Feb. 24, 2013
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Junior Ashley Thomas’s RBI-single scored the only run of the game as Georgia Tech (9-7) defeated Illinois (5-9), 1-0, in both teams’ final game at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.
“We did a really great job today,” head coach Sharon Perkins said. “The wind was blowing really hard and I think we made a good job of making adjustments trying to hit line drives and ground balls.”
Ashley Thomas’s clutch hit came in the fifth inning with two outs to score pinch runner Kelly Delashmit. Freshman Courtney Ziese led off the inning with a walk and Delashmit entered the game to run. She was moved to second on single courtesy of Maddie Lionberger and both runners gained a base on sacrifice bunt off the bat of Hayley Downs.
With two on and two out, Ashley Thomas ripped a line drive through the 15 mph wind to right center field to score Delashmit and give the Jackets the 1-0 lead.
“Courtney drew a great walk, and Maddie did a great job and worked her at bat,” Perkins said. “She fouled off a lot of pitches and hit a line drive. She was hitting the ball hard. And then Ashley did a good job too. We really had to focus on hitting line drives. That was the way to win the game.”
Ashley Thomas is on a 15-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in the last 16 consecutive games.
The Fighting Illini threatened to come back in the bottom of the same frame. Illinois loaded the bases with just one out thanks to one Georgia Tech error and two base hits.
With the top of the order up to bat, Allie Bauch dropped a base hit into right field, where Katie Johnsky picked it up and fired it home to thrown out the runner and preserve Tech’s 1-0 lead. The next Illinois batter grounded out to Karly Fullem at first to strand three runners on base.
Earlier in the game, Illinois had a chance to go up 1-0 in the second inning with a runner on third and no outs. Remeny Perez was hit by a pitch and her pinch runner Alex Booker stole second and third.
Georgia Tech pitcher Hope Rush saved the situation and struck out the next three batters to escape the inning.
“Hope really had a good weekend,” Perkins said. “That’s the first time I’ve really seen her deal with and make it through three full games in a weekend. I think her body is healthy and she has some really good endurance. She did a good job controlling her pitches.”
Rush (5-5) tossed her seventh complete game of the season and allowed seven hits, no walks and struck out five.
Illinois pitcher Pepper Gay (4-5) suffered the loss after allowing one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
The Yellow Jackets continue their 14-game road swing with a midweek game at Jacksonville State with first pitch set for 6 p.m. ET.