No. 19 Georgia Downs Liberty 7-2, Eliminates Lady Flames from Regionals
No. 19 Georgia pulled away for a 7-2 win over Liberty in an elimination game in the NCAA Durham Regional which finished early Sunday morning at Duke Softball Stadium.
Georgia (42-17) advances to Sunday’s Durham Regional final against Duke, where the Bulldogs meet the host Blue Devils at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs will have to beat Duke twice on Sunday to advance to face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional.
The Lady Flames (44-18) wrap up their season with their fifth NCAA Regional appearance. Liberty opened in stunning fashion on Friday, as Emily Kirby tossed a three-hit, 13-strikeout shutout to upset Georgia.
There was over a four-hour weather delay between Liberty’s 5-0 loss to Duke this afternoon and Georgia’s 6-3 win over UMBC. First pitch for tonight’s game was at 11:14 p.m., the latest first pitch, local time, in program history. The game wrapped up at 1:47 a.m.
Georgia – 1st INNING – Davis singles to left, Kuma advances, Mosley scores, 1-0
Georgia – 3rd INNING – Kuma homers to right field, Kuma and Mosley score, 3-0
Liberty – 3rd INNING – Howard homers to left center, Howard and Bachman score, 3-2
Georgia – 5th INNING – Fields walks, Sikes and Kuma advance, Landrum scores, 4-2
Georgia – 7th IINNING – Davis ingles to center, Kuma scores, 5-2
Georgia – 7th INNING – Fields singles up the middle, Sikes and Davis score, 7-2
– Georgia outhit Liberty 10-2, with the Lady Flames committing two errors.
– Madison Kerpics (19-10) earned the win, allowing two runs on two hits, walking five and striking out eight.
– Emily Kirby (14-7) drew the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, walking three and striking out two in 6 1/3 innings. Megan Johnson yielded one hit in 2/3 of an inning.
– Jaiden Fields batted 1-for-2 with three RBI, while Sara Mosley went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Sydney Kuma (1-for-2) hit her 14th homer of the season and drove in two runs. Lyndi Rae Davis went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Savana Sikes hit 2-for-3.
– Devyn Howard went 1-for-3 with a homer and two RBI.
– A two-run homer by Sydney Kuma pushed Georgia’s advantage to 3-0 in the top of the third. Howard narrowed the gap to 3-2 with a two-run blast in the home half of the third inning.
– The Bulldogs added one run in the fifth and then tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh.
Beyond the Box Score
– Georgia and Liberty are now tied 1-1 all-time in softball. Georgia was the only SEC team Liberty had never faced in softball prior to this weekend.
– Liberty is now 5-10 all-time NCAA Regional games. The Lady Flames appeared in their first two NCAA Regional finals in 2018 and 2021.
– The Durham Regional is the toughest in this year’s tournament based on combined winning percentage (.756).
– Liberty is 3-12 against Top 25 opponents this season, tying the 2007 and 2021 Lady Flames for the program’s most wins over nationally-ranked opponents in a single season. Liberty’s 15 games against Top 25 opponents are the most the Lady Flames have faced in a single season.
– Howard hit her eighth homer of the season, becoming the third Lady Flame this season with eight homers (also Rachel Roupe and Lou Allan). Caroline Hudson hit a team-high 17 homers this year.
– Kirby finished her career as a two-time ASUN Pitcher of the Year. Kirby finished fourth in program history with 16 career shutouts, including one of two shutouts in the program’s NCAA Regional history.