Feb. 9, 2008
ATLANTA – The No. 17/18 Georgia Tech Softball Team (0-2) began the 2008 season with a pair of losses at the Georgia State First Pitch Classic. In game one, Lipscomb took advantage of four Georgia Tech errors for an 11-9 win. Junior Blair Shimandle had a career-high four hits in the game, while freshman Jessica Weaver hit a home run in her first official collegiate at bat. In game two, Georgia State jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back en route to the 11-3 win in six innings. Weaver hit another home run in the loss for Tech.
In game one against Lipscomb, the Jackets broke a scoreless tie with five runs on six hits in the bottom of the second inning as they batted around. Tiffany Johnson led off the frame with a single and then stole second base. After Jessica Weaver walked, Blair Shimandle gave Tech the first lead of the game with a RBI single up the middle. Two batters later, Morales made it 3-0 with a two-run single into left field and after a Christy Jones infield single, Whitney Haller made it 5-0 with a two-run single up the middle.
Lipscomb got two of the runs back in the top of the third inning on just one hit courtesy of two Georgia Tech errors. In the bottom of the inning, Weaver hit a monstrous home run that hit the roof of the indoor batting cages in left-center field, approximately 50 feet beyond the fence. It was technically her first career at bat, since her first official plate appearance was a walk.
Lipscomb scored once in the top of the fourth, but it could have been a lot worse. With a run already home and runners at first and second, the Jackets turned a big double-play. Jennifer Allsup singled to centerfield. Stephanie Butler came up throwing and gunned down Christen Campbell at the plate. Weaver then threw to third and nailed Katie Brockmeyer to complete the double-play and keep it a 6-3 game.
The Jackets went quietly in the bottom of the fourth inning and then a four-run top of the fifth gave Lipscomb a 7-6 lead. The Lady Bisons were aided by two Tech errors and knocked freshman pitcher Stephanie Morris out of the game. Johnson got a big strike out to end the inning and keep it a one-run deficit.
The Yellow Jackets came right back with three runs in their half of the fifth inning to re-take the lead at 9-7. With one out, Shimandle singled and stole second base. Butler followed with an infield single and moved Shimandle to third. After Butler stole second base giving the Jackets two in scoring position with just one out, Kelly Eppinger hit a slow roller to shortstop. Abby Keese threw home, but it was too late and Shimandle scored to tie the game. An error on a ground ball by Jones and a RBI ground out by Barnes gave Tech a 9-7 lead.
Lipscomb came right back with a four-run sixth inning and this time, the Yellow Jackets did not have an answer. The big blow in the inning was a three-run home run off the bat of Keese.
Tech went quietly in the sixth and seventh innings as Lipscomb hung on for the upset.
Johnson (0-1) took the loss for the Jackets allowing four runs, all earned, on five hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. She struck out four. Morris started in her first collegiate game and allowed seven runs, one earned, on eight hits and two walks in 4.2 innings.
Game two did not start any better for the Jackets. In the bottom of the first inning, Lauren Jones and Catherine Lee each hit a two-run home run of Tech starter Tiffany Johnson to give Georgia State a 4-0 lead. In the second inning consecutive four-pitch walks after there were two outs knocked Johnson out of the game. Morris came in and allowed a RBI single to Jones, but used a strikeout to end the inning and keep Tech’s deficit at 5-0.
Tech had a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the third inning as Becky McCraw singled and Butler walked with one out, but could not scratch across just one run.
The Panthers made it a 7-0 game with two more runs in the third inning after two singles, a long fly out, wild pitch and successful squeeze.
Tech got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning when Weaver blasted her second home run of the day. This time, it was a two-out, three-run shot to dead centerfield. It came right after Johnson just missed hitting one to same spot only to have Georgia State centerfielder Lauren Jones make the catch at the wall. McCraw tried to keep the Jackets rally going with a single up the middle, but Shimandle lined out to center ending the threat.
The Panthers ended the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, however, as they scored four runs to enforce the run-rule. Johnson (0-2) took the loss as she yielded five runs, all earned, on three hits and three walks in 1.2 innings. Morris then gave up six runs, two earned, on nine hits in four-plus innings. She fanned three.
Tech closes out pool play against Tennessee-Martin Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and then the four teams will be re-seeded and play a consolation and championship round game later in the afternoon. Live stats for both Tech games can be found via the Gametracker link at www.ramblinwreck.com.