Photo Courtesy of the SEC
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Georgia softball took home the program’s first-ever Southeastern Conference Tournament Title with a 5-2 win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Georgia is now 45-12 on the year and has defeated six-straight top-16 teams.
Georgia had four players named to the SEC All-Tournament Team: Chelsea Wilkinson, Paige Wilson, Geri Ann Glasco and Alex Hugo. Wilkinson, who went 3-0 during the tournament was named the 2014 SEC Tournament MVP.
Wilkinson threw her third masterful performance of the week as she improved to 29-7 on the year. She carried a one-hitter into the seventh inning and allowed two runs on three hits and struck out nine batters in the complete-game performance. Meagan Prince suffered the loss for Kentucky to fall to 8-4 on the year. She allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks in 3.2 innings of work. Lauren Cumbess threw the final 2.1 innings, allowing just one run on one hit.
Glasco led the offensive attack, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and two RBI. Wilson drove in two RBI on her 1-for-4 night.
After loading the bases in the first, the Bulldogs pushed a runner across in the bottom of the second. Katie Browne led off the inning with a double into the gap in right center. With pinch runner Adele Harrison at second and two outs, Wilson reached for the second time on an error, bringing Glasco to the plate. Once there, she delivered a single through the left side that allowed Harrison to cross the plate and give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Wilkinson kept Kentucky at bay in the top of the third, striking out the side on nine pitches. The Wildcats got their first hit of the game in the top of the fourth inning on an infield single down the third base line. The hit went for naught as a pop up ended the inning.
The Bulldogs tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend its lead to 4-0. Browne got the scoring started on a walk and moved to second when pinch hitter Malia Rivers slapped one back to the pitcher but the ball was dropped at first, resulting in Kentucky’s third error of the game. With runners at first and second, Samantha LaZear hit a sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners. With one away and a pair runners in scoring position, Wilson roped a double into the gap in left center that allowed both Browne and Rivers to come home and make it a 3-0 game. After a wild pitch that moved Wilson to third and two out walk by Hugo, Tina Iosefa singled to left center that drove in Wilson and out the Bulldogs up 4-0. Following the Iosefa single, Kentucky turned to Cumbess in the circle, who got the final out of the inning.
Wilkinson went back to work in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, retiring the side in order in both innings.
Georgia added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Glasco belted a solo shot to right that put the Bulldogs up 5-0.
Kentucky avoided the shutout in the top of the seventh, as Nikki Sagermann and Emily Gaines hit back-to-back home runs that made it a 5-2 game. Wilkinson shut the door and made history as she got the final two batters to fly out and seal Georgia’s first-ever SEC Tournament Title.
Georgia will learn its NCAA Tournament fate tomorrow night at 10 p.m. The selection show will be televised on ESPNU.