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Georgia Beats Drake In Extras, Minnesota Shuts Out NDSU

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(Photo Courtesy of UGA Athletics)

MINNEAPOLIS-- Georgia’s Justice Milz was just looking to ground one up the middle.

Her team was down to their final two outs, trailing 4-3 and facing the NCAA strikeout leader in Drake’s Nicole Newman. She was just looking to get on base, but after the ball hit her bat, she knew it was much better than that as it soared over the fence. The solo shot tied the game at four, giving the Bulldogs new life.

One inning later, center fielder Ciara Bryan took advantage of the team’s revival and hit a walk-off two-run home run to beat the Drake Bulldogs in the first game of the Minneapolis Regional, 6-4.

Georgia head coach Lu Harris-Champer said the team had a “pow-wow” in the sixth inning to get their mind right.

“[We had to] just calm our eyes and compete with our teammates,” Milz said.

Georgia shortstop Alyssa DiCarlo, a top-10 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, hit her 22nd home run of the season with a two-run shot in the third inning.

Reliever Mary Wilson Avant was credited with her 10th win of the season. Avant came into pitch in the fourth inning and held Drake scoreless while allowing one hit and one walk while striking out four.

Drake pitcher Nicole Newman entered the game with a 0.88 ERA, good for second-best in the nation but Georgia’s top-ranked offense got the better of Newman, hitting three home runs. It was just the third loss for the Drake when they scored more than three runs in a game this season.

“This one will hurt for a little while,” Drake head coach Rich Calvert said. “We know we got tomorrow to come back and there’s some good teams here, but we aren’t going home tonight. We’ll be here tomorrow and see how we do.”

Minnesota Blanks North Dakota State

Gopher’s pitch Amber Fiser threw a complete game shutout in front of a sold-out crowd as the Gophers won the first game of their NCAA Regional against North Dakota State, 3-0.

Fiser went the distance allowing just three hits and striking out 13 for her 24th win of the season.

“Fiser did a great job handling them and keeping their hitters off base and eliminating lead outs,” Gopher head coach Jamie Trachsel said. “We were kind of just missing that one big hit to open up the game a little bit. We drew some walks and had some infield singles and that’s not generally how we’ve won a lot of our games… that’s what good or great teams do.”

The Gophers only mustered six hits on the day, but it was enough to bring three runners’ home. Third baseman Katelyn Kemmetmueller scored on a wild pitch in the second and left fielder Carlie Brandt scored on a sacrifice fly hit by right fielder Maddie Houlihan in the fifth. The last run came after Hope Brandner walked with the bases loaded in the sixth.

“We were kind of just missing that one big hit to open up the game a little bit,” Trachsel said. “We drew some walks and had some infield singles and that’s not generally how we’ve won a lot of our games… that’s what good or great teams do.”

Bison starter KK Leddy pitched 5.1 innings, giving up six hits, five walks and two earned runs while striking out three.

The Gophers will take on the Georgia Bulldogs to start of Saturday’s action at 3 p.m. North Dakota State and Drake will play following the conclusion of the first game.

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NFCA Brings Back Division I Leadoff Classic For 2020

For the first time since 2014, the NFCA will host its Division I Leadoff Classic in 2020.