MONDAY MORNING REWIND
1. In retrospect, it looks like all N.C. State did was make Georgia’s softball team mad.
The Bulldogs, a No. 4 national seed, lost to the Wolfpack 5-4 on Saturday in the NCAA Athens Regional. That dropped them into loser’s bracket and put them in a situation in which they’d face elimination in three consecutive games.
No problem. After taking care of UAB Saturday night, Georgia came back with vengeance against N.C. State on Sunday. Following a long rain delay, the Bulldogs recorded back-to-back 9-1 and 8-0 victories. They advance to an NCAA Super Regional for the sixth time in the last seven years.
“I am so excited,” Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer said. “I’m definitely not ready to be done with this team. This team is special. They lock arms and they band together and fight. I’m so proud that we get the opportunity to go on and compete.”
The clinching victory was not secured until almost midnight Sunday but was well worth the wait. Pitcher Chelsea Wilkinson (33-8) allowed just one baserunner in recording her second no-hitter of the season. Katie Browne also hit a home run. It was one of seven homers the Bulldogs would club on the day Sunday. They had six in the first game, including two each by Geri Ann Glasco and Tina Iosefa. Anna Swafford and Browne also went yard in the first game Sunday.
Now Georgia (49-13), which won the SEC Tournament a week ago, has considerable momentum heading into the Super Regional. The Bulldogs will host the 13th-seeded Baylor Bears (45-14), which defeated Tulsa in the Waco Regional. The best-of-three series will determine which of the two teams heads to College World Series.
2. Georgia’s highly-touted tennis teams had disappointing showings in the NCAA Tennis Championships they’re hosting at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The 10th-seeded men went down against North Carolina, the 7 seed, in the Round of 16 on Friday. And after fighting for every point in its opening match against Southern Cal on Thursday, the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs were upset by Florida 4-1 on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
It was a tough way to go out for coach Jeff Wallace’s women’s team as the SEC Tournament champions had a senior-laden squad and were thought to be in position to challenge for the program’s third national championship. Georgia loses three seniors this year in Kate Fuller, Lilly Kimbrel and Maho Kowase. That group went 91-19 over the last four seasons and Kowase leaves as Georgia’s all-time winningest player with a combined 242 singles and doubles victories.
“What they’ve done for this program over the past four years has just been remarkable, and I’m super proud of them,” Wallace said. “This isn’t the way they wanted to go out, but we certainly have to mention how amazing their careers have been.”
3. The Georgia baseball team earned an SEC Tournament berth after failing to qualify last season. But the Bulldogs aren’t exactly heading to Hoover brimming with confidence. They got in with the 12th and final spot and nearly blew an eight-run lead en route to the clinching victory.
Nevertheless, Georgia (26-28-1, 11-18-1 SEC) held on for an 11-10 win. Now it will face 20th-ranked Mississippi State (35-20, 18-12) in the first round of the conference tournament Tuesday night around 8 p.m. (CSS) at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. First-round games are single-elimination, then the tournament moves into double elimination.
The Bulldogs effectively need to win the tournament to earn their first NCAA regional bid since 2011. Teams have to have a winning record for consideration.