Feb. 7, 2009
Panthersville, Ga. – Whitney Haller broke the ACC career home run record as the Georgia Tech softball team (2-0) opened the season by sweeping Georgia State, 8-1 and 7-1 Saturday afternoon. Haller was 4-for-7 with two home runs and six RBI on the day. Christy Jones was 4-for-6 in the doubleheader with three runs scored and five stolen bases, while Blair Shimandle was also 5-for-8 with three runs scored and two stolen bases.
Tiffany John son (1-0) picked up the win in game one as she allowed one run on four hits in six innings. She walked two and struck out 10, while also hitting a three-run home run. In game two, Kristen Adkins (1-0) earned the win in her first start for Tech. She gave up one run on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
In game one, Georgia State pitcher Madi Gore got the first two outs quickly, but then Haller came up and hit the record home run. She lined a pitch over the fence in left field, surpassing the previous mark of 49 set by NC State’s Jen Chamberlin.
Georgia State tied the game in the bottom of the first inning on a RBI single by Liz Skelton. The inning could have been worse, but Johnson got Lauren Jones to pop-up a bunt with runners at the corners and one out that the Jackets turned into a double-play. Johnson fielded the bunt and was able to double the runner off third base.
The score remained 1-1 Tech until a six-run top of the fourth inning. Jessica Sinclair and Adkins each reached base to lead the inning off on Georgia State errors. Johnson then helped herself out by blasting a three-run home run to left field making it a 4-0 game. The Yellow Jackets were not done there, however. Shimandle followed with an infield single and stole second base. After Jones reached on an infield single and stole second base as well, the stage was set for Haller with runners on second and third and nobody out. She delivered a three-run home run to left-center field putting Tech in front 7-0.
That was more than enough for Johnson who was mowing down the Panthers batters. She began the pile up the strikeouts and finished with 10 before being taken out after six innings. For Johnson, it was her third career 10-strikout game.
The Jackets added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning on a Jessica Weaver sacrifice fly. Freshman Jessica Coan made her collegiate debut in the seventh inning and pitched a scoreless frame with a hit, walk and a strikeout.
The Jackets jumped out early again in game two as they were able to push a run across in the top of the first inning. Shimandle reached second base safely when Georgia State left fielder Tiffany Bess dropped her fly ball. Jones followed with an infield single and promptly stole second base and when the ball got away, Shimandle scampered home with the game’s first run. Panthers pitcher Alana Thomas kept the Jackets off the scoreboard any further inn the inning.
In the bottom of the first inning, Adkins was the victim of consecutive infield singles to start the inning off but prevented any runs from scoring. The transfer from Florida was able to get 2008 CAA Player of the Year Catherine Lee to fly out to Shimandle in center and then induced a double-play off the bat of Skelton to get out of the inning.
The Jackets added another run in the top of the second inning. Kuzma led off the inning with a double to the gap in right-center field in her first collegiate at bat and scored later in the inning on a Shimandle RBI single.
Adkins was on cruise control for much of the game and her consistency with the strike zone had the Panthers swinging early and often. Adkins retired seven in a row at one point and had thrown just 41 pitches through the first five innings.
The Jackets gave Adkins a couple insurance runs in the fifth. Shimandle and Jones once again each singled and stole a base leading off the inning. A Haller sacrifice fly and RBI ground out by Jen Yee gave Tech a 4-0 lead through four and a half.
Adkins ran into a little trouble in the Georgia State bottom half of the sixth inning. Back-to-back singles leading off the frame sent Lee up again with two on and no outs. Adkins got ahead of Lee 0-2, but she battled back to a full count before Adkins got her to swing and miss for strike three. Adkins then got the second out of the inning when Skelton flew out to Sinclair in right. Jones broke up Adkins’ shut out bid with a RBI single, but Adkins came back to fan Rachel Cunningham who represented the tying run and get out of the inning.
The jackets broke the game open with a three spot in the top of the seventh inning against reliever Kate Gaskill, a transfer from the University of Georgia. Haller had a RBI single; Weseman added a RBI double and later scored on a wild pitch.
Coan pitched another scoreless seventh inning to secure the win for the Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets will now head up Interstate 85 to play a doubleheader at Furman on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Live audio and stats for both games can be found at www.ramblinwreck.com beginning at 12:50 p.m.