ATLANTA (Apr. 10) – With its best record in two seasons, the Georgia Tech softball team (23-23, 3-3) enters a busy portion of its schedule, playing games against Auburn, Troy State, and Virginia this week. Tech and Auburn (26-22) play a single-game contest at 4 p.m. Tuesday, while the Jackets will travel to Troy State (25-23) to play a doubleheader at 3 p.m. on Thursday, and then return to Glenn Field to host Virginia (18-30, 0-2) in a doubleheader at 1 p.m on Saturday.
Tech won three of four games last week, including a thriller on Sunday against No. 24 East Carolina (43-7, 1-1) scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh. The game was the eighth that the Jackets have won in their last at-bat.
“I’m very pleased with the way our team has fought in every game we’ve had this season,” said head coach Kate Madden. “I think it shows that we have a great deal of pride, and definitely believe that no matter who we are playing, we have a chance.”
On Thursday, the Jackets face Troy State in Troy, Ala., for just the 10th and 11th times, with the Trojans leading the series, 3-6.
“Troy State has a solid program,” said Madden. “They’ve had a strong team for a number of years, and our team will have to go out and continue to play like we have been playing.”
Saturday marks another key Southern Alliance Softball Association double-header against Virginia. Virginia leads the all-time series, 18-7, including wins in the last three meetings.
“Virginia’s record right now does not show how good they really are,” said Madden. “They have played a tough schedule and have lost some very close games this year to great teams. We will have to be prepared to play well and continue to have a strong mental approach in order to win.”
Perhaps no player shows that strong mental approach better than senior Jamie Smith (Salem, Ore.). The fifth-year pitcher has battled through injuries to put together a strong season this year. Her current record stands at 12-10 with a 3.36 ERA, including wins in her last three starts.
“I have been very pleased with Jamie’s approach to games this season,” said Madden. “She is not necessarily a dominant pitcher, but a very smart pitcher who knows how to challenge each batter she faces. I attribute this to her competitive nature, but also her mental toughness.”
Madden has also been impressed with center fielder Lauren Schwartz (Atlanta, Ga.) and left fielder Heather Sumrow (Humble, Texas), the first two hitters in Tech’s lineup. Schwartz currently is third on the team in batting with a .324 average and is second on the team in hits (48) and third in RBI (14). Sumrow is fourth on the team in both average (.286) and hits (40), and second in walks (12).
“I think those two hitters have done a remarkable job for us this season,” said Madden. “They have been effective as slap hitters and have found ways to get on base with their speed. Hopefully they will continue to be a weapon for us this week.”