TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 4 seed Georgia Bulldogs advanced to the semifinal round of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament with a 6-4 win over fifth-seeded Kentucky on Thursday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala. With the win, Georgia moves to 41-14 on the season, while Kentucky falls to 29-28.
Erin Arevalo picked up the win to move to 23-6 on the season. In 5.2 innings of work, she allowed just one run on four hits and struck out three. Morgan Montemayor pitched 1.1 innings of relief allowing three runs, two of which were earned on three hits, while striking out one. Kentucky's Chanda Bell suffered the loss to fall to 16-11 on the year. She gave up six earned runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out one in two innings of work. Rachel Riley threw four innings of relief, scattering four hits and striking out three Bulldog batters.
Kristyn Sandberg, who went 1-for-2 with a home run, a walk, three RBI and was hit by a pitch, led the Georgia offense. Sandberg also came around to score two runs. Paige Wilson and Gracie Goulder each picked up two hits, with Wilson scoring a run and driving in one.
Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run double by Ashley Razey. Wilson singled with two away for Sandberg, who was hit by a pitch. With two on and two outs, Razey powered the 2-1 pitch to left center to score Wilson and Sandberg.
The Bulldogs added four runs on two hits, including a three-run home run off the bat of Sandberg, in the bottom of the second. Goulder led off the inning with a single to shallow center. Anna Swafford drew a walk to put runners at first and second. With two outs, Ashley Pauly was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Wilson, who hit a sacrifice fly to score Goulder from third to make it a 3-0 game. Sandberg then took the first pitch she saw deep over the scoreboard in left center for a three-run home run that gave Georgia a 6-0 lead.
Kentucky's Brittany Cervantes made it a 6-1 game in the top of the fourth with a home run to centerfield. Arevalo retired the next three batters in order to keep Georgia's lead at five runs.
The Wildcats strung together three straight hits in the top of the seventh to make it a 6-3 game. Riley led off the inning with a single through the left side. Griffin Joiner followed with an infield single that put two aboard for Alice O'Brien, who doubled off the centerfield wall to score the two runs. The Wildcats tacked on a run with a RBI-single by Emily Jolly to cut the lead to 6-4. Arevalo reentered the game to record the final two outs and seal the 6-4 Georgia win.
Georgia will take on the winner of the Alabama vs. Mississippi State game tomorrow afternoon at 5:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU, with audio coverage at www.georgiadogs.com.