April 22, 2010
ATLANTA – The No. 8/6 Georgia Tech Softball team (41-7, 14-1 ACC) looks to clinch its second straight ACC regular season title with a big weekend series in Tallahassee against No. 24/20 Florida State (38-12, 9-6). Tech can clinch with a pair of wins in the three-game series. The Yellow Jackets and Seminoles will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and then close out the series Sunday at Noon.
The Jackets need two wins or a win and a Virginia loss to clinch their third-ever ACC regular season title and first in consecutive seasons. Two wins against FSU would also break the ACC record for most consecutive series wins. The Jackets have won 15 straight ACC series’ from dating back to 2008 matching Virginia Tech’s string of 15 in a row from 2006 to 2008. The Hokies went 34-10 (.773) during their streak while the Jackets are playing ACC ball at an .872 clip (41-6) since being swept at NC State April 5-6, 2008.
Florida State leads the all-time series 42-19, but Georgia Tech has won eight of the last 11 meetings. That includes three out of four games last season, including a thrilling 3-1 win in the ACC Championship game. The Yellow Jackets had a 3-0 lead heading to the seventh inning of the title game, played at NC State, when Florida State mounted a furious come-back. The Seminoles had a run in and the bases loaded with just one out when FSU’s Kaleigh Rafter hit into the game-ending double play. Rafter hit a pop up into center field which was caught by Blair Shimandle. Shimandle loaded up and gunned Brittany Joseph down at the plate to end the game as catcher Jessica Weaver applied the tag. Kristen Adkins tossed a complete-game in the championship game win en route to Tournament MVP honors.
Adkins was 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 innings against the Seminoles last season. Jen Yee had a .455 batting average in the four games and hit one home run. Adkins and Christy Jones also batted over .300.
2009 ACC Pitcher of the Year Sarah Hamilton was 0-1 against Tech last year with a 1.80 ERA. Terese Gober, meanwhile, went 1-2 with a 4.72 ERA. She allowed 15 runs (nine earned) in 13.1 innings. Gober (17) and Hamilton (15) combined for 32 strikeouts.
The Jackets are led this season by USA Softball Player of the Year finalists Jen Yee and Hope Rush. Yee has reached base in every game this season and has a .727 on-base percentage which leads the nation. Yee also leads the nation in batting average (.587), runs scored (76), home runs (24) and slugging percentage (1.306). Her 53 RBI and 60 walks are also among the best across the country. Yee enters play this weekend needing one home run to break the ACC and Georgia Tech single-season record. She is currently tied with former teammate Whitney Haller who hit 24 long balls in 2006. Yee is also four runs scored shy of tying current Assistant Coach Aileen Morales’ Tech record (216). Yee already broke Morales’ single-season runs record (73), in 24 less games, as well as taking down Tara Knudsen’s career walks mark (119).
Hope Rush has burst onto the scene both offensively and defensively. In 29 appearances in the circle, Rush is 22-5 with a 1.47 ERA. She has held opponents to a .210 batting average and has thrown seven shutouts. In nine starts against ranked teams, Rush is 7-2 with a 1.84 ERA and three shutouts. Her shutouts came against No. 3 Florida, No. 16 North Carolina and No. 17 Texas A&M. Rush has thrown two no-hitters this year, both in ACC play. One came at No. 16 UNC while the other one was at home against Virginia Tech. The Stockbridge, Ga., native is first in the ACC in wins, fourth in ERA, eighth in opponent’s batting average and ninth in strikeouts. At the plate, Rush is batting .299 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI. She is second in the ACC in homers and fourth in RBI. Her .635 slugging percentage is seventh-best in the league as well.
After leaving Tallahassee, the Jackets’ road trip continues on to Tuscaloosa for a battle against Alabama. The Crimson Tide are ranked No. 1 in the NCAA RPI. The 2010 regular season then concludes May 1-2 against NC State up in Raleigh.