Feb. 8, 2003
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 19th-ranked Georgia Tech softball team opened its 2003 season 1-1 on the first day of the Gamecock Invitational at the University of South Carolina’s Beckham Field. The Jackets defeated Boston College, 7-4, to open the tournament and lost to the No. 20 Gamecocks, 8-0 in five innings.
The Jackets opened the Boston College game in strong fashion, batting around in the top of the second and taking 3-0 lead over the Eagles. Walks to catcher Lindsay Wood and center fielder Sara Wissmann sandwiched around a single by freshman designated player Liz Bartle loaded the bases. Sophomore right fielder Kirin Kumar then ripped a double to center, scoring Wood and Bartle and sending BC starter Michelle Daly from the game. A bases loaded walk to sophomore first baseman Katie Donovan scored Wissmann and gave the Jackets a three-run cushion.
A three-run homer to left field by Wood gave Tech a 7-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Singles by Kumar and senior second baseman Felicia Coursey got the inning started, and Donovan drove in the first run of the frame with a double to left. With one out, Wood’s homer scored both Kumar and Coursey and chased Eagle pitcher Kim Ryan from the contest.
Tekae Malandris, who replaced Ryan, held Tech in check for the remainder of the game. She fanned 11 of the 12 batters faced, including the first nine. Bartle, who drew a walk in the seventh, was the only Jacket to reach base against Malandris.
Boston College got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a three-run home run by first baseman Lisa Fischer. The shot scored both Kimmy Hopkin and Cara Blumfield, who both reached via walks.
The Eagles cut the lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hopkin. BC had the tying run at the plate in the form of Blumfield, but Tech starter Erin Voeltz fanned the Eagle shortstop looking to end the inning.
Voeltz kept Boston College off the basepaths in the seventh to close out the complete game. She allowed six hits, six walks and four earned runs to pick up her first victory of the season. Voeltz also fanned four. Ryan (0-1) took the loss for BC.
At the plate, Wood went 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and three runs batted in to lead Tech. Additionally, Kumar tied a career-high with two hits, including a double and two RBI. Donovan drove in the Jackets’ other two runs.
Boston College was led by Malandris and right fielder Jacqui Goodchild, who had two hits apiece.
In the day’s second game, South Carolina broke the contest open with seven runs in the bottom of the second off sophomore pitcher Jessica Sallinger, the 2002 ACC Rookie of the Year. The big blow of the inning came in the form of a grand slam off the bat of freshman catcher Ashley Smith. Amber Curtis and Debralee Troesh also had RBI base hits in the frame.
USC increased its lead to 8-0 in the third on a solo homer from designated player Tia Rogers. Her home run was the second of the day off Sallinger, who allowed just 10 homers in 257.0 innings pitched a year ago.
Sallinger, who started last season 4-0, took the loss in her first start of 2003. She allowed eight earned runs on four hits and six walks in four innings of work. The eight runs allowed by Tech are the most since a 10-5 loss to Virginia on April 7, 2002. Sallinger also fanned six batters.
With an eight-run deficit after the Tech half of the fifth, the game was called due to the eight-run rule.
Melanie Henkes (2-0) picked up the shutout victory for USC.
Tech returns to action against UNC Greensboro (1-1) at 9 a.m. Sunday. The top two seeds in the tourney meet in the title game at 1 p.m., followed by the No. 3 and No. 4 squads at 3 p.m.