No. 19/16 Softball Hosts First-Ever ACC Tournament; Looks For Third Straight Title

May 11, 2011

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#19/16 Georgia Tech Hosts ACC Tournament

• For the first time in school history, Georgia Tech (44-9) will host the ACC Championship, May 13-15 at Mewborn Field. The Yellow Jackets are looking for their third straight tournament title and will be the No. 1 seed.

• Tech will face eighth-seeded Virginia (23-30) in the first round of the single-elimination tournament on Friday at 5 p.m. The winner of that game will face the winner of the game between No. 4 Florida State (27-26) and No. 5 Virginia Tech (37-19) in the semifinals Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Ironically, the Hokies and Seminoles are the only two teams to have defeated Georgia Tech in conference play this season.

• The ACC Network will provide free live streaming for all of Friday and Saturday’s action. Sunday’s championship game will be televised live on the ACC’s Regional Sports Networks. Locally, the game can be found on SportSouth. Leah Secondo will call the action while Barbara Jordan handles color commentary.

• Live audio and stats are also available for every Georgia Tech game at RamblinWreck.com.

Georgia Tech At The ACC Tournament

• Georgia Tech is 30-28 (.517) all-time in the ACC Championship. The Yellow Jackets have won the tournament title four times (2002, 2005, 2009, 2010), while playing in the championship game seven times, including five of the last seven years.

• The Yellow Jackets head into the tournament as the No. 1 seed for the third straight year and fourth time in history. The only other times came in 2005, when Tech won the tournament title in College Park, Maryland, as well as 2009 in Raleigh, N.C. and 2010 in Blacksburg, Va.

• No host team has won the ACC Championship since Florida State did it in 2004, but Georgia Tech is the top seed and host this year and has won the last two titles.

• For a breakdown of how the Jackets have done historically against the rest of the league in the championship, please refer to the chart on page 5.

Tech vs. Virginia

• Georgia Tech is now 32-33 all-time against Virginia but has won 11 straight games in the series. This includes a pair if wins in a rain-shortened series last month in Charlottesville.

• In the weekend sweep, Tech hit .373 and out-scored the Cavaliers on the weekend 17-2. Sophomore Caitlin Jordan led the charge batting .625 with three home runs and four RBI while junior Kelsi Weseman batted .600. Senior Kristine Priebe had two home runs and five RBI in her return from a back injury and senior Kristen Adkins and freshman Lindsey Anderson each picked up wins in the circle. Adkins tossed a three-hit shutout with a career-high 11 strikeouts.

Looking For A No. 1 Seed

• Georgia Tech has held steady at No. 14 in each of the last five NCAA/NFCA RPI releases. The RPI is used to determine NCAA Tournament seeding and it appears the Yellow Jackets are right on the edge of earning a No. 1 seed for the third straight season. In 2009, Tech was a No. 14 national seed, its first top seed in a regional in school history. Last year, the Yellow Jackets were No. 8.

Jackets Continue Streak Of ACC Series Wins

• Dating back to the 2008 season, Georgia Tech has won 24 straight ACC series which is now an ACC record. Virginia Tech held the previous mark having won 15 straight from 2006 to 2008.

• Since being swept by NC State April 5-6, 2008, Georgia Tech is 64-9 (.877) in ACC games. During its streak, Virginia Tech went 34-10 (.773).

• There have been some close calls during this streak, but none closer than April 9 at Virginia Tech. Having already lost game one to the Hokies and trailing 5-4 in the seventh inning, freshman Alysha Rudnik hit a game-tying home run with two outs and two strikes. Tech then went on to win the game in nine innings on a home run by junior Jessica Sinclair.

No Yee…No Problem

• Every time head coach Sharon Perkins was asked in the offseason how you replace the bat of Jen Yee she said you can’t do it with one bat, everyone has to contribute. Well, in 2011 it has been a team effort.

• Georgia Tech is hitting .333 as a team through 53 games and has 11 players who have played in at least half the games batting over .300. Tech ranks first in the ACC and 10th nationally in batting average and leads the conference in every offensive category except doubles (third) and walks (tied for second).

• Tech is 12th in the nation in scoring (6.49 runs/game) and first with a .615 slugging percentage. They are also 10th in triples (0.30/game) and 52nd in stolen bases (1.45/game).

