Georgia used timely hitting and solid pitching to sweep Mississippi State in a doubleheader Saturday at Jack Turner Stadium. UGA took the opener 11-2 in five innings and the nightcap 9-1 in five.
Mississippi State (21-8, 1-5 SEC) was led at the plate by senior Jessica Offutt, who went three-for-four with two walks and a run scored. Freshman Katie Anne Bailey chipped in with a run, hit and walk. Providing much of the offense for Georgia (25-2, 3-0 SEC) was Alex Hugo, who hit a grand slam in game one and a solo homer in the second. She finished the doubleheader with six runs batted in and four scored.
In game one, sophomore Jacey Punches got the start for MSU and tossed one-third of an inning. She surrendered two runs on two hits and a walk. Freshman Alexis Silkwood (5-2) took the loss, allowing eight runs on seven hits and three walks in three-and-two-thirds innings. She struck out three. Senior Shana Sherrod completed the pitching effort, yielding a run on one hit. Geri Ann Glasco (11-0) earned the win, scattering seven singles and giving up two runs, one earned. She walked three and fanned two.
Game two had senior Alison Owen (10-6) suffer the setback. She gave up nine runs on nine hits, struck out three and hit one in four innings. Chelsea Wilkinson (14-2) picked up the win, surrendering four hits and a run while fanning 12, walking one and hitting another.
During the opener, MSU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Offutt and junior Julia Echols hit consecutive singles to start the game. A sacrifice bunt from freshman Caroline Seitz moved the pair up a base and senior Sam Lenahan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Senior Logan Foulks hit a sacrifice fly to center that plated Offutt for the one-run lead. A fielder's choice ended the threat.
Georgia answered in the bottom of the first and took a 2-1 lead. After a fly out opened the frame, Paige Wilson walked and Glasco singled to right. A double just inside the left-field line from Hugo plated Wilson and moved Glasco to third. Kaylee Puailoa was hit by the first pitch of her at-bat to load the bases with one out. Silkwood entered for Punches and got Maeve McGuire to hit into a fielder's choice that forced out Puailoa at second, but pinch runner Katie Sowers, who entered for Glasco, scored from third to put UGA ahead 2-1. A fly out to Echols in left closed the inning.
MSU immediately responded in the top of the second with a two-out rally to tie the game at 2-2. With one out, Bailey drew a walk and moved to second on a groundout. Offutt drew a walk to put runners on first and second with two down. Echols hit a ball off the end of her bat toward second baseman Hugo, who couldn't field it cleanly and it rolled toward the first-base line. Bailey came all the way around from second to score and even the contest. A groundout to third from Seitz ended the frame.
Mississippi State nearly took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third, but sophomore Loryn Nichols was thrown out at the plate to end the frame. With two outs, freshman Mackenzie Toler singled up the middle and was replaced by pinch runner Nichols. Senior Heidi Shape singled through the left side to put runners on first and second with one out. Bailey bounced a single up the middle that shortstop Wilson stopped and threw to Hugo covering second, but Shape was already on the bag. Nichols continued on the path to home as Hugo dropped the toss, but Wilson picked up the rolling ball and threw to home, where catcher Katie Browne put on the tag to halt the threat.
After the defensive hold, Georgia took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third. Hugo led off with a single and Puailoa walked to put runners on first and second. McGuire hit into a fielder's choice as Puailoa was forced out at second. Puailoa's hard slide knocked sophomore shortstop Kayla Winkfield to the ground and allowed Hugo to score the go-ahead run on the play. After a strikeout, Bethany Beggs tripled to right center to drive in McGuire. A groundout closed the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Mississippi State put its first two runners on but could not dent the scoreboard. Winkfield and Offutt led off with consecutive singles and Echols dropped down a sacrifice bunt that moved Winkfield to third and Offutt to second. Glasco got out of trouble with consecutive strikeouts.
Georgia tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth to go ahead 5-2. Swafford led off being hit by a pitch and, after a groundout, Glasco walked. Hugo struck out looking, but Puailoa bounced a single to center that drove in Anna Swafford. A pop out closed the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Georgia ended the game with six runs for the 11-2 final. Pinch hitter Malia Rivers led off with a single and pinch hitter Niaja Griffin followed with a double to left center. Pinch hitter Tina Iosefa sent a single through the right side that plated the pair for the five-run lead. A walk and fielder's choice without an out being recorded loaded the bases for Glasco. Sherrod entered for Silkwood and retired Glasco on a pop out. Hugo followed with a grand slam to right center that ended the game due to the eight-run rule.
