethune-Cookeman at 9:30 a.m. Georgia is set to face off against Virginia immediately after at 11:15.