ATHENS, Ga. – The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs returned to the win column on Wednesday by defeating the Spartans of USC Upstate 9-1 in five innings at Jack Turner Softball Stadium.
In a game that lasted just an hour and 13 minutes, sophomore Alison Owen and junior Erin Arevalo combined to limit the Spartans (28-3) to just one unearned run on five hits. Owen (9-1) earned the win after pitching the first four innings and striking out five while Arevalo worked a scoreless fifth with two strikeouts.
Both pitchers worked with plenty of offensive support as the Bulldogs scored in each of their first four times at-bat to produce nine runs on 12 hits. USC Upstate’s Morgan Childers (20-2) was handed the loss after allowing Georgia’s first six runs on nine hits, and Spartan reliever Hannah Alexander allowed UGA’s final three runs on three hits. Childers, who entered the contest with a NCAA-best 13.3 strikeouts per seven innings pitched, only struck out one batter.
Georgia jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Senior Taylor Schlopy hit her second leadoff home run of the year, and three batters later fellow senior Alisa Goler (3-for-3) added a two-run home run. It was the seventh home run of the year for Schlopy while Goler improved her team lead in the category to nine.
After Georgia added a run in the second on a two-out single up the middle from junior Ashley Pauly (3-for-3), USC Upstate scratched across its only run in the top of the third. Three consecutive two out singles and a Bulldog throwing error allowed Kim Brasil (2-for-3) to cross the plate.
The Bulldogs quickly responded with two more runs in the bottom of the third to push the score to 6-1. With a runner aboard after Goler leadoff with an infield single, senior Brianna Hesson (2-for-3) delivered a two-run home run to left, her seventh long ball of the season. It was the third home run of the afternoon for the Bulldogs and it ended the day for Childers.
In the fourth, Georgia added the game’s final three runs to reach the needed eight-run lead to win by run-rule. Schlopy drew a leadoff walk and moved around to third on a single from Pauly. The next three batters each picked up RBI’s as senior Megan Wiggins (2-for-3) doubled in a run, Goler singled on a shallow fly ball to left and junior Kristyn Sandberg grounded out to provide the winning margin.