Chelsea Wilkinson's perfect game leads No. 8 Georgia to Sunday sweep
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Chelsea Wilkinson threw the eighth perfect game in Georgia softball history to highlight a pair of wins on Sunday in the Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Bulldogs started the day with an 8-0, five-inning win against Omaha before defeating Saint Francis 1-0 in the second game of the day. With the wins, Georgia improves to 17-2 on the year. The Bulldogs went a perfect 5-0 in the Citrus Classic.
Wilkinson's first perfect game of her career and a 12-hit performance led the Bulldogs to an 8-0, five-inning win against Omaha in the first game of the day. It was the 10th run rule game of the year and the eighth shutout this season.
Wilkinson faced 15 batters, striking out seven on her way to the first Georgia perfect game thrown since 2008. Wilkinson is now 11-2 on the year.
Lizzie Noble suffered the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year. She allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits and two walks in 3.0 innings of work. Jaylee Hinrichs, Kat Barrow and Carly Nielson combined to throw the final two innings. They allowed four runs on three hits and two walks.
Samantha LaZear went 3-for-3 with two runs scored to lead the offense. Tina Iosefa added two hits in the effort. Alex Hugo went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Anna Swafford and Kaylee Puailoa each drove in two runs.
Georgia jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded after an infield single, a walk and a hit batter, the UNO catcher tried to pick off Swafford at first, allowing Sydni Emanuel to steal home for the first run of the game. With runners at second and third, Puailoa sent a single up the middle, scoring Hugo and Puailoa to put Georgia up 3-0.
The lead increased to 4-0 in the top of the second. Samantha LaZear led things off with hit down the third base line before a groundout moved her to second. With two on, Wilson singled to left field to advance the runners. During the play, the left fielder dropped the ball, allowing LaZear to score safely and give Georgia a 4-0 lead.
Georgia added a run in the fourth when Hugo scored from third on a wild pitch after reaching on a double.
The run rule came into effect in the top of the fifth when Georgia added three runs on three hits. A hit batter and a pair of infield singles loaded the bases for Georgia. With one away, Wilson was hit by a pitch, allowing the first run of the inning to score. Omaha went to the bullpen with Nielson, who struck out the first batter before giving up a double to Swafford. The two-base hit allowed both Niaja Griffin and LaZear to score and put Georgia up 8-0.
Wilkinson returned to the circle and struck out the first batter she faced before inducing a foul out and a ground out to seal her perfect game bid and the 8-0 win for Georgia.
The Bulldogs took the game against Saint Francis 1-0 behind a strong pitching effort from Brittany Gray. Gray threw six no-hit innings to improve to 5-0 on the year. She allowed just three base runners in the game and struck out five. Wilkinson entered in the top of the seventh and threw the final inning to pick up her first save of the year.
Georgia scored its first and only run of the game in the bottom of the third inning. Griffin drew a lead off walk and promptly stole second and third. With one out, Wilson hit a RBI infield groundout to put the Bulldogs up 1-0.