Bombs Away In `11

• After hitting a school record 118 home runs in 2010, Georgia Tech is chasing that number again despite playing a few less games due to rain outs.

• Tech is second in the nation with 99 home runs thus far in 2011 and has nearly doubled the next closest team in the ACC.

• Five of the top 10 home run hitters in the ACC don the Gold and White led by junior Kelsi Weseman’s 21. The Hutto, Texas, native, known for her gap hitting, is currently first in the nation.

• Freshman Alysha Rudnik is second on the team and 17th nationally with 16 home runs, while Kristine Priebe is tied for third and 59th, respectively, with 13 long balls. Junior Jessica Sinclair and sophomore Hope Rush come in at tied for fifth and 80th with 12 round-trippers.

Perkins Picks Up 200

• With a 1-0 win over Georgia State on March 13, Georgia Tech head coach Sharon Perkins won her 200th career game. Perkins is now 227-82 (.735) in her fifth season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets.

• Perkins has led Tech to the ACC regular season title three times and tournament titles in each of the last two seasons en route to league Coach of the Year honors both times. She has the most wins of any ACC coach since taking over in 2007.

Jordan En Fuego

• When senior first baseman Kristine Priebe left the April 13 game against Georgia with a back injury, it opened up the door for sophomore Caitlin Jordan. Jordan went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBI the rest of the way against the Bulldogs and went on to reach base safely in her first eight plate appearances (seven hits) subbing for Priebe.

• Priebe missed three games but when she returned Coach Perkins was forced to keep Jordan in the line-up. She has hit safely in 11 of 12 games over that stretch while batting .538 (21-for-39). She has 10 runs scored, a double, seven home runs and 13 RBI while compiling a 1.684 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

• Jordan has had at least two hits in seven of the 12 games and has two game-winning RBI. That includes a walk-off, three-run home run April 16 against North Carolina.

• On April 23 at Virginia, Jordan tied a school record with three home runs. Savannah Brown is the only other Tech player in history to have accomplished that feat as she did it twice in 2007.

• For the season, Jordan is batting .413 with seven home runs and 15 RBI.

Adkins Back In Form

• Senior Kristen Adkins has regained her form as ace of the Tech pitching staff, just over a year removed from her run to ACC Tournament MVP honors in 2009.

• Adkins, who transferred to Tech for the start of the 2009 season, is currently 20-5 with a 1.49 ERA. She ranks 34th in the nation in ERA and 48th in wins and has 132 strikeouts this season in 150.1 innings.

• Adkins, who also sits ninth in the nation with five saves, has five shutouts to her credit and is holding opponents to a .196 batting average.

• The McKinney, Texas native recorded a then-career-high 10 strikeouts in a shutout of Georgia State on March 1. Coincidentally, that is the win that sent Georgia Tech on its recent run that has seen the Jackets win 37 of their last 42 games. She since topped that with 11 k’s in a shutout of Virginia on April 22.

• Adkins enjoyed a stretch this season of 31.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

Walk-On Makes A Contribution

• A walk-on with just a handful of at bats in her first two seasons, junior Shannon Bear broke through earlier this season and carried the team offensively at a time when many starters were in a slump.

• Bear is currently batting .301 with a .646 slugging percentage (sixth in the ACC), .382 on-base percentage, 26 runs scored, 31 RBI, eight doubles and nine home runs.

• All of those numbers for Bear are career-highs.

The New Top Of The Order

• For the last couple of weeks, the Yellow Jackets have been playing with a pair of slappers — senior Christy Jones and freshman Ashley Thomas — in the top two spots in the order and it has paid dividends.

• The duo have been at the top of the order for the last 13 games and the Jackets have gone 11-2 over that stretch. Thomas, who just had a career-high, 11-game hitting streak snapped, is hitting .426 with 13 runs scored, a double, triple and 10 RBI over that stretch. Jones, meanwhile, is hitting at a .422 clip.

• Thomas was batting as low as .080 in early March but has slowly and steadily worked her average up and is now hitting a career-best .326. Jones has been over .300 all season as she continues to be the table-setter for one of the nation’s most potent offenses.