In game two, Georgia kept the offense rolling with a leadoff home run from Swafford to open the bottom of the first and go ahead 1-0.
MSU threatened to even the score in the top of the second with a two-out rally, but a Wilkinson strikeout stranded a pair. With one out, Seitz singled to left. After a strikeout, Shape hit a ball toward Hugo at second that turned into an infield single. Seitz got caught between second and third and Hugo tried to throw to third, but the toss went wide and Seitz moved to third while Shape went to second. A whiff ended the threat.
Georgia capitalized in the bottom of the frame and went ahead 3-0 with an Iosefa two-run home run.
MSU cut into the deficit in the top of the third with a two-out solo home run from Echols that made it 3-1. The long ball was her third of the campaign and first since Feb. 13 at Florida Atlantic.
UGA added to its lead with five runs in the bottom of the third to take an 8-1 lead. Swafford was hit by a pitch and Wilson followed with a home run for a 5-1 advantage. Glasco and Hugo hit consecutive singles and Glasco was replaced by pinch runner Adele Harrison. After a strikeout and fly out, Browne delivered a double to left that plated Harrison and Hugo. Beggs followed with another double to left that drove in Browne for the seven-run cushion. A lineout to Winkfield at shortstop ended the inning.
Georgia ended the game in the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff homer from Hugo.
Mississippi State returns to action Tuesday at Memphis with a 6 p.m. CT contest.
On the heels of an inspired effort in a 4-3 setback to No. 24 Kentucky on Friday, the No. 61 Mississippi State women's tennis team will wrap up its current four-match Southeastern Conference homestand against No. 11 Vanderbilt on Sunday. Match time is set for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. In case of inclement weather, the match could be moved indoors to MSU's McCarthy Gymnasium. Fans should consult @HailStateWT on Twitter for the latest updates.
The Bulldogs will enter the match with a 9-6 overall record and 1-4 in SEC action. The team is led by sophomore No. 65 Georgiana Patrasc, who earned her third dual match win over a ranked opponent on Friday, defeating Kentucky's No. 54 Nadia Ravita. Freshman Timea Guibe picked up her second straight SEC victory, while Naomi Tran also registered one of State's three straight-set victories in singles against the Wildcats. In doubles, the 40th-ranked MSU doubles tandem of Alexandra Perper and Tran moved to 3-0 in SEC play at No. 1 with a win over UK's No. 56 Caitlin McGraw and CeCe Witten.
Vanderbilt (11-4 overall, 4-1 SEC) is coming off of a 4-3 win over Ole Miss in Oxford on Friday. The Commodores sport four ranked doubles teams in the most recent ITA rankings. The Commodores are led by No. 30 Ashleigh Antal and Sydney Campbell, No. 33 Courtney Colton and Marie Casares, No. 38 Colton and Lauren Mira and No. 49 Mira and Georgina Sellyn. In singles play, Sellyn is ranked at No. 63, while Colton comes in at No. 92 for VU.
Live stats for Sunday's contest will be available on hailstate.com.
Propelled by a second-round 68, senior Chad Ramey closed out his spring break with another Top-5 finish, this time at the Seminole Intercollegiate.
Ramey turned in a 3-under-par 213 on the weekend, earning the senior a tie for third place at the Seminole Intercollegiate. After the runner-up finish at the Tiger Invitational and Saturday's tie for third, Ramey now has 16 Top-10 cards as a Bulldog.
Spurred on by Ramey's performance, Mississippi State (9-over-par 873) tied Troy for fifth place. The finish gives the Bulldogs their fourth Top-5 card of the season.
"We played a little better today and moved up a couple of spots," Bulldog head coach Clay Homan said. "But I don't think any of our guys are excited about finishing fifth. We will focus on improving our overall games inside 125 yards and we will be ready to defend our title at the Old Waverly Collegiate in a few weeks."
Due to the threat of rain in the Tallahassee area on Sunday, the third round of the Seminole Intercollegiate was played on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Ben Wood (3-over-par 219) picked up his sixth Top 25 of the season. Wood chipped in 10 birdies on his way to a tie for 21st.
Senior Joe Sakulpolphaisan finished two strokes shy of his fifth Top-25 finish of the season, after shooting a 5-over-par 221 at the Southwood Golf Course.
Rounding out the Bulldog scorecard was senior Barrett Edens (9-over-par 225) and freshman Ben-Follett Smith (11-over-par 227). The duo finished 40th and 49th respectively.
Homan's squad will host the second-annual Old Waverly Collegiate Championship on April 7-8, from the beautiful Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. The Bulldogs clinched last season's tourney after beating UAB in a sudden-death playoff hole.