April 16, 2008
STATESBORO, Ga. – Junior Whitney Haller was on base seven times going 6-for-7 with three doubles, six RBI, a home run and a walk as the Georgia Tech Softball Team (23-27) swept a doubleheader at Georgia Southern (28-24) 5-0 and 10-4 Wednesday afternoon at Eagle Field. The home run was the 46th of Haller’s career moving her into a tie with Tara Knudsen for tops in the all-time Georgia Tech record books.
The Yellow Jackets pounded out 24 hits on the afternoon and senior pitcher Whitney Humphreys (13-13) won both games as she tossed a six-hit shutout in game one and then picked up a win in the night cap pitching 5.2 innings of relief and giving up just one earned run. She had 13 strikeouts on the day. At the top of the order, senior Aileen Morales was 4-for-7 with five runs scored, two home runs, a double, three RBI and two walks while freshman Christy Jones went 3-for-8 with three runs scored and three stolen bases. Junior Blair Shimandle was 5-for-8 on the afternoon with three RBI and a pair of stolen bases.
In game one, Tech batted around in the first inning scoring four runs on four hits against Georgia Southern pitcher Melissa Laliberte. Senior Aileen Morales led off with a single up the middle and then stole second base. After freshman Christy Jones reached on an infield single, junior Blair Shimandle singled as well driving home Morales with the game’s first run. Jones had to hold at second base, but with senior Savannah Brown at the plate, she and Shimandle pulled off a double-steal. The throw by GSU catcher Jenny Side went into left field allowing Jones to score the second Yellow Jacket run. Later in the inning, junior Whitney Haller crushed a two-run double into the gap in left-centerfield making the score 4-0.
Georgia Tech senior pitcher Whitney Humphreys, who seems to pitch better with runners on base, stranded five Georgia Southern runners on base through the first three innings. Then in the fourth inning, Lindsey Hopkins tripled with one out, but Humphreys came back to strike out Stephanie Peet and get Michelle Beasley to fly out to Jones in left field preserving the shutout.
The Eagles got two more runners on in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out, but Humphreys bore down and was able to strike out Side and get Amanda Hall to hit a lazy fly ball to Jones out in left. It was still 4-0 Yellow Jackets through five innings as GSU had stranded eight base runners through the first five frames.
Laliberte, meanwhile, settled down and kept the Jackets off the scoreboard until the sixth inning when Morales blasted a solo home run to dead centerfield. It was her fifth round-tripper of the season.
Haller singled with one out in the seventh inning giving her a 3-for-3 day with a walk, but she could not get any further along the base paths. The Yellow Jackets had stranded nine base runners, but it was still 5-0 as the game moved along to the bottom of the seventh inning.
Humphreys breezed through the seventh inning as she worked her first 1-2-3 frame of the day to improve to 12-13 on the season. It was her fifth shutout of the season as she scattered six hits and four walks. Humphreys struck out eight batters and lowered her ERA to 2.06.
Laliberte (14-8) took the loss as she yielded five earned runs on 10 hits and four walks. She had six strikeouts, but the Yellow Jackets made her throw 156 pitches.
In game two, the first inning was almost the same script juts a different pitcher. The Yellow Jackets scored three runs against GSU pitcher Megen Smith. Morales led off the game with a home run off the left-field foul pole. It was her second of the day and sixth of the season. Jones then walked and was sacrificed to second base by Shimandle. Brown hit a ground ball to the left side, but GSU third baseman Sam Russo booted it. Jones stopped at third base and Brown was able to move into second. Haller made it 3-0 as she reached base for the fifth time of the doubleheader with a two-run single up the middle. She was stranded there, but freshman pitcher Emily Schreck had a three-run lead to work with without throwing a pitch yet.
The Eagles got two of the runs back in the bottom of the first inning but it could have been worse. GSU had two runs home and two runners still on base with just one out, but Schreck got a pair of ground outs to get out of the inning with the Jackets still in the lead, 3-2.
The Jackets threatened again in the second inning, but Smith was able to get out of the jam. With runners at first and second and two outs, Shimandle hit a rocket into right field but freshman pinch runner Amelia Beach was thrown out at home by Lindsey Hopkins.
After two walks by Schreck in the bottom of the second inning, Humphreys came back into the game. She walked the first batter and then Megen Smith hit a sac fly, but she struck out Side with two out and two on to minimize the damage. It was now 3-3 after two innings of play.
The Jackets blew the game open in the top of the third as they sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs on seven hits. With Brown aboard after a leadoff single, Haller crushed a two-run home run to dead centerfield. It was the 46th of her career tying Tara Knudsen at the top of the school’s all-time chart. It was also the sixth time in as many at bats during the doubleheader that she reached base,
Smith was pulled from the game, but the new pitcher Kristan Glover did not fare any better. A RBI double from Morales and two-run single by Shimandle later in the inning capped off the scoring and gave Humphreys a 9-3 lead to work with.
Tech had the bases loaded and one out in the fifth as it looked for at least two runs to enforce the run-rule. Shimandle grounded out, but with Brown at the plate Glover uncorked a wild pitch making the score 10-3. Brown grounded out hard to shortstop so the game would go at least six innings.
The Jackets didn’t score in the sixth or seventh and a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh inning made it a 10-4 game and was the first earned run allowed by Humphreys on the day.
The Yellow Jackets will now head home to open up an eight-game homestand that will conclude the regular season. Up first will be a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend against Boston College. The Georgia Tech Softball team and