• Jones and Thomas have also combined for 60 stolen bases this season to rank first and second in the ACC and 17th and 47th nationally. Jones is 33-for-38 while Thomas is 27-for-28. Jones just moved into third place in school history with 95 career thefts.

The Versatile Kate Kuzma

• Versatile is about the best word to describe junior Kate Kuzma. The Sharpsburg, Ga., native has batted anywhere from first to seventh in the lineup. but head coach Sharon Perkins has found Kuzma to be the most productive in her current fifth spot. In the field Kuzma can catch and play left field. The 2010 second-team All-ACC performer is one of the best defensive catchers in the league.

• If asked to bunt, Kuzma can do that. She is first in the ACC with 14 sacrifices. Need to take a pitch or two…no problem. Kuzma is hitting over .300 with two strikes.

• She also has the ability to hit away. Kuzma is hitting .306 and moves runners along at a .481 clip. She also has 34 runs scored (tied for 10th in ACC), 10 doubles (tied for ninth), one triple, five home runs and 27 RBI. It was her three-run home run that started an eight-run fifth inning March 26 against NC State helping the Jackets erase a four-run, fourth inning deficit.

Priebe, Weseman Pick Up Where They Left Off

• Senior Kristine Priebe and junior Kelsi Weseman have been moved all over the batting order this season but have continued to produce whether batting third, fourth, fifth, sixth or even seventh.

• Weseman is currently batting .445 (first in ACC, 11th nationally) with a 1.034 slugging percentage (first, first), .560 on-base percentage (first, 10th), 51 runs scored (first, 40th), 65 hits (second), 64 RBI (first, 10th), 17 doubles (first, 25th), 21 home runs (first, first) and 151 total bases (first).

• With a double at Virginia on April 22, Weseman broke Jen Yee’s school record (46) and currently has 50 career doubles in her career. She also ranks third in school history in batting average (.389), second in slugging percentage (.778), second in on-base percentage (.504), fifth in runs scored (154), fifth in home runs (42) and fourth in RBI (164).

• Priebe, meanwhile, is batting .341 with a .732 slugging percentage (third, 59th), .430 on-base percentage (ninth), 37 runs (sixth), 47 hits, 47 RBI (third), three triples (tied for third), 13 home runs (tied for third) and 101 total bases (third).

• Despite being just in second and only season in a Tech uniform, Priebe is also making her impact in the school’s record books.

• The Moorpark, Calif., native is third in school history in slugging percentage (.694), third in on-base percentage (.470) and close to breaking through the top five in several other categories.

Freshmen Making An Impact

Ashley Thomas is not the only freshman to be making an impact in 2011. Lindsey Anderson, Hayley Downs and Alysha Rudnik have also made significant contributions.

• Anderson has yet to be defeated in the circle this season as she sports an 12-0 record with a 2.41 ERA, which is seventh-lowest in the ACC. Anderson is second in the ACC with a .168 opponent’s batting average and is averaging 1.31 strikeouts per inning and 9.2 a game.

• The Johns Creek, Ga., native has been even more impressive in league play. In 10 appearances in ACC action, Anderson is 7-0 with a 1.58 ERA.

• Rudnik began her career batting .588 on opening weekend en route to ACC Player of the Week honors and has never looked back. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native is hitting .324 and is second on the team and in the ACC as well as 17th nationally with 16 home runs. While catching and playing a solid third base, Rudnik also has 40 runs scored (tied for third in ACC), eight doubles, two triples, 39 RBI (seventh), a .738 slugging percentage (second, 51st) and a .421 on-base percentage.

• Downs has made the most of her playing time as she is a top defender in the outfield and is also batting .333 with a couple of extra base hits and seven stolen bases. She has started 21 games in either right field or left field.

Sinclair Working Way Back

• After missing all of the 2010 postseason with a torn ACL suffered in practice, junior Jessica Sinclair has been slowly working her way back into game form.

• The Marietta, Ga., native has found her power stroke as she has a career-high 12 home runs already (tied for fifth in ACC, tied for 80th nationally) and is also batting a career-best .322 while patrolling right field for the Yellow Jackets.

• Sinclair has four game-winning RBI this season, including a home run in extra innings April 9 at Virginia Tech.

Priebe A Finalist For The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

• Senior Kristine Priebe was named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award on March 28. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition.

• An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

• The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website or on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through May 10. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner.

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