Jackets Win UCF Softball Invitational Championship

March 20, 2005

NIU Box Score
UCF Box Score

ORLANDO, Fla. – Senior Kirin Kumar drove in three runs in the opener and senior Jessica Sallinger (14-5) threw her eighth complete-game shutout, allowing two hits and striking out six, in the nightcap to lead No. 20 Georgia Tech (28-7) to wins over Northern Illinois (11-8), 5-3, and UCF (27-17-1), 8-0 (6), at the UCF Softball Invitational on Sunday afternoon.

Freshman Aileen Morales drove in the game-winning runs for the Jackets against NIU in the bottom of the sixth inning, and finished 1-for-3, with two runs batted in and two stolen bases (26). Kumar tied the game with two RBIs in the sixth inning and finished 2-for-3 to lead Tech offensively in the semifinal game.

Freshman Whitney Humphreys (7-1) picked up the win in relief, throwing two innings and allowing two runs on three hits. Sophomore Sarah Wood started the game in the circle, throwing five innings, scattering five hits and allowing one run.

The Jackets tallied 10 hits against UCF in the championship game and broke the school record with their 90th and 91st stolen bases of the season to roll past the Golden Knights. Sophomore Caitlin Lever went 3-for-4, with one RBI and juniors Amy Hosier and Lauren Schlechte finished 2-for-3 to lead Tech at the plate. Hosier drove in two runs in the title game.

In the semifinal against NIU, the Huskies posed the game’s first threat, placing runners at first and second with one out, courtesy of two walks. Wood induced a foul out to first base and then the Huskies loaded the bases on an error by the Jackets. Wood tallied the final out of the inning on a force out at home plate to wiggle out of the jam and keep the game scoreless after two-and-a-half innings.

The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hosier singled up the middle, sophomore Kristina Hull was hit-by-a-pitch and freshman Savannah Brown earned walk. Kumar then singled up the middle to plate Hosier and Hull to give Tech a 2-0 lead after four innings of play.

NIU’s Michelle Nendza led off the fifth inning with a double to left field and moved over to third base on an infield single by Krista McPherson. Wood struck out the next batter and induced a fly out to left field for the second out. On that same play, Hosier threw Nendza out at home plate to record the final out of the inning.

The Huskies’ Kelly Drozd led off the sixth inning with a double to right-center field to put a runner in scoring position for NIU. Humphreys entered the circle for the Jackets with no outs. Drozd advanced to third base on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Toni Del Toro to cut the deficit to one. After a double, Elyse Jamrozy homered to left field to give the Huskies their first lead of the game, 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Hull walked and Ivey reached base on an error by the second baseman to put Jackets at first and third with two outs. Ivey then stole second base and Kumar drove in her third run of the game with a base hit up the middle to tie the game at 3-3. After a stolen base by Kumar, Morales came through with a two-out base hit to center field to plate Hull and Kumar to give the Jackets a 5-3 lead heading into the seventh inning.

Humphreys surrendered one hit in the final inning, but held the Huskies off the scoreboard as the Jackets earned a spot in the championship game against tournament host UCF.

In the title game versus UCF, Hosier led off the top of the second inning with a double into left-center field to give the Jackets the first runner in scoring position of the game. Wood then fouled out on the third base side for the first out of the inning. Hosier then stole third base and later scored on a base hit by Schlechte as Tech took an early 1-0 lead. Hosier’s stolen base was the 90th of the season for Tech and broke the school record of 89 from a season ago.

Lever singled to shortstop with one out in the third inning and Sheridan doubled to left-center field as Tech had base runners on second and third with one out. Donovan drove in the next run for Tech on a fielder’s choice where UCF botched a run down at the plate to allow Lever to score. Hosier followed with a ground out to second to score Sheridan as the Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

Morales led off the fifth inning with a single to left field and advanced to second base on an error by the UCF left fielder. Morales came around to score on an infield single by Lever as the Jackets tallied another unearned run on a bad throw to first base by the third baseman. The Golden Knights tallied the second out of the inning on a nice throw to the plate by Stephanie Best to catch Lever sliding in at home plate. Donovan then stole second base on the first pitch and scored on a Hosier single to center field as Tech led 5-0.

UCF’s Jania Shinhoster broke up Sallinger’s no-hit bid in the bottom of the fifth inning with a bunt single to first base. Schlechte retired the next two batters for the Jackets, catching a popped foul bunt and throwing out Shinhoster at second base, who was trying to steal.

The Yellow Jackets continued to put runs on the board with three more in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 8-0. Morales drove in two runs and Sheridan hit a sacrifice fly for the third run of the inning for Tech.

Sallinger allowed a single in the bottom of the sixth inning, but retired the next three batters as the Jackets won 8-0 in six innings of play.

The Yellow Jackets will travel to DeLand, Fla., for a single game with Stetson University on Tuesday, March 22. The non-conference game is slated for 6 p.m.

-GT SOFTBALL-

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