Georgia Sweeps Lady Razorbacks, Makes SEC

FAYETTEVILLE -- Georgia clinched a berth in the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament and eliminated Arkansas from tournament contention with a 5-0, 7-2 doubleheader sweep of the Lady Razorbacks on Saturday.

Kellie Middleton, Georgia's leading hitter, maintained her .369 batting average with a 3-for-8 day and Megan McAllister extended her Bulldogs record with her 45th career home run. Georgia (40-24, 10-14 in the SEC) took a 1-0 lead on McAllister's RBI single in the first game -- which turned out to be all the support Kasi Carroll (23-8) needed as she tossed her seventh shutout of the season. The Lady'Backs (20-40, 5-19 in the SEC) jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning of the second game on Samantha Buckner's sacrifice fly, but Georgia took advantage of two Arkansas errors to score four runs in the second inning for a 4-1 lead. Freshman Jessica Bachkora of Overland Park, Kan., Arkansas' leading hitter all season, maintained her .296 average with a 2-for-7 day that included her school-record fifth triple of the year. "I was not really expecting that," Bachkora said. "It's exciting to set a record." Arkansas coach Jamie Pinkerton said center fielder Bachkora has the best throwing arm in the SEC and shakes off bad days at the plate. "She's an emerging leader," Pinkerton said. Bachkora, nicknamed "Rocky" at age 11 when her swollen-shut eye resembled that of movie character Rocky Balboa, might have tied the score 1-1 in the first game, but Pinkerton stopped her at third base on Miranda Dixon's sharp single to center. "Middleton is a good center fielder, but I had already held Rocky up when I saw Middleton stumble a little," Pinkerton said. "In hindsight, I should have sent her." Dixon (4-16) gave up just two earned runs, but her two throwing errors complicated her task. "Miranda will make 97 of 100 good throws in practice," Dixon said. "But she's got Bull Durham syndrome. Today she was saying to herself, 'Oh, no, don't throw it away.'" Georgia out-hit Arkansas 18-7 in the doubleheader and made four errors to Arkansas' six. The two teams will meet at 1 p.m. today in a single game at Lady'Back Yard. Arkansas will honor senior Rachel LeMaster before the game.

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