May 21, 2010

*Courtesy of Georgia Athletics

ATHENS, Ga. - The ninth-ranked Georgia softball team (44-11) used a pair of fourth-inning homers to top Elon (38-20) by a score of 10-4 during the NCAA Athens Regional at the UGA Softball Stadium on Friday night.

The Bulldogs will now face 24th-ranked Florida State (44-16) on Saturday at noon. The Seminoles defeated Radford (36-16) 10-1 in five innings on Friday afternoon. Georgia is the top seed in the Athens regional and the No. 6 National Seed while Florida State is the No. 2 seed in Athens. By virtue of a coin toss, Florida State will be the designated home team on Saturday.

The Bulldogs finished with two two-run home runs on the night, which gives them a school-record 90 for the year. Both juniors Taylor Schlopy (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Alisa Goler (2-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI) recorded the homers to pace Georgia's offense.

On the mound, junior pitcher Sarah McCloud came into relief at the beginning of the third inning and improved to 9-1 after striking out two and allowing just five hits. Elon sophomore Erin O'Shea (17-9) took the loss after giving up six earned runs and four walks.

Following a two and a half hour weather delay, Georgia jumped out on top of the Phoenix 3-0 in the first inning. Junior Megan Wiggins drilled an RBI double off of the center field fence to score Schlopy from first. Wiggins, who drew three walks on the night, extended her hitting streak to 16 games, which is tied for seventh in school history. Schlopy also now has an 11-game hitting streak going after singling to start the game.

Later in the first, Goler advanced Wiggins to third on a fly out to right before sophomore Ashley Razey's lined a pitch just past the glove of Elon's shortstop to plate Georgia's second run. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 3-0 when junior Brianna Hesson scored on a throwing error following a sophomore Brittany Hubbard single.

Elon, the No. 3 seed in Athens, bounced back in the top half of the third to make it a 3-2 game. Sophomore Danielle Lafferty led off with a hard-hit single to third before freshman Tomeka Watson swatted a double to left center. Lafferty then took advantage of a Bulldog error to score from third to cut the deficit to 3-1.

After junior Jacqueline Gonzalez singled and junior Caitlin McGowan dropped down a sacrifice bunt, Watson managed to sneak across home plate from third after Gonzalez drew the Bulldogs' attention by taking second on the bunt.

McCloud struck out the side in the fourth leading up to another four runs for the Bulldogs after they batted around in the bottom of the inning. Schlopy connected for her 11th home run of the season after hitting a two-run shot just over Watson's glove in left field to give Georgia a 5-2 edge. Schlopy's shot drove junior Laura Trout in after she drew a walk to start the inning.

Goler made the Phoenix pay for their second walk of the inning after she hit a towering two-run homer to right center to up the Bulldogs' lead to 7-2. Goler, who pushed Wiggins in with her blast, now has 40 career homers and is one of only three players in Georgia history with at least 40 in their career.

In the fifth, Trout scampered home on a wild pitch to put Georgia up 8-3. Pinch hitter Jennie Auger put Trout in scoring position after blasting a double to left in Auger's first plate appearance. Later in the inning, Goler hit an RBI double increasing the Bulldogs' lead to 9-3.

The Bulldogs made it 10-3 in the bottom of the sixth after freshman Macie Couey scored as Elon was trying to pick off a runner going to second. Couey was running for sophomore Kristyn Sandberg (3-for-4) after Sandberg hit a one-out double earlier in the frame.

Although the Phoenix managed a final run in the top of the seventh, freshman Alison Owen closed the game for the Bulldogs, allowing two hits and registering a strikeout.