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Georgia infielder Lacey Fincher (44), Georgia infielder Savana Sikes (1), Georgia infielder Sydney Kuma (6) during a game against USC Upstate at the Jack Turner Softball Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Under normal circumstances, a team on a seven-game losing streak, losing nine of their last 10 games, would have little chance at the possibility of hosting a regional tournament. Miraculously, that opportunity has been handed to the Georgia Bulldogs softball team.

After a lackluster first-round exit in the SEC Tournament, the Bulldogs return home to Jack Turner Stadium to host the NCAA Regional tournament for the 11th time. The Bulldogs most recently hosted an NCAA Regional in 2018. Earlier this month, Georgia’s Jack Turner Stadium was selected as one of 20 potential predetermined regional host sites for the NCAA softball tournament.

Technically, the No. 1 seed in the regional, the 42-10, ACC champion Duke Blue Devils should be the host. The struggling Georgia Bulldogs softball team caught a break from an unlikely source, COVID-19. Despite Duke’s impressive resumé, the Blue Devils were unable to host a regional due to COVID-19 protocol. Now, Georgia can breathe new life into its season by playing well in front of its home fans this weekend in the Athens NCAA Regional.

Thanks to COVID-19, the Bulldogs' 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance already has been one unlike any other, and their road to a Super Regional will not be an easy one. The Athens Regional also features the UNC Greensboro Spartans, champions of the Southern Conference, and Western Kentucky, a quality softball team that could shake things up in the regional.

The start of the NCAA Tournament is brand-new season. The Bulldogs get a clean slate and renewed hopes and dreams. As the host of an NCAA Regional, the Georgia Bulldogs softball team can now dream about the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City and a chance to win a national championship. Georgia opens its quest Friday at 2:30 p.m. against Western Kentucky on ESPN3.

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