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Georgia Tech Faces Nation's Elite at NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 23, 2006

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech softball team (6-3) will travel to Columbus, Ga., for the annual NFCA Leadoff Classic, Friday-Sunday, Feb. 24-26. The Yellow Jackets will face No. 7 Alabama (Noon) and Hofstra (7:30 p.m.) on Friday, and wrap-up pool play with defending national champion No. 5 Michigan (12:30 p.m.) on Saturday.

“The Leadoff classic is obviously one of the best tournaments anywhere in the country,” said head coach Ehren Earleywine. “On top of that, our pool may be the strongest pool of them all with sixth-ranked Alabama and defending national champion Michigan.

“It will be a good test for us in many ways. As important right now as anything, we need to play better defense. We’re not dominant enough to give away outs and still win. It’s early though and as long as we stay committed to good fundamentals and solid preparation we’ll be very competitive down the stretch.”

Twelve of the top 25 teams in the nation will be competing this weekend. Bracket play will begin on Saturday at the conclusion of pool play at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday’s final day of action begins at 9 a.m., with the respective bracket championship games slated for 1 p.m.

The Jackets will face No. 6 Alabama (9-1) in their first game of the tournament. Tech has a two-game winning streak against the Crimson Tide and trail in the series, 3-4.

Next up for the Yellow Jackets will be Hofsra. The Pride stand at 5-3 on the season after being swept by Florida, 7-3 and 6-3, on Wednesday. Tech and Hofstra have never met on the diamond.

The final game of pool play for the Jackets will be perennial power and defending national champion Michigan. The Wolverines are 3-2 on this young season and ranked fifth in both polls. The Big Blue returns World Series Most Outstanding Player super sophomore Samantha Findlay and senior pitcher Jennie Ritter. Tech and U of M have faced off two times in the Leadoff Classic, with Michigan taking both games by a score of 3-1.

All Tech games can be followed via live stats at www.ramblinwreck.com.

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