April 19, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A RBI double by freshman Danielle Dike highlighted a four-run sixth inning to lift the No. 21 Georgia Tech softball team (35-11, 12-3 ACC) to a come-from-behind 5-3 win over Virginia (25-17, 2-12) and complete the series sweep Sunday afternoon at the Park. Senior Blair Shimandle was 4-for-4 in the series finale and finished the weekend 10-for-11 with six runs scored, two doubles and five RBI against the Cavaliers.
Freshman Jessica Coan (5-3) picked up the win for the Yellow Jackets as she tossed five shutout innings in relief of sophomore Kristen Adkins. Coan came into the game in the third inning with three runs already in and the bases loaded with nobody out, but kept the Cavaliers off the scoreboard. She gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out six batters.
The Yellow Jackets have now won five straight ACC series’ to open this season and eight in a row dating back to last year. This is the second straight series sweep for Georgia Tech as it is off to the best start in ACC play in school history. With six conference games left, the Jackets are within two league wins (14) of the most in program history.
Virginia scored first when Sarah Tacke led off the second inning with a solo home run, her 11th of the season. Adkins retired the next three Cavaliers to get out of the inning, but UVA had its first lead of the series.
UVA pitcher Karla Wilburn, meanwhile, faced the minimum number of batters the first time through the order. Senior Blair Shimandle singled with one out in the first inning, but was thrown out trying to steal for just the second time in 22 tries this season.
In the bottom of the third inning, four straight singles and a walk led to two more UVA runs and chased Adkins from the game. Freshman Jessica Coan came in facing a bases-loaded and nobody out jam and the Jackets already trailing 3-0, but gave Tech a lift when she promptly got a foul out and consecutive strikeouts to get out of the inning.
Tech had its first scoring threat in the fourth inning, but Wilburn was able to get out of the jam. Shimandle singled for her second hit of the day and then senior Whitney Haller was hit on a 3-2 pitch, but senior Tiffany Johnson flew out to shallow right field with two on and two outs.
In the bottom of the fourth inning it looked like the Cavaliers were going to add at least one more run, but a diving catch by sophomore Christy Jones in left field ended the inning.
Tech began to chip away in the fifth inning as sophomore Jessica Weaver led off with a solo home run, her second in as many days and third of the season. Freshman Danielle Dike, who hails from nearby Scottsville, Va., followed with a single up the middle, but junior pinch runner Kelly Eppinger could not get any further than second base.
Two Virginia errors and a costly wild pitch opened the door for the Yellow Jackets to score four runs in the top of the sixth inning and take a 5-3 lead. The Cavaliers used four different pitchers in the inning. Shimandle led off with a single to left field, her third hit of the game in as many at bats, and moved up a base when Weseman reached on an error. With two on and no outs, Haller laced a ball to left field that was dropped by Carly Winger. Shimandle scored and when the dust settled, the Jackets had runners at second and third with no outs.
A wild pitch allowed Weseman to score the tying run and then Dike gave the jackets their first lead of the day later in the inning with a RBI double to the left-center field gap. Sophomore pinch hitter Caroline Hilton made it a 5-3 game with a RBI single.
An error and a walk and then a sacrifice bunt gave UVA runners at second and third with just one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Coan was able to get back-to-back strikeouts and get out of the inning. Both punch-outs came on 3-2 pitches.
After the Yellow Jackets wasted leadoff singles by Shimandle and Weseman in the top of the seventh inning, Coan came back out for the Cavaliers’ final at bat facing the heart of the line-up and retired the side in order for her fifth win (5-3) of the season.
Georgia Tech now returns home for its final five regular season home games and all will be against top 15 teams. First, the Yellow Jackets host No. 7/6 Alabama Wednesday in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Tech then welcomes No. 13/15 North Carolina to Mewborn Field over the weekend. UNC is currently in first place, just ahead of Georgia Tech. Live audio and stats for all five games will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com. In addition, they will all be broadcast on ACC Select for a small fee.