ATHENS — Georgia softball launches its NCAA tournament quest this afternoon at home in Jack Turner Stadium with the start of the four-team Athens Regional.

The No. 14-seeded Bulldogs (39-12) face Cinderella story North Carolina Central (19-33), which enters the regional having won the MEAC tournament. The game is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m., as it will follow the Virginia Tech (37-18)-Boston (51-8) game which begins at 2 p.m. (TV: ACC Network).

Tickets for the games can be found online by clicking this link

Georgia looks to break out of its season-long, three-game losing streak and gain back some momentum in this relatively light regional field.

Second-year coach Tony Baldwin has seen this act before, as last year’s Bulldogs’ team also slumped by dropping its last regular-season series and going one-and-done in the SEC tourney.

“Last year has zero bearing on this one,” said Baldwin, who was promoted from within as the player’s choice for head coach after Georgia made a miraculous run to the Women’s College World Series at the end of the 2021 season.

“We haven’t been having disciplined at bats with runners in scoring position,” Baldwin said after the most recent loss, a defeat at the hands of South Carolina

“At the end of the day we have to do it when it matters most, and we haven’t been able to do it -- I believe that we can do it.”

The seven players from the 2021 UGA WCWS team make up the nucleus of the 2023 Bulldogs, and they have gotten it done before.

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Jaiden Fields, Jayda Kearney, Sydney Kuma, Sydney Chambley, Elli Armistead, Sara Mosley and Madison Kerpics were all a part of the last Georgia team to achieve every program’s goal of making it to Oklahoma City.

Those players provide plenty of talent and leadership to make another WCWS run.

Baldwin also added Duke graduate transfer Shelby Walters to team with Kerpics in the pitching circle, in addition to bringing in former Mill Creek High School standout Dallis Goodnight from the Alabama softball program to bat leadoff.

Kuma, Kearney, Mosley and Walters all earned first-team All-SEC honors this season, while Fields and Kerpics were second-team picks.

It was a lineup that produced Georgia’s best regular season SEC win percentage (16-9) since 2009 but has struggled of late, producing just one run in a pair of losses to LSU and the one-and-done appearance at the SEC tourney.

The seniors’ legacy is no doubt on the line, as the Bulldogs will need to get through a home regional that also includes Virginia Tech and Boston in the four-team, double-elimination format.

If Georgia wins its regional, as projected, it advances to play the winner of the Tallahassee Regional hosted by No. 3-seed Florida State.

Baldwin told SEC Network workers that Georgia has made it to the WCWS three times after going one-and-done in the league tourney.

That potential journey starts today.

Georgia is making its 21st consecutive NCAA tourney appearance and has made it to 11 Super Regionals (Sweet 16) and five Women’s College World Series (Final eight teams)

Georgia hitting leaders

Sydney Kuma .381, 11 HR, 45 RBI, .461 OB%

Jayda Kearney .379, 18 HR, 42 RBI, .492 OB%

Sara Mosley .347, 16 HR, 47 RBI, .416 OB%

Lyndi Rae Davis .338, 4 HR, 20 RBI, .419 OB%

Jaiden Fields .307, 8 HR, 31 RBI, .366 OB%

Sydney Chambley .299, 8 HR, 35 RBI, .372 OB%

Dallis Goodnight .294, 1 HR, 13 RBI, .376 OB%

Ellie Armistead .293, 3 HR, 21 RBI, .341 OB%

Jaydyn Goodwin .275, 5 HR. 14 RBI, .347 OB%