Tampa Bay Sports Day

Puailoa Sends Bulldogs to WCWS with Walkoff Home Run Over No. 1 Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After giving a No. 1 seed its first-ever loss in Super Regional action on Thursday night, the No. 16 seeded Georgia Bulldogs (45-18) walked off with its ticket to the Women’s College World Series, upsetting No. 1 Florida (56-7) with a 3-2 win on Friday.

Down 2-1 with two outs in the bottom seventh and a runner on, senior Kaylee Puailoa put an 0-2 ball to dead-center field to take the walkoff win. Puailoa put Georgia as the first team to Oklahoma City, as it’s the third time in program history that Georgia will make a WCWS appearance and first since 2010.

Chelsea Wilkinson (27-7) earned both wins against the Gators, going the complete game with five hits allowed and one strikeout on Friday afternoon.

At the plate, Georgia had five hits as well, using a Katie Browne solo home run in the second and Puailoa’s walkoff hit to earn its spot in OKC. Aleshia Ocasio (22-3) took the loss after going 6.2 innings with three strikeouts. All three runs were earned.

After loading the bases in the first with no result, Georgia got its run in the second, as Browne led off the inning with her third home run of the season.

Wilkinson and the defense kept the Gators quiet until the fifth when the first run came in off a bases-loaded hit by pitch followed by a RBI groundout to make it 2-1. It was Florida’s first lead of the series and would hold until two outs in the seventh.

A close play at first put a runner on after Maeve McGuire had her fourth hit of the series after going 3-for-3 in game one. That would be enough for Puailoa to knock out the winning home run, her sixth of the year.

The Women’s College World Series begins June 2 in Oklahoma City.