Chelsea Wilkinson leads No. 16 Georgia to series sweep of No. 10 Kentucky
ATHENS, Ga. -- Chelsea Wilkinson threw her second complete game of the weekend as No. 16 Georgia defeated No. 10 Kentucky 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 1,776 at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The victory clinched a Georgia weekend sweep of the Wildcats.
The regular-season finale improved Georgia’s record to 42-12 overall, and 15-9 in SEC play. With the loss, Kentucky dropped to 41-14 overall, and 13-11 in SEC play.
Wilkinson allowed just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out eight Wildcat batters in her second complete-game effort of the weekend. Wilkinson’s victory improved her overall record on the season to 26-7. Geri Ann Glasco had a solo home run for the Bulldogs on offense, while Kaylee Puailoa added a 2-for-3 day with one RBI.
Shannon Smith started the game for Kentucky, but after surrendering a one out homer immediately followed by back-to-back walks in the bottom of the first, she was replaced by Kelsey Nunley. Smith was still credited with the loss, dropping to 2-3 on the year. She gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in just one third of an inning. Nunley pitched the remaining 5.2 innings and gave up one unearned run on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Wilkinson started the game off hot, striking out the side in order in the top of the first inning. The offense kept up the tempo that Wilkinson set, as Georgia was able to jump out to an early lead on Glasco’s seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to right field.
Alex Hugo and Tina Iosefa then drew back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second with one out for Puailoa, who delivered a single into center field that brought Hugo in from second. Puailoa’s RBI extended Georgia’s lead to 2-0 after the first inning.
After throwing just twelve pitches in the first inning, Wilkinson threw 22 pitches against her first two batters of the second inning. After a couple of walks and a single, Kentucky looked poised to cut into Georgia’s lead with the bases loaded and two outs. Wilkinson settled in, however, and was able to record a big strikeout to end the inning and the threat.
The Bulldogs extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a couple of errors by the Kentucky defense. Niaja Griffin and Samantha LaZear lead off the inning with back-to-back singles, but a throwing error on LaZear’s single put runners on second and third with no outs. After a fielder’s choice got Griffin at the plate, Glasco grounded into what looked to be a potential double play ball at second, but Ansley Smith couldn’t field it cleanly. The error allowed LaZear to score, putting Georgia up 3-0 after four.
Kentucky was finally able to get on the board in the top of the sixth inning, as Nikki Sagermann belted a solo shot over the centerfield fence. Sagermann’s home run was her 12th of the season, and cut Georgia’s lead to 3-1.