TEMPE, Ariz. — Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer turned her pitching ace loose on No. 15 Utah on Friday afternoon, and the Utes didn’t appear to stand much of chance at the plate.
Bulldogs senior Brittany Gray (1-0) had her curve ball breaking and her changeup dropping, tossing a five-hit complete game in Georgia’s 5-1 triumph at the Tempe Sports Complex. The Utes’ only run came in the first inning and it was unearned.
The Bulldogs, who opened the season Thursday with a 12-run first inning en route to a school-record 23 runs in a win over San Diego State, entered the seventh inning with Utah tied at 1-1.
Cortni Emanuel singled to lead off the inning and Justice Milz followed with a 2-run home run. Georgia wasn’t finished, as Clara Bryan also hit a 2-run home run, giving Gray more than enough insurance.
Georgia players celebrate Justice Milz 2-run home run
“This is a huge tournament, playing against all these top-ranked teams,” said Gray, who fanned five and didn’t walk any. “This gives us a better perspective on our team going into the SEC.”
The Bulldogs bounced back from Thursday night’s 8-3 setback against No. 3-ranked Oregon with the victory over Utah (1-1). They play No. 19 BYU at 9:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday in the Kajikawa Classic.
Gray, who didn’t pitch against the Ducks — Harris-Champer was aware the Bulldogs could see Oregon in the NCAA postseason — believes this Georgia team is ready to return to the Women’s College World Series after missing out last season.
“It’s our grittiness, our excitement and our passion for softball,” Gray said, asked what says the Bulldogs program apart. “We have a bunch of young girls that bring a passion to the game.”
Friday afternoon, it was Gray leading the charge.