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Georgia softball eliminates Florida, reaches WCWS Final Four

Photo by Sue Ogrocki

Photo by Sue Ogrocki

OKLAHOMA CITY - Ninth-ranked Georgia edged Southeastern Conference Eastern Division rival and fifth-ranked Florida, 3-2, Saturday night to stave off elimination in the 2010 Women's College World Series at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

With the win, Georgia improves to 50-12 on the year and advances to be one of four teams remaining at the WCWS for a second-straight year. The Bulldogs will now play UCLA (47-11) at 1 p.m. today. Georgia will need to defeat the Bruins twice to advance to the Championship Finals. The "if necessary" game between the two schools would be played at 7 p.m. Florida concludes its season at 49-10.

Georgia's victory over Florida was the Bulldogs first over the Gators since April 15, 2006, and it marks the first time since 2006 that UGA has posted a 50-win season. UGA also improves to 4-1 all-time in elimination games at the WCWS.

Earning the win for the Bulldogs in the circle was sophomore Erin Arevalo, who tossed 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of freshman starter Alison Owen. Owen pitched into the fifth where Arevalo took over, and the sophomore allowed just two hits and struck out six including strikeouts of the final five Florida batters. Stephanie Brombacher worked a complete opposite Owen and Arevalo in the circle, and the Gator concluded her season at 35-8 having tossed six innings allowing three runs on eight hits with no strikeouts.

From the plate, the Bulldogs offensive output was led by juniors Alisa Goler and Brianna Hesson. Goler (2-for-3) provided UGA with a two-run home run to right center in the first while Hesson contributed the game-winning hit on a single in the fifth. Goler's home run tied her for the team lead at 16 and raised the team's 2010 total to 99 round trippers.

Junior Taylor Schlopy was aboard for Goler's home run after drawing a walk and it marked the 78th run of the season for the West Hills, Calif., native, tying the single-season school record for runs scored (Nicole Barber, 2003). Junior Megan Wiggins reached on a hit by pitch and scored what proved to be the game-winning run on Hesson's hit. Wiggins' on-base streak was extended to 33-games, but her 22-game, school-record hitting streak was snapped.

Florida set up Hesson's game-winning hit by tying the game a 2-2 with single runs in the fourth and fifth. In the fourth, Brittany Schutte hit a solo home run to right center, her 19th of the year and third of the day after hitting two against Missouri in an earlier game on Saturday. In the fifth, pinch runner Lauren Heil scored the Gators' final run of the season after coming in for Corrie Brooks, who singled to lead off the inning. Heil moved around to third on a pair of groundouts before scoring on a wild pitch.

The UGA-UCLA 1 p.m. Sunday contest will be televised on ESPN/ESPN3.com. The "if necessary" game at 7 p.m. ET would be televised by ESPN2/ESPN3.com. Both contests will feature live audio covered Athens Sports Radio 960TheRef and www.georgiadogs.com. The Bulldogs and Bruins played once this season on Feb. 14, and UCLA won that contest, 3-2.