Knobbe Hits School Record 10th Home Run to Lead Charge
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Georgia Tech advanced in the consolation bracket of the 1999 Atlantic Coast Conference softball tournament Saturday afternoon after defeating North Carolina, 6-2, at the Florida State Softball Complex. Tech, now 22-37 overall, plays Maryland (47-20) in the consolation semifinal Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The loss eliminates the Tar Heels (40-22), who suffered a 2-1 loss in 10 innings to Florida State Friday night.
North Carolina scored first in the top of the first inning after a throwing error by right field Kori Jacobson allowed Tar Heel Crystal Henderson to score from third base after a fly out. Tech countered, however, with three runs in the bottom of the frame to take the lead for good. Second baseman Erin Hawley and left fielder Lauren Schwartz each reached on one-out singles and catcher Anne Knobbe followed by blasting a 3-1 pitch over the left centerfield wall. The long ball was her 10th of the year, which set a new school record in that category.
“I got a perfect pitch on the inside middle of the plate,” said Knobbe, who leads the ACC in home runs and in RBI with 62. “She (McHugh) had thrown all of the other pitches inside and then she came back with another on 3-1 and I got a hold of it.”
In the third inning, Tech was able to break the game open behind the 3-run double of designated player Lacey Schanz. Schwartz, Knobbe and first baseman Beth Warren all singled to load the bases with one out before Schanz came to bat. The sophomore from took a 3-1 inside pitch and drove it to the left centerfield wall for double to post Tech to a 6-1 lead. The blow chased Carolina starter Radara McHugh (26-15) from the game after she allowed six earned runs on eight hits.
Freshman pitcher Mimi Utt (13-12). then settled and carried Tech the rest of the way. She yieled an unearned run in the fourth inning, retired nine out of 10 batters over the last three innings, and allowed only a seventh-inning single to leftfielder Jen Klesaris in the seventh. The victory ties Utt with three others for second place in single season victories.
Tech totaled 10 hits for the contest, and redeemed 4-2 and 7-5 losses to the Tar Heels during the regular season at Glenn Field. The win was the sixth ACC Tournament win for Tech in eight years of tournament play.
“We unloaded on the ball today and hit it hard on every occasion,” said first-year head coach Kate Madden. “We were aggressive today and executed in every facet of the game. Mimi picked us up when we needed by only giving up five hits and despite three errors we played like we are capable on offense.”
North Carolina (40-22) 100 100 0 -- 2 5 2Georgia Tech (22-37) 303 000 x -- 6 10 3
Radara McHugh, Erin Joseph (3) and Natalie Anter. Mimi Utt and Anne Knobbe. WP — Utt (13-25). LP — McHugh (26-15). HR — GT: Knobbe (10) 1st, two on. T — 1:40.