ATHENS, GA – The University at Buffalo softball team heads to Athens, Georgia for this weekend's 8th Annual Georgia Softball Classic. The Bulls will play in five games over the next three days, beginning with Marshall at 3:00 pm this afternoon.
The Bulls (0-5) faced teams from the ACC and Big 12 last week in Jacksonville, getting contributions from all seven of their newcomers. UB's leaders in runs scored, RBIs and ERA from last weekend all came from freshmen. Tori Speckman had a team-best 12 strikeouts in 13.1 innings of work. They will again be tested this weekend against a very talented field.
Marshall enters this weekend with a 2-3 record after five games at the South Florida Wilson-DeMerini Tournament, defeating Long Island and NC State. Taylor Winton batted .455 in the first weekend, while Andi Williamson led Marshall on the mound with a 4.00 ERA.
A club that finished last season with a 50-13 record and a Women's College World Series appearance, the Georgia Bulldogs are just as strong in 2011 returning all of their position starters. Georgia opened with a 5-0 record at home, including a 1-0 win over ECU. A tandem at the plate of Ashley Pauly and Brianna Hesson proves lethal as the duo leads the team in nearly every hitting category. Pauly paces the club with a .545 batting average, six hits and a .500 on-base percentage – Hesson is hitting at a .400 clip and has a team-best four runs scored, three home runs, six RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage
North Carolina State finished 2-3 at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament defeating FGCU and LIU. Led at the plate by Bridget Desbois, who is hitting at a .625 clip with 10 hits, six RBI, and .647 on-base percentage. The Wolfpack has a 7.11 ERA as a staff - both Kayla Cox and Morgan Peeler have one win apiece. Cox leads the club with 22 strikeouts in 15.1 innings of work
Winthrop is 2-2 after victories against Furman and Coastal Carolina last weekend. Winthrop, who is hitting .355 as a team, has six athletes hitting above a .400 batting average - led by Teja Durante who has a team-best .571 average and four runs scored. Freshman Natalie Becker (1-0) holds a staff-best 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched and 20 strikeouts. Ashlei Jackson (1-1) and Chelsey Schoenfeldt (0-1) have each seen time in the circle as well, with 7.2 and 5.0 innings pitched, respectively.
North Dakota State, the 2010 Summit League Tournament Champions, is 1-4 in 2011, with its sole win coming against UCF. Nicole Rivera is the Bison's top threat at the plate, as she is hitting at a .428 clip with seven hits and five runs scored. Pitchers Whitney Johnson (1-2) and Katie Tamayo (0-2) share the majority of the time in the circle – Johnson has logged 17.0 innings pitched with seven strikeouts; Tamayo has worked 14.2 innings in the circle with two strikeouts.
For those wishing to follow along, live stats will be available on the Georgia website at www.georgiadogs.com.