Georgia softball closing in on records in the wrong way
By Conner Burks
AND that record is scoring one of the fewest win seasons in the program history.
To explain: As it stands, Georgia softball has 15 losses in Southeastern Conference play for the first time in a decade, and there’s still six games to play.
The Bulldogs are currently 3-15 in SEC games, their worst start since 2001, head coach Lu Harris-Champer’s first season with the team.
“The SEC is the best conference in the country, and it doesn’t matter who you’re playing it’s a dog fight,” Harris-Champer said. “No matter who’s out there you gotta come out and play your A game.”
However in 2001, after starting 3-16 Georgia went on to finish the SEC schedule 6-2 to have a 9-18 conference record for the season.
With six games to play, this season ranks as tied for the sixth most conference losses in program history. With three more losses it would move up to fourth on the list, with five more this would be the second worst, and if the Bulldogs were to get swept in their last two series, all series being three games, it would be tied for the most conference losses ever.
Getting swept in the last two series would be unfortunate for Georgia, but it is possible. Of the six SEC series the Bulldogs have played in, they’ve been swept four times. Two sweeps would result in 21 conference losses.
In the win column, Georgia only sits at three. The fewest conference wins in program history is seven, after that nine. Even if they win all six remaining games, the Bulldogs could only match the second fewest wins.
Winning all six games is highly unlikely though. Georgia has yet to sweep a series, and has won two of the three games only once. On top of this it’s series against Arkansas is on the road, where the Bulldogs are just 1-9 according to georgiadogs.com.
Georgia is currently dead last in the SEC standings with a .167 win percentage.
There is a bit of hope for the Bulldogs. Their final six games are against the second and third worst teams in the SEC, South Carolina and Arkansas. On top of this, 11 of their 15 losses have been decided by three runs or less.
“We’ve had opportunities in almost every game to change the outcome of the game,” Harris-Champer said. “So we just have to continue to stay gritty, stay tough.”
Last season, when Georgia went to its first Women’s College World Series since 2010, it went 12-12 in SEC play and was bounced in the first round of the SEC tournament before making a run through the NCAA regionals and Super Regionals.
All of this could also be regarded as tests for Georgia, in preparation for the post season against teams out of its conference. No SEC team has a win percentage under .500 and nine of the 13 teams are ranked in the top 25 nationally, including No. 1 Florida. The Bulldogs sit at No. 22.
Georgia touts a 27-3 non-conference record, one of the best in the country and something that could be a benefit in post season play against non-conference opponents.
Though the SEC schedule has been a struggle for the Bulldogs, they continue to persevere and trust in their training.
“She [Harris-Champer] just tells us that there’s a lot of good things happening in those games and we’re playing our game and its going to happen,” senior catcher Maeve McGuire said. “You always got to step in the box and know that your next hit is going to be the one that drops.”
Writer Conner Burks sat down with Red & Black softball beat writer Michael Hebert to discuss the team’s latest struggles; listen here:
All photos courtesy of the Red & Black