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Haller Ties ACC Home Run Record As Softball Beats Maryland 2-0; Game Two Suspended Until Sunday For Severe Weather

April 26, 2008

Box Score

ATLANTA – Junior Whitney Haller hit had a pair of two-run home runs to tie the all-time ACC record of 49 as Georgia Tech (28-28, 7-11 ACC) defeated Maryland (34-16, 6-10) 2-0 in game one of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Glenn Field. Game two was suspended due to severe weather with the Yellow Jackets leading 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. It will be continued at Noon tomorrow before the scheduled rubber game of the series.

Haller’s blast in game two tied NC State’s Jen Chamberlin atop the ACC charts. It also tied the game at two after Maryland had built a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Senior Whitney Humphreys (17-14) tossed a four-hit shutout in game one as she has now won nine of her last 10 starts. She did not walk a batter and struck out seven.

In the first inning of game one, Maryland had runners at first and second with one out, but senior pitcher Whitney Humphreys was able to come back and strike out both Brittany Bessho and Kerry Hickey to end the inning. Then in the bottom of the inning, the Yellow Jackets struck for a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead against Maryland ace Sarah Dooley.

Senior Aileen Morales got hit by a pitch and then stole second base, her 41st of the season. Later in the inning, she came around to score when junior Whitney Haller blasted a two-run home run to left field. For Haller, it was her ninth of the season and 48th of her career moving her within one of Jen Chamberlin’s ACC Record. Chamberlin of NC State hit 49 in her career.

Both pitchers were on cruise control through much of the game as it was still 2-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth. Senior Brittany Barnes doubled to the alley in left-centerfield with one out in the fourth, but was stranded there. Then in the fifth, an infield single by senior Stephanie Butler and a double to right-centerfield by Morales gave the Jackets runners at second and third with one out but Dooley was able to get out of it and keep the Terps deficit at 2-0.

In the top of the sixth, Maryland threatened again with runners on first and second with two outs. After a 12-pitch at bat, Humphreys finally got Kerry Hickey to pop out to Shimandle in right and then Shimandle made a highlight-reel catch to end the inning. Devon Williams hit a sinking line drive that was headed for the gap in right-centerfield, but Shimandle charged hard and made a diving catch moving to her right to keep the Terps off the scoreboard.

Humphreys retired the Terrapins in order in the seventh to earn her sixth shutout of the season. She improved to 17-14 on the season as she scattered just four hits. Humphreys did not walk a batter and struck out seven. Dooley (15-12) took the loss as she allowed the two earned runs on five hits and a walk. She had seven strikeouts as well.

In game two, Maryland scored a run in the top of the first inning to take a quick 1-0 lead on Tech junior Tiffany Johnson. With a runner on second and two outs, Brittany Bessho hit a high chopper over the head of Haller at first and it landed just fair down the right field line for a RBI single.

Georgia Tech had a chance in the bottom of the first and Morales and Haller were both about with two outs on walks, but Maryland pitcher Lindsey Wright got Barnes to ground out and end the inning. Barnes did not go down without a fight, however, as she was eventually retired after a 10-pitch at bat.

In the second inning, things got very interesting. After Julie Lofland was hit by a Johnson pitch putting two on with just one out, Tech head coach Sharon Perkins came out to argue that it was a foul ball and was eventually thrown out of the game for the second time in her career. Then in the bottom of the second inning, Wright hit both freshmen Amanda Crow and Jessica Weaver to start the inning. Butler bunted them into scoring position, but freshman Christy Jones ran into some bad luck. She had a hard slap to the left side that was snared by Maryland third baseman Devon Williams. Williams was able to apply the tag on Crow and get the inning-ending double-play.

Maryland made it a 2-0 game when Bessho hit a two-out solo home run in the top of the third. It was her fifth round-tripper of the season.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Yellow Jackets came back to tie the game as Haller continued her assault on the school and ACC record books. With Shimandle aboard after singling with one out, Haller came up two batters later and smashed a two-run home run over the left field. It was her second of the day, 10th of the season and 49th in her career tying her with NC State’s Jen Chamberlin atop the ACC charts.

Tech then took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Weaver crushed a one-out solo home run to left field. It was her ninth of the season and gave the Yellow Jackets a 3-2 lead.

Johnson worked a 1-2-3 top of the fifth and after Wright plunked Morales with the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth inning, game one starter Dooley entered the game in relief. Morales stole second base, her 43rd of the season, and scored later in the inning on a RBI ground out by Brown giving Tech a big insurance run heading to the sixth inning.

Johnson walked two batters with one out in the top of the sixth but was able to get out of the jam once again. The two teams had been dodging severe thunderstorms in the area all day, but not any more. Tech officials and the umpires decided to pull the teams off the field and put the tarp on the field. Due to the forecast for severe weather the remainder of the day, officials decided to suspend the game. Play will resume with the bottom of the sixth inning tomorrow at Noon and then the third game of the series will played approximately 25 minutes after the conclusion.

Georgia Tech will play its final regular season contest tomorrow as the three-game series with Maryland concludes at 1:00 p.m. Live stats will be available via Gametracker at www.ramblinwreck.com.

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