The Georgia softball team completed its best regular season since 2009 on Sunday, clinching the No. 2 seed for the SEC tournament.
The Bulldogs (39-12, 16-7 SEC) open the SEC tourney at 2 p.m. on Thursday in Arkansas against the winner of Wednesday’s contest between No. 7-seed Texas A&M and No. 10-seed South Carolina.
Georgia returned to Athens on Sunday after having their seven-game win streak snapped by LSU, which swept a Sunday doubleheader.
Second-year Bulldogs coach Tony Baldwin has the week to get his team refocused so it can avoid last season’s postseason fade, when UGA lost seven of its final 10 games to Power 5 competition last season.
Baldwin’s first Georgia team dropped its final two game of the regular season before getting eliminated from the SEC tourney in one game and eliminated from the NCAA tourney by Duke in regional action.
It was an uncharacteristic collapse for a Georgia softball program that has traditionally made its name with strong finishes. The Bulldogs have four Women’s College World Series appearances, most recently two years ago.
Georgia played in Arkansas earlier this season, taking two of three from the Razorbacks.
This time, the stakes will be higher beginning with the Thursday game against the Aggies or the Gamecocks.
Georgia is No. 15 in the RPI rankings and is competing to host a regional (16 programs host regionals, eight host Super Regionals) and improve its seeding in the NCAA tournament.
This is a veteran Bulldogs team that returned seven starters from last year’s team and added Duke graduate transfer Shelby Walters to help anchor the pitching staff along with returning junior Madison Kerpics.
This season’s UGA team leads the SEC with a .329 batting average, 78 home runs and a .596 slugging percentage.
The pitching has been strongm though not dominant, sixth in the SEC with a 2.16 team ERA.
Tennessee, one of the SEC teams UGA did not play this season, won the regular season title and enters the SEC tourney this week as the No. 1 seed.
Georgia hitting leaders
Sydney Kuma .382, 11 HR, 45 RBI, .463 OB%
Jayda Kearney .378, 18 HR, 42 RBI, .486 OB%
Lyndi Rae Davis .346, 4 HR, 20 RBI, .428 OB%
Sara Mosley .344, 16 HR, 47 RBI, .414 OB%
Jaiden Fields .316, 8 HR, 31 RBI, .376 OB%
Dallis Goodnight .300, 1 HR, 13 RBI, .379 OB%
Sydney Chambley .298, 7 HR, 34 RBI, .373 OB%
Ellie Armistead .298, 3 HR, 21 RBI, .346 OB%
Jaydyn Goodwin .280, 5 HR. 14 RBI, .353 OB%