March 22, 2008
CONWAY, S.C. – The Georgia Team Softball Team (13-21) has put together its first three-game winning streak of the season after sweeping Coastal Carolina (10-20) to conclude its six-day, 1,108-mile spring break trip. In game one, senior Whitney Humphreys retired 16 straight batters at one point as the Jackets won 2-1. In game two, Tech scored a season-high 10 runs en route to a 10-2 win in five innings. With four RBI in game two, senior Savannah Brown became Tech’s all-time RBI leader as she surpassed Anne Knobbe’s previous mark of 172. Senior Aileen Morales hit her first career grand slam in game two while freshman Jessica Weaver was 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. Freshman Emily Schreck earned her second win in as many starts for the Jackets in the night cap.
Senior Aileen Morales led off the game with a single and then stole second base, her 25th in as many chances this season. She went to third later in the inning on a ground out, but Coastal Carolina pitcher Ashley Pedersen was able to get out of the jam. In the bottom of the inning, senior pitcher Whitney Humphreys easily got the first two outs, but a walk and singles loaded the bases. After getting ahead of Ashley Pisone 1-2, Humphreys got her to pop up to senior catcher Savannah Brown ending the inning.
Each team went in order in the second inning and then the Yellow Jackets tried to mount a two-out rally in the third. Morales got it going with a two-out walk and then stole second base, her 26th of the season and seventh time she has had more than one in the last 12 games. Freshman Christy Jones reached on an infield single, but a diving play by Coastal Carolina shortstop Laicole Walker prevented Morales from scoring the game’s first run. Jones stole second base putting two Jackets in scoring position, but junior Blair Shimandle grounded out to end the inning.
Humphreys cruised through the bottom of the third inning and then the Yellow Jackets broke through with a run in the top of the fourth. Brown led off with a walk and then junior Whitney Haller tried to bunt her over, but was hit by a pitch. With two on and nobody out, senior Brittany Barnes bunted both runners over into scoring position. Freshman Jessica Weaver then hit a slow chopper to third base. Alicia Irwin threw home, but Brown slid in safely with the game-s first run. Tech still had two on with one out, but senior Becky McCraw grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
Humphreys, meanwhile, settled down and retired 10 straight batters after the three straight base runners in the first inning. The offense gave her another insurance run in the top of the fifth inning. Morales singled with one out and moved to second base when Jones grounded out. Shimandle then delivered the clutch hit as she singled up the middle driving home Morales and making the score 2-0 in favor of the Yellow Jackets.
Senior centerfielder Stephanie Butler might have made the defensive play of the season with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Cass Stuart hit a ball headed for the left-centerfield gap, but Butler came out of nowhere and made a diving catch as she completely laid out going to her right. Butler was playing the slap-hitting Stuart shallow and had to race back and towards left field to make the highlight-reel grab.
Humphreys continued her mastery of the Lady Chanticleers in the sixth. Another 1-2-3 inning on just nine pitches sent the game to the seventh inning and brought her total up to 16 batters in a row that she set down. That streak came to an end in the seventh inning when Alicia Irwin reached on a two-base error by Jones in left field to begin the inning. A Laicole Walker single into left-centerfield followed giving Coastal Carolina runners at first and third with nobody out. After a bunt put the tying run in scoring position, Humphreys got a big second out of the inning when she struck out pinch hitter Michelle Evans. She then got ahead of pinch hitter Kelsey Riffel 1-2, but Riffel dumped a single into centerfield allowing an unearned run to make it a 2-1 game. Humphreys was able to end the game, however, when Alyssa Tornatore fouled out to Brown.
Humphreys (6-11) got the win as she allowed just the one unearned run on four hits and a walk. SAhe struck out three. Ashley Pedersen (3-3) allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks. She also had three strikeouts.
In game two, Georgia Tech scored a run in the too if the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Morales walked on five pitches to start the game and then stole second base, her 27th of the year in as many opportunities and third of the day. Morales moved to third base on a Shimandle ground and then scored on a sac fly by Brown. For Brown, it was her 173rd career RBI, breaking Anne Knobbe’s all-time Georgia Tech record.
Freshman Emily Schreck made her second start of the season and kept the Lady Chanticleers off the scoreboard in the first inning. Then in the top of the second, Weaver made it 2-0 when she hit a solo home run to right field. For Weaver, it was her team-high sixth of the season.
The Yellow Jackets added to their lead in the third inning with three more runs and opened up a 5-0 advantage. With Butler and Shimandle both aboard on infield singles, Brown went with a 1-0 pitch on the outer half of the plate and drove it over the fence in right-centerfield for a three-run home run. It was her fourth home run of the season and brought her within five RBI (176) of tying the ACC record of 181 set by Virginia’s Sara Larquier.
Coastal Carolina got two of the runs back in the bottom of the third inning as Verity Long-Droppert hit a two-out, two-run home run to left-centerfield.
The Jackets continued their trend of scoring in every inning and blew the game wide open in the fourth inning. Singles by Weaver, freshman Amanda Crow and Butler loaded the bases with one out. Morales came up and hit one to the same spot as Brown as she drove a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right-centerfield for a grand slam. For Morales, it was her second home run of the season and knocked Coastal Carolina starting pitcher Ashley Frederick out of the game. Michelle Evans came into the game in relief prevented any more damage but it was now 9-2 Georgia Tech after three and a half innings.
Schreck pitched well with the lead and the Yellow Jackets got the eighth run in the top of the fifth inning to enforce the mercy-rule. Haller led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored later in the inning when Weaver singled down the left-field line.
Schreck kept Coastal Carolina off the scoreboard in the seventh inning and earned her second win in as many starts. She scattered five hits and gave up just the two earned runs. Schreck did not walk a batter and struck out one.
The Yellow Jackets now return home and will host Furman in a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 25. First pitch of game one from Glenn Field will be at 2:00 PM and live stats of both games will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.