Tech, Terps Square Off On the Diamond

April 5, 2012

Maryland Game Notes

ATLANTA – Coming off of a 6-3, rain-shortened victory at Kennesaw State, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets look to remain perfect over Maryland under Sharon Perkinsin their fourth ACC weekend series of 2012. Tech is 24-16 and 6-3 in the ACC winning its last six ACC games heading into the meeting with the Terrapins.

Tech will face off against Maryland at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader and will round the weekend out on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game that will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Cara Capuano and Michele Smith will be on the call.

Saturday’s meeting with Maryland will be the 50th in the all-time series. Tech holds the 33-16 advantage. Under the tutelage of Sharon Perkins, the Jackets are perfect with a 14-0 record over the Terps, including a victory in the 2007 ACC Tournament.

The Jackets enter the game on a five-game win streak including a sweep of NC State last weekend, as well as two non-conference wins over Kennesaw State on March 28 (9-1 [5]) and April 4 (6-3 [6]).

For her efforts last week, Kelsi Wesemanwas named the ACC Player of the Week for the second time this season and third time in her career. Weseman batted .625 (5-for-8), had an OBP of .800 and a slugging percentage of 1.375 as two of her five hits went out of the park. She hit two home runs, knocked in four, scored seven runs, and walked five times without striking out as the Jackets improved to 23-16 and 6-3 in ACC play. In conference play, Weseman batted .571 accumulating four of her five hits, including one of the homeruns, three of the four RBIs, five of her seven runs, a slugging percentage of 1.000 and an on base percentage of .750.

The Competition

Maryland

This Season:

Maryland is 20-14 on the season heading into its meeting with the Yellow Jackets, however the Terps are 0-3 in the ACC this season after being swept by Virginia Tech. (The series between Maryland and North Carolina was cancelled). Maryland won its double header against George Mason on Wednesday night, but has lost seven of its last 10 games entering the series with Tech.

The Terps started their year off with a 9-1 run falling only to Wright State, but skidded at the Alabama Invitational falling twice to Massachusetts and Alabama.

All-Time Series: The two teams have met 49 times in the past with the Jackets holding the 33-16 series advantage, however Tech has not lost to Maryland under the direction of Sharon Perkins(14-0) and look to keep that streak going this weekend.

The Notes

Tech Hosts Annual Pink Game
On Sunday, April 8, the Georgia Tech softball team will host its annual pink game to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Normally the softball team, along with other women’s teams on campus donate the money raised at the Pink Game to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, but this year the Jackets have done something a little different.

This year Tech kicked off a month long campaign at the Georgia game (March 14) to raise money for a former Jacket, Amy Hosier, that was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in the fall and is currently undergoing chemotherapy to battle this disease. Amy made her return to Mewborn Field for alumni day and is doing well.

The Jackets have already raised over 1,000 dollars to donate to Amy’s Angels (more information at AmysAngels21.com).

The women’s tennis team also decided to join in the cause for its annual pink match, raising over 200 dollars for Amy.

RPI-ing It Up
As announced by the NCAA Monday, the Georgia Tech softball team has moved up to No. 32 in the RPI. The Yellow Jackets were introduced at No.35 in the first RPI completed this season but have moved up three slots thanks in part to their five-game win streak.

Tech has taken on 10 teams ranked in the top-25 this season and holds a 4-7 record against those teams with victories coming over Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona and Oregon State.

Player of the Week
Georgia Tech senior, and reigning Player of the Year, Kelsi Wesemanhas earned two ACC Player of the Week honors this season, a career high. (Last season Weseman only earned one nod).

Weseman was named Player of the Week for the first time after the week of March 19 where Tech earned four wins via a sweep of Boston College and an upset of No. 8 Georgia. Weseman batted .500 as the Yellow Jackets went 4-1 including a sweep of conference foe Boston College and a 2-0 shutout of in-state rival and eighth-ranked Georgia. Weseman also had five RBIs on six hits and scored five runs. She slugged .833 on the week with a double and a home run, and didn’t strike out in her 12 at-bats.

Her second honor came this past week. Weseman hit .625 last week (5-for-8) and had an on-base percentage of .800 to lead Georgia Tech in both categories. The Hutto, Tex., native hit two home runs, knocked in four, and scored seven runs. She walked five times without striking out as the Jackets improved to 23-16 and 6-3 in ACC play.

Lucky No. 8 … Updated
This year, entering the doubleheader with ULL, the softball team defeated the No. 8 team in the country two different times. First, on the first day of season, the team took out No. 8 Arizona by a 2-1 score. Most recently, the team erased No. 8 Georgia on March 14, shutting out the Dawgs 2-0 at Mewborn Field in Atlanta.

However, the Yellow Jackets fell both times to ULL by 12-11 and 10-2 scores to move to 2-2 on the year against the 8th team in the country. Tech jumped out to a 8-1 lead against the Ragin Cajuns but faltered in the fourth inning giving up eight runs and the lead. The Jackets didn’t stop fighting until the final out as the two teams exchanged leads three times in the final three innings of play. NCAA Stats

Some of the GT softball players, and the team as a whole, are ranked in the top-30 of the NCAA.

Hope Rush
Rush’s 16 victories this season currently ranks 23rd in the country. Six of her victories were of the shut out variety, which currently ranks 19th in the nation. Her 16 victories this season, combined with her 40 from her first two seasons as a Jacket currently places her fourth on the all-time list with 56 wins. She is just two shy of third held by Erin Voeltzwho racked up 58 from 2001-04.

