Feb. 21, 2013
Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Central | Game Notes
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-3) travel west to take on top competition at the Mary Nutter Classic Feb. 22-24 at Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif. The tournament field is studded with 13 teams that are ranked in the USA TODAY/NFCA Coaches Top 25, and Tech is scheduled to face two Top 10 teams in No. 5 Florida and No. 8 California.
The Jackets are set to compete in the tournament for the second time in the classic’s 10-year history. Tech traveled to the tournament in 2009 when it was called the Cathedral City Classic and posted a 2-3 record with wins over Loyola Marymount, 5-0, and Oregon State, 6-0.
Tech opens the tournament against Northwestern Friday at 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET), followed by a 3:30 p.m. PT (6:30 p.m. ET) matchup against No. 8 California. On Saturday, the Jackets face No. 5 Florida at 9:30 a.m. PT (12:30 p.m. ET) and Oregon State at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET), before closing the classic on Sunday at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET) against Illinois.
The MNCC is the largest and most competitive Division I softball event outside of the NCAA postseason. The annual classic features a total of 35 top D1 programs all held at one complex, and includes PAC 12, Big 10, Big 12, SEC and ACC institutions, among others.
12 p.m. ET vs. Illinois – GameTracker | Audio
After cruising to a 5-0 start in its season-opening tournament, Tech has hit a rough patch going 3-3 over its last six games. The Jackets suffered their first two losses of the season at the Georgia Tech Classic, both to Indiana, and recently dropped a one-run thriller to Mercer, 10-9.
Junior Ashley Thomas leads the offensive charge with a .457 batting average, 14 runs, 16 hits and two triples. Thomas has reached base safely in all 11 games this season and currently enjoys a 10-game hitting streak. Against Mercer, the McKinney, Texas native, was just a home run short of the cycle as she went 3-for-3 with two RBI, three runs and two walks to go along with a double and a triple.
In the Circle
The Jackets have four pitchers in their arsenal led by Hope Rush’s 3.09 ERA. She owns a 4-3 record and has pitched 43.0 innings with 28 runs -19 earned runs – on 41 hits and 25 strikeouts. The pitching staff holds a 4.47 ERA and has limited opponents to a .288 hitting clip.
Against The Competition
Northwestern – The Jackets hold a 2-1 advantage against Northwestern in the all-time series. The teams last met on Feb. 19, 2010 at the Las Vegas Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. Tech won the contest, 9-6. The previous two meetings came in 2005, when Tech won 3-0, and 1999, a 5-2 Wildcat victory.
California – Tech is looking for its first win in the series against the Golden Bears, who lead the series 2-0. The Jackets dropped a 4-1 contest on Feb. 21, 2010 at the Las Vegas Louisville Slugger Desert Classic to California when they last met.
Florida – The Gators own the series, 5-1. UF won the last meeting, 3-0, at the USF DeMarini Tournament on Feb. 13, 2010.
Oregon State – Tech holds a slight edge over the Beavers in the series, 2-1. The Jackets outlasted Oregon State, 9-8, in the 2012 season opener at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
Illinois – The series against the Fighting Illini is knotted 2-2. On Feb. 18, 2011, Tech defeated Illinois 5-4 at the Felsberg Memorial Tournament in Miami, Fla. in the last meeting.