UGA Women’s Softball: #25 Georgia Opens Season in Arizona

#25 Georgia (0-0) at Kajikawa Classic
Dates: Feb. 8-10, 2018
Location: Tempe, Ariz.
Stadium: Farrington Stadium/Tempe Sports Complex
Georgia’s Schedule:
Feb. 8 – San Diego State, 1:30 p.m., ET
Feb. 8 – #3 Oregon, 7 p.m., ET
Feb. 9 – #15 Utah, 1:30 p.m., ET
Feb. 9 – #19 BYU, 9:45 p.m., ET
Feb. 10 – Oregon State, 7 p.m., ET

Media Information
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Oregon, Oregon State)
Streaming Video: Pac-12 Networks (Oregon, Oregon State)/FloSoftball.com (subscription)
Live Stats: GeorgiaDogs.com
Twitter Updates: @UGAsoftball

Complete Game Notes Attached

The #25 Georgia softball program will begin the 2018 season Thursday in Tempe, Arizona as part of the Kajikawa Classic. The Bulldogs will play five games in three days including contests with three fellow top-25 teams.

Georgia Softball Notebook
Tournament Preview
The 2018 Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State, will be held in Tempe, Arizona Feb. 8-11, kicking off the 2018 softball season. 28 total teams will take part in tournament. Games will be played at Farrington Softball Stadium and the Tempe Sports Complex (TSC). The field of 28 teams features eight preseason top-25 programs and three teams from the SEC (Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee).

Series Histories
San Diego State – Georgia leads 3-0 (last meeting: 2013; Georgia won 3-2)
» Georgia played SDSU in the 2013 Tempe Regional, winning both games
Oregon – Oregon leads 3-1 (last meeting: 2007; Oregon won 6-0)
» All four meetings have been on neutral fields
» Georgia was shutout (5-0, 6-0) in two meetings in 2007 in Hawaii
Utah – First meeting
BYU – Georgia leads 2-1 (last meeting: 2017; BYU won 4-0)
» Last season’s meeting was the first during the regular season
» First two all-time meetings came at the Chapel Hill Regional in 2008
Oregon State – Georgia leads 3-2 (last meeting: 2011; Georgia won 12-7)
» All five meetings have been on neutral fields in five separate seasons dating back to 2004

Georgia last played in a tournament in Tempe when Arizona State hosted the 2013 NCAA Regional. Prior, the Bulldogs played in the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Phoenix three-straight seasons from 1999-2001.

#Team22
Georgia softball enters its 22nd season in Athens in 2018, the 18th season under head coach Lu Harris-Champer. The Bulldogs’ all-time record is 927-431 with 812 of those wins belonging to Harris-Champer. Georgia will look to punch its ticket to its 17th-consecutive NCAA Tournament in 2018.

Preseason Polling
Georgia will begin the season with a preseason #25 ranking in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches Polls. Nine SEC teams appear in both preseason polls. The Bulldogs ended 2017 tied for 25 in the NFCA/USA Today poll while receiving votes in ESPN.com/USA Softball. Despite finishing last in the SEC a season ago with a 6-18 record, the Bulldogs dropped out of the NFCA Poll only one week. It was the first time Georgia had been outside the top 25 since 2013.

Emanuel Lands on USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List
Cortni Emanuel was named to USA Softball’s Top 50 Player of the Year watch list. She is one of 23 seniors on the watch list and among 10 SEC players. The SEC has eight member institutions represented on the list, the most of any conference. Along with All-America status in 2017, the Missouri City, Texas native was named NFCA First Team All-Region and First Team All-SEC. She ranked fourth in the league with a .426 batting average and hits (80), seventh in runs scored (49), and her 43 stolen bases led the league while also ranking 10th in the nation.

Young Pups
For the second season in a row, Georgia softball will feature a large number of underclassmen on the roster. Of the 21 student-athletes on the 2018 squad, 16 are freshmen and sophomores. That number is up from last season’s 15 underclassmen.

A Happy Homecoming
Junior infielder Alyssa DiCarlo with have a homecoming this weekend then the Bulldogs play in her home state of Arizona. DiCarlo hails from Glendale where she attended Mountain Ridge High School.

Keep the Bats Hot
Georgia led the SEC in hitting a season ago, putting together a .338 team batting average, 22 points higher than second-place Tennessee (.316). The Bulldogs’ batting clip ranked fifth in the country. Cortni Emanuel hit .423, the fourth-best in the SEC.

A Fresh Start
Georgia is 17-4 all-time in its season openers, including winning the last four. Against ranked opponents in season openers, the Bulldogs are 3-2 with wins over DePaul (2008), Long Beach State (2009), and Michigan (2010).

2018 Schedule Breakdown
Georgia will face off against 15 NCAA Tournament participants from a season ago including hosting the national runner-up and SEC rival Florida. Eight teams finished ranked in the top 25 with two in the top five. The 56-game schedule features 36 games at Turner Softball Complex including three tournaments and four Southeastern Conference series against Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and Alabama.

Preseason All-SEC and Poll
Senior outfielder Cortni Emanuel and infielder Alyssa DiCarlo landed on the Preseason All-SEC Team. Emanuel earned First Team All-SEC honors in 2017 while DiCarlo slugged her way onto the Second Team. As a team, Georgia was voted to finish ninth in the conference’s preseason poll.
1. Florida (11 first-place votes) – 143 points
2. Tennessee (1) – 119
3. Texas A&M – 114
4. LSU – 109
5. Alabama (1) – 107
6. Auburn – 85
7. Ole Miss – 81
8. Kentucky – 76
9. Georgia – 49
10. Arkansas – 39
11. Missouri – 34
12. South Carolina – 30
13. Mississippi State – 28

Student First
A total of 13 softball student-athletes earned a spot on the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Honor Roll for the Fall 2017 semester. Six posted a 3.5 GPA or better including Amanda AblanMary Wilson AvantCiara BryanKarlie HardingMadison McPherson, and Keara Napoli while seven others were in the 3.0 to 3.49 range.

Nicole Barber Enters Circle of Honor
Former Georgia great Nicole Barber was inducted into the University of Georgia’s Circle of Honor on Feb. 2. Barber, the first softball player to be inducted, was a four-year letterwinner from 2001-04. The Oregon City, Oregon native earned All-America honors in each of her final three seasons, starting in 2002, when she batted .420 and led the Bulldogs to a 59-17 record and the program’s first NCAA Regional appearance. Barber, who won All-SEC honors four-straight years, is the all-time leader in career stolen bases (257) and consecutive error-free games played (219) in the UGA, SEC, and NCAA record books.  She also ranks fourth in NCAA history — first in both UGA and the SEC — in hits with 379. Barber remains the only player in UGA history to collect at least 100 hits in a single season, reaching that mark in 2002 and 2004. Barber earned her degree in Consumer Economics in 2005.