Feb. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Georgia Athletics

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The 22nd-ranked Georgia softball team used a seven-run seventh inning rally to comeback and defeat 20th-ranked Long Beach State, 10-6, at Big League Dreams Ball Park on Friday afternoon.

Georgia (1-0) returns to the field again Friday evening against UC Riverside. First pitch between the Bulldogs and Highlanders is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.

In the season opening game against Long Beach State, the 49ers carried a 5-3 lead into the seventh inning needing just three outs to win the game. After LBSU (0-1) recorded the an out on the first batter of the inning, freshman Lisaira Daniels reached on an infield single, freshman Ashley Pauly singled on a line drive off of the pitcher and sophomore Taylor Schlopy was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Senior Kristin Schnake stepped up next and delivered a two-run double to right to tie the game at 5-5. The very next batter, sophomore Alisa Goler, also provided a two-run double down the left field line to give the Bulldogs a 7-5 advantage. Sophomore Megan Wiggins followed Goler, and she extended the lead to 9-5 with a two-run home run to right. Georgia picked up its seventh run of the inning after Brianna Hesson reached on an error and scored on an RBI single from freshman Tori Moody.

In addition to the game-winning hit, Goler also had a solo-home run in the fifth inning to finish the game 2-for-4 with three runs-batted in.  Joining Goler with multiple-hit performances in the game were Wiggins (3-for-4, 3 RBI), Schlopy (2-for-3, 2 runs) and Daniels (2-for-4, run).

Sophomore Sarah McCloud (1-0), who entered in relief, earned the win after pitching 3.0 innings allowing just one run on four hits, while Brooke Taylor (0-1) suffered the loss. The victory marks the fourth-straight win in a season opening contest for the Bulldogs.

Georgia took a 1-0 lead in first. Schlopy led the game off with a single to left and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from Schnake. Two batters later, Wiggins doubled to right driving in the run. The sacrifice bunt from Schnake moved her into a tie for 10th all-time at UGA in sacrifice hits with 22.

Long Beach State used a pair of solo home runs in the third from Danielle Linke and Jennifer Griffin to take a 2-1 lead, but in the top of the fourth, sophomore Brianna Hesson answered with her first career home run, a solo shot to left center, to tie it at 2-2.

The 49ers big inning game in the bottom of the fourth. After loading the bases with one out, Brianna Goad singled in a go-ahead run and the bases remained full. The Bulldogs got a second out in the inning by going to the plate on a fielder's choice on the next batter. However, Ashley Weber then provided LSBU with a two-run single to left to extend the advantage to 5-2.

Georgia pulled to within two at 5-3 on Goler's fifth-inning home run, but still trailed by that deficit going into the seventh. The Bulldogs would send 11 batters to the plate that inning scoring the seven runs on six hits. Long Beach State scored a run in the bottom of the seventh on a single through the left side from Jonae Perez to give the game its final margin of 10-6.

Seven freshmen made their debuts for the Bulldogs in the game. Kristyn Sandberg, Moody, Daniels and Pauly all started, and Maya Branch, Brittney Hubbard and Tess Echols each saw action off of the bench.