24th-ranked Tech Softball Tackles Tough Field at Florida Tourney

Feb. 20, 2003

ATLANTA – After starting the season 3-3, the No. 24 Georgia Tech softball team (6-3) takes a three-game winning streak into the University of Florida’s Cox Communications Classic, which opens Friday at the Florida Softball Field. Joining the Jackets and Gators in the field will be Illinois and Oakland.

Tech opens the event against Illinois at 11 a.m. Friday, followed by a 1:30 p.m. meeting with Oakland. The Jackets round out pool play against Florida at 1:30 p.m. Bracket play starts Saturday afternoon and concludes Sunday. Live statistics for all games will be available at www.gatorzone.com.

This is a rather unfamiliar field for the Jackets, as Tech has only played one game all-time against Illinois, Oakland and Florida. The Jackets defeated the Fighting Illini, 3-0, at last year’s Buzz Classic. Tech ace Jessica Sallinger earned the shutout win and All-American shortstop Tara Knudsen hit a two-run homer to lead Tech.

Illinois is off to an impressive start this season, opening 2003 5-0 and hitting .364 as a team with 11 home runs. Florida has also opened in strong fashion and stands 12-4 after a five-game winning streak. This weekend will be the first action of the season for Oakland, which reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

After struggling at the plate for much of the season, Tech’s hitting has improved over its last three contests. Sophomore outfielder Kirin Kumar, who is 9-for-24, leads the team with a .375 average. Senior catcher Lindsay Wood has been the team’s top run producer. She is batting .273 with a homer and seven runs batted in.

The Jackets’ pitching staff has been the team’s strength thus far. After the 8-0 loss to No. 20 South Carolina, Tech has posted a 0.45 earned run average and has not allowed more than two runs in any game. Sophomore Jessica Sallinger (2-3) has not allowed an earned run in her last 24 innings pitched and has 38 strikeouts. Junior Erin Voeltz has been equally effective, opening the season 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA. She now stands tied for fourth on the all-time career win list with 33.

Following this weekend’s action Tech hosts Troy State Tuesday, February 25, for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.

-GT-

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