Kelsi Weseman
In 27 games, Kelsi Wesemanhas tallied 22 walks for an average of 0.81 which currently ranks 26th in the country. Weseman is the most walked member of the ACC. She did not register an at bat in game two of the series with NC State as the Wolfpack walked her three times and hit her with a pitch in her fourth at bat.

Running Around and Getting Em
The softball team has combined for 72 stolen bases in 37 games for a 1.74 average, 19th in the country. Ashley Thomas leads the team and is 23-for-30 on the year which ranks 41st in the country, followed by Hayley Downs (16-for-17 and 86th nationally), Chelsie Thomas (15-for-16, and 95th nationally), and Kaitlin Kates(6-for-10).

The team has also racked up at least one double play in every two games for an NCAA ranking of 22.

Unselfish Play
Kate Kuzmais one of the more unselfish players on the Georgia Tech softball team in 2012. The catcher turned left fielder has taken 11 hit by pitches, including 7 in the last 14 games and has walked 23 times this year, including seven games where she was walked multiple times, to put herself on base, and usually in scoring position, for the Jackets.

She is batting .256 this year and has netted 21 hits on the year, eight for extra bases, but her OBP jumps to .474, second on the team behind Weseman. She has taken advantage of her free passes scoring 26 times, which also ranks second on the team behind leadoff hitter Ashley Thomas.

Kuzma has also laid down nine sacrifice bunts, usually to move Thomas over, helping her score many of her 33 runs.

Upset City
Georgia Tech has knocked off four higher-ranked teams in 2012 in six chances, at the Kajikawa Classic, ACC/SEC/Big 12 Challenge, and at Mewborn Field

At the Kajikawa Classic, Tech took down No. 8/8 Arizona 2-1 thanks to a two run single to center by sophomore Alysha Rudnik. On the final day of the tournament, Tech earned a walkoff victory over No. 20/21 Nebraska due in part to a throwing error by the Husker short stop. Tech’s speed on the base paths at the end of the game aided in the victory as freshman Chelsie Thomascame all the way around from first base to score the game winner.

At the ACC/SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Tech took Alabama down to the wire as the two teams battled in what would be a 12-9 victory for the No. 2 team in the country. The nine runs scored were the most any Tech team had ever scored against the Crimson Tide. Following that game, Tech had to turn around immediately and play No. 4 Oklahoma, where it shut out the Sooners, Oklahoma’s first shutout since April 22, 2011, handing OU its first loss of the season.

Tech defeated the No. 8 team in the country for the second time when the Jackets shut out Georgia on Wednesday, March 14 at Mewborn Field by a 2-0 score.

Clutch Hitter
Danielle Dikehas filled many roles for the Jackets this season, first base, third base, but is one of the most productive Jackets on the roster, especially as a pinch hitter. Dike is is 3-for-10 in pinch hit opportunities for Tech. All three of her hits have gone for extra bases and have driven in seven runs.

2/11 vs. Cal Poly Two-run double with two outs on the board in the 2nd to give Tech its first lead of the game. Set up a three-run homer by Ashley Thomas (her first) to break the game wide open.
2/17 vs. Alabama Two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the third. Helped Tech to regain a 6-5 lead over No. 2 Alabama.
2/19 at Auburn Three-run homer, her first of the season, in the top of the fourth that gave Tech a brief 5-4 lead over Auburn.

Round Trippers
Once again, Tech has demonstrated power in 2012. The team has combined for 35 home runs in 2012 along with 34 doubles and three triples for 167 RBI. In 2011, Tech softball registered an even 100 home runs on the year. Nine different athletes have knocked one out of the park in 2012, led by Kelsi Weseman (8) and Hope Rush (7). Ashley Thomashad her first career homer against Cal Poly at the Kajikawa Classic, a three run shot, releasing another three-run homer against Elon. (See Chart at left)

ACC Regular Season Champs?
…the ACC coaches think so. The softball team was predicted to win its fourth-straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title, as voted by the league’s head coaches. The Yellow Jackets received five first-place votes and 46 total points. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

The Jackets are coming off of a 45-12 season where they won the ACC regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight season. Tech heads into 2012 with the return of All-Americans Hope Rush and Kelsi Weseman and All-ACC performer Alysha Rudnik. Tech began the season ranked 23rd in the USA Softball/ESPN poll and was receiving votes in the NFCA/USA today poll.

USA Softball Watch List
Georgia Tech senior shortstop Kelsi Wesemanhas been selected to the “Watch List” for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announced Wednesday.

Weseman, who is coming off the most productive season of her career, returns to the Tech lineup after batting .424 last spring with 67 hits, 17 doubles, 21 home runs and a slugging percentage of .968, which ranked second nationally.

The Hutto, Texas native earned her first career All-American nod last season, becoming the eighth Tech player to earn the honor and the fifth under the tutelage of head coach Sharon Perkins. Weseman was also named the 2011 ACC Player of the Year, earned All-ACC (first team) accolades for the third-straight season and has been a part of an ACC Championship in each of her three years here on the Flats.

In 2010, former Tech softball player Jen Yee was a finalist for the award while current junior Hope Rushmade it to the semi-final round of voting.

Television Stars
The softball team will make at least four appearances on television in 2012. Tech’s home game against Maryland April 8 as well as a Monday night game at Florida State April 16 will be featured on national TV (ESPNU) while the Yellow Jackets’ doubleheader against FSU on April 15 will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.

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