May 3, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The eighth-ranked Georgia softball team swept a double header against Arkansas at Bogle Park on Sunday, 8-0 and 8-2, behind a combined no-hitter from sophomore Sarah McCloud and senior Christie Hamilton in game one.

Sunday's double header concluded regular season play for both Georgia and Arkansas. With the two wins, the Bulldogs finish their 2009 regular season campaign with a 39-9 overall record and an 18-7 mark in Southeastern Conference action. The Razorbacks close out their regular season at 27-26 overall and 10-16 in league play.

The no hitter in the 8-0, five-inning game one was the 24th in Georgia's program history and the second this year. McCloud started and pitched the first 1.2 innings while Hamilton tossed the final 3.1 innings for the win. Hamilton pitched the first no hitter of the season as well, which was the first of her career, by working a six-inning, complete game over Cal State Northridge on Feb. 7. For McCloud, it was the second time in her career that she has been part of a no hitter after combining with Kate Gaskill on a perfect game against Mercer on March 23 of last year.

The run-rule victory in game one was the 18th of the season for the Bulldogs, which established a new-school record for games won by run-rule. The previous record was 17 in 2004.

Hamilton went on to work a five-inning, complete-game in the second contest, which was called in the top of the sixth inning due to a predetermined travel policy. Hamilton struck out five in that game to earn her second win of the day and improve to 21-7.

Arkansas' Kim Jones took the loss in game one to fall to 8-11 after starting and tossing 3.1 innings allowing seven runs, six earned, on two hits and four walks. Miranda Dixon fell in game two to drop to 17-11 on the year after surrendering eight runs, four earned, on nine hits.

Sophomore Alisa Goler led the Bulldogs' offensive charge in the double header going a combined 4-for-5 with a home run and seven RBI. She went 2-for-2 with the home run and four RBI in game one before going 2-for-3 with another three RBI in game two. The home run was her team-leading and school-record 20th, and she becomes just the third player in SEC history to hit 20 long balls in a single season. The seven RBI raised Goler's season total to 75, which makes her just the third player in SEC history to tally 75 runs-batted in for a single season, and she's now just four RBI away from the SEC record of 79 held by Alabama's Charlotte Morgan (2008).

Also providing the Bulldogs with a strong offensive showing was sophomore Taylor Schlopy, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, three walks and a hit-by-pitch to score five runs. Schlopy also stole three bases in the double header including two in game one, which saw the Bulldogs steal a season-high six bases.

In game one, Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Schlopy was hit by a pitch, stole second, took third on a throwing error by Arkansas catcher Whitney Cloer and scored on a sacrifice fly to left from Schnake. Goler followed by driving the ball out over the right field wall.

In the third, the Bulldogs added two more runs to extend the lead to 4-0. Schlopy reached as the lead off batter again by drawing a walk, and Schnake reached on a dropped pop up by Razorback first baseman Sandra Smith. After a wild pitch allowed the two runners to move up to second and third, Goler provided the Bulldogs with a two-run single through the right side of the infield.

In the fourth, Georgia continued to add to its advantage with three more runs to make it a 7-0 game. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out after freshman Tess Echols was hit by a pitch and both Schlopy and Schnake drew walks. Goler followed by also drawing a walk to pick up her fourth RBI of the game. Next, sophomore Brianna Hesson hit a two-run double to left center.

The Bulldogs picked up their eighth run in the fifth. Freshman Lisaira Daniels got aboard with a two-out infield single, stole second and scored on a single up the middle from Schnake.

In game two, Georgia built a 4-0 lead over the first three innings. In the first, Schlopy singled to center, stole second and gained third on a sacrifice bunt from Schnake. Goler followed driving in the run on a single to right. In the second, a pair of walks and an error loaded the bases full of Bulldogs with two outs for Goler, who delivered a two-run single to center. Then in the third, freshman Kristyn Sandberg led off with a double to left, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Tori Moody and scored on an RBI groundout from freshman Ashley Pauly.

In the fourth, the Bulldogs added two more runs to extend the lead to 6-0. Schlopy led off with a double to left. Next, Schnake put down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error on the play allowed Schlopy to come around to score. Two batters later freshman Kristyn Sandberg added an RBI single to center.

In the bottom of the fourth, Arkansas broke up a second-not hit bid by Hamilton on a two-run home run to right from Dixon. Cloer was on base after reaching on a two-out error.

In the top of the sixth, Schlopy and Schnake added back-to-back solo home runs to make it 8-2 before the game was called. Since play in the top of the sixth did not have a bearing on the outcome of the game, all play up until the point it was called is included.

Up next, Georgia will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., May 7-9, as the No. 3 seed for the SEC Tournament hosted by the University of Tennessee at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. Georgia will face the No. 6 seed Kentucky Wildcats in the first round. UGA swept the regular season three-game, series with UK.

The first round of SEC Tournament games will be played May 7 with semifinals May 8 and then the championship game May 9. All Georgia games will feature live audio broadcasted via www.georgiadogs.com for GXtra subscribers. Tournament host Tennessee, through www.utladyvols.com, will provide live stats for all tournament games along with live web streaming video for the non-championship contests. The championship game will be broadcasted on television by Fox Regional Sports Networks, and it can also be heard on XM Radio.

The winner of the SEC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament while the remaining teams will wait for possible at-large selections that will be announced on an NCAA Tournament selection show on ESPNU May 10 at 10 p.m. ET.