June 4, 2010
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -It’s the year of the underdog at the Women’s College World Series.
Megan Wiggins hit a tiebreaking three-run home run off national player of the year Danielle Lawrie in the sixth inning and Georgia capped a day of upsets at college softball’s championship event by rallying to beat defending champion Washington 6-3 on Thursday night.
The victory by the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (49-11) followed upsets by 16th-seeded Hawaii against Missouri, fifth-seeded UCLA against Florida, and 15th-seeded Tennessee against Arizona to create an unexpected winners’ bracket at the double-elimination event.
“The game doesn’t know who’s ranked. That’s the cool part,” Washington coach Heather Tarr said. “That’s why we play.”
Lawrie (40-4), who came in with a 1.00 ERA, took a three-run lead in the first inning but struggled against the Bulldogs for the second straight year at the World Series. The only loss for Lawrie and the Huskies at last year’s event was a 9-8 extra-inning decision against Georgia.
Washington (50-8) also lost its super regional opener last weekend before Lawrie pitched back-to-back shutouts to put the Huskies back in the World Series. Lawrie called that loss an eye-opener that she didn’t want to end her career in such negative fashion, but she took this one differently.
“I don’t look at it as a wake-up call by any means,” said Lawrie, who came in with a 1.00 ERA. “I think as an offense and me with some pitches in different situations, I think you look at that and just see what you want to try to bring different.”
Wiggins had an RBI single as Georgia strung together a series of hits and scored twice in the fifth to tie it. She then hammered a 2-1 pitch from Lawrie over the center-field fence to put the Bulldogs ahead.
“We have a lot of heart, we have a lot of fight,” Wiggins said. “When you add that plus 27 people in one dugout, I think you have great success whatever you do, and I think we showed that tonight.”
Lawrie said she thought a number of Georgia’s hits found their way just out of the reach of Washington defenders.
“When you’re facing a good offensive team and they’re getting breaks like that constantly, it can be hard on you,” Lawrie said. “I think a lot of stuff fell for them today. Hats off, they’re a good hitting team.
“When that happens and you have home run power, you’re in a good spot.”
The Huskies drop into the losers’ bracket and face eight-time champion Arizona on Saturday in an elimination game. Only two teams – Texas A&M in 1983 and UCLA in 2003 – have gone on to win the title after losing their opening game.
Georgia will face Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee on Friday night, following another winners’ bracket game between UCLA and surprising Hawaii.