Sep 28, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs fans cheer before the game against the LSU Tigers at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 44-41. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Softball: Success continues for solid program

Every team’s goal is to win the last game of the season, but despite elimination by Baylor in Super Regional play, the Georgia Softball team can look back on a successful 2014 season.

Georgia finished the season 49-15, including a 15-9 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs defeated 13 ranked teams, including six teams that were ranked in the top 10. The Bulldogs earned the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, allowing them to host both a Regional and a Super Regional. It was the seventh time that Georgia was selected to host a Regional and the fourth time that it hosted a Super Regional.

After tying for the third-best record among SEC schools, Georgia was awarded the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs defeated fifth-ranked Florida and sixth-ranked Alabama to get to the title game. The Bulldogs then faced Kentucky for the fourth time in a week for the SEC Tournament title.

As it had for much of the season, Georgia relied on the age old formula of talented pitching, in this case Chelsea Wilkinson, and timely hitting. Wilkinson shut down the Wildcat offense, carrying a one-hitter into the seventh inning and allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out nine batters in the complete-game performance. Geri Ann Glasco provided the big hits for Georgia, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and two RBI.

When the final out was recorded, the Bulldogs were the SEC Tournament Champions for the first time in school history. Following the win, Georgia had four players named to the SEC All-Tournament Team: Wilkinson, Paige Wilson, Glasco and Alex Hugo. Wilkinson, who went 3-0 during the tournament was named the 2014 SEC Tournament MVP.

The Bulldogs opened the season with a 22-2 record that included wins over eventual NCAA Tournament participants James Madison, NC State and UAB. Georgia stayed hot to start SEC play, sweeping Mississippi State to open league competition. The Bulldogs went on to win series against Texas A&M, South Carolina and Auburn before taking a 10-2, six-inning win over No. 7 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The momentum continued into the final regular-season series when Georgia swept No. 10 Kentucky.

To reach the Super Regional, Georgia faced three consecutive elimination games in the Regional. The Bulldogs responded with three convincing wins, including two shutouts, a no hitter and a run-rule victory. In the three elimination games, Georgia outscored its opponents 20-1. Georgia’s 8-0, five inning win over NC State sealed Georgia’s bid to the Super Regional. Wilkinson tossed a no-hitter in the game, making her just the second Bulldog to ever throw a no-hitter in postseason play. The Bulldogs then welcomed Baylor to Athens for the Super Regional.

Along with the team accomplishments, Georgia had three First Team All-SEC selections (Hugo, Wilson and Wilkinson), four SEC All-Tournament selections (Glasco, Hugo, Wilson and Wilkinson), seven NFCA All-Region selections (Sam LaZear, Anna Swafford, Tina Iosefa, Glasco, Hugo, Wilson, Wilkinson) and two NFCA All-Americans (Hugo and Wilkinson).

The seven NFCA All-Region honors was a program best and the most by an SEC team this season, the three First Team All-SEC selections were the most first team honorees since the 2010 season and Hugo’s All-American selection marked the first time since 2009 that a Bulldog had been named a First Team All-American.

Expectations will be high in 2015 for Georgia Softball as 17 of the 18 players from this year are set to return, including the entire pitching staff and each position starter. What are your expectations for Georgia Softball in 2015? Comment below and let your voice be heard.

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