March 9, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Led bysenior Hope Rush, and juniors Ashley Thomas and Alysha Rudnik, the Georgia Tech softball team (13-11, 2-0 ACC) defeated Virginia (8-10, 0-2 ACC) twice Saturday by scores of 7-3 and 5-2 at The Park. The trio combined for 10 of Tech’s 19 hits and nine of Tech’s 12 runs on the day.
Both Ashley Thomas and Rudnik went 4-for-7 (.571), and Rush blasted two home runs in back-to-back at bats in game one to plate four of the seven total runs for Tech. Ashley Thomas and Rudnik accounted for all five runs in the second game, as Thomas crossed the plate three times and Rudnik scored twice.
“First of all we were really solid on defense,” head coach Sharon Perkins said. “Ashley Thomas made so many phenomenal plays. Good plays all around, but she made some really studly plays that really saved us all game.
“Offensively it was just clicking. They really jumped on [Virginia’s Melanie] Mitchell right away. They had a good game plan and stuck with it. We made adjustments when we needed to, but they were just hitting the ball hard. We were patient at the plate. They found really good pitches and hit the ball hard. Hope was just a beast out there today.”
Game 1 – Georgia Tech 7, Virginia 3
Virginia got on the board first in game one with a leadoff home run courtesy of Karli Johnson in the second inning. Tech got that run back in the next frame as Hayley Downs reached on a single and scored on a triple from Ashley Thomas – her third triple on the season.
Tech added to its lead in the fourth inning with Rush’s leadoff shot over the left-field wall and Courtney Ziese’s RBI-single that plated Katie Johnsky.
The Yellow Jackets broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Downs led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chelsie Thomas and scored on a single off the bat of Ashley Thomas. Rudnik singled and Rush stepped to the plate to crush her second homer of the game and plate three runs, giving Tech a 7-1 advantage.
The Cavaliers managed to push two more runs across in the bottom of the same frame thanks to a two-run home run from Megan Harris.
Freshman Ashley Clifton (2-2) pitched her first career game for Tech, allowing three runs on five hits.
Virginia starter Melanie Mitchell (6-5) suffered the loss, giving up seven runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Game 2 – Georgia Tech 5, Virginia 2
The Jackets wasted little time before scoring in game two. Ashley Thomas singled to start things off and Rudnik stepped to the plate and launched her fourth homer of the year.
Tech doubled its lead in the third inning to go up 4-0. Ashley Thomas reached on a Virginia error and Rudnik singled. Morgan Taylor broke through the Virginia defense with a two-out single through the right side that scored both runners.
Ashley Thomas crossed the plate again in the fifth inning. She doubled to kick things off in the frame and scored on a Virginia miscue.
Tech starter Karly Fullem took a one-hit shutout into the bottom of the seventh, when Kristen Hawkins blasted a two-run home run over the left-center wall to give Virginia its only runs of the game.
Fullem (2-0) pitched her first complete game for Tech and gave up just two runs on three hits.
Mitchell (6-6) suffered her second loss of the day, throwing the first 3.0 innings with four runs on four hits.
The Jackets will try for the series sweep Sunday at 12 p.m.