No. 24 Georgia takes down No. 8 LSU after third-inning surge
ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 24 Georgia defeated No. 8 LSU 10-7 on Friday night at Jack Turner Stadium. The victory marked the third consecutive Friday night SEC win against a ranked opponent for the Bulldogs. Paige Wilson led the Bulldogs, going 3-for-4, including two home runs and two RBIs. Georgia improved to 36-18 for the season and 13-9 in SEC play. LSU dropped to 40-12 for the season and 15-7 in the league.
Chelsea Wilkinson (7-4) got the start for Georgia and recorded the win after pitching 5.1 innings, which included nine hits, six runs and two strikeouts. Morgan Montemayor came in as relief for Wilkinson and picked up her second save of the season. Montemayor threw 1.2 innings for two hits, one run and two strikeouts.
Rachele Fico (24-10) suffered the loss for the Tigers after throwing 2.1 innings and giving up eight runs on five hits, three walks and two hit batsmen. Meghan Patterson also saw time in the circle for LSU, pitching 3.2 innings and allowing two runs on four hits.
In the first inning, LSU went up 2-0 when Bianka Bell hit a two-run homer over the left field wall. Wilson hit a round-tripper of her own in the bottom of the inning to cut into LSU's lead to 2-1.
Georgia turned a double play in the second inning to clear the bases and pick up two quick outs. The inning ended after Simone Heyward, who singled, was caught stealing second.
Tess Sito recorded the second out of the third inning with a diving catch in front of second base, keeping LSU's runners on first and second. Kellsi Kloss walked to load the bases, but a ground out by Rikki Alcaraz ended the inning and kept the Tigers from crossing the plate.
Georgia scored eight runs in the third inning to take a 9-2 lead. The Bulldogs knotted the score at two after Tina Iosefa was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in Anna Swafford. Georgia took the lead when Wilson crossed home on a single by Kaylee Puailoa. After a fly out by Sito, Christine Olney laced a bases-clearing double to the right field wall to drive in Katie Sowers, Iosefa and Puailoa and stretch Georgia's lead to 6-2. After Katie Browne walked, LSU called the bullpen and brought Patterson to the circle. Niaja Griffin kept the momentum going and extended the Bulldogs' advantage to 8-2 when she hit a triple to drive in Olney and Browne. Griffin crossed the plate to bring the score to 9-2 before the inning ended with a pair of outs.
LSU added a run in the fourth inning and brought the score to 9-3 when Lauren Houston came home on of a single by Jacee Blades. Georgia made quick work of the top of the fifth inning with three consecutive outs. Highlighting the inning was a grab by Griffin, who crashed into the centerfield wall, robbing the LSU batter of a hit.
The Tigers cut into Georgia's lead to 9-6 in the sixth inning when A.J. Andrews hit a three-run homer to drive in Hailey Smith and Heyward. Following the home run, Georgia made a call to the bullpen for Montemayor. LSU added another run when Sandra Simmons drove in Bell to make the score 9-7.
Wilson led off the bottom of the sixth with her second home run of the night over the scoreboard to increase Georgia's lead to 10-7. Montemayor faced the minimum in the seventh inning to end the game with a final score of 10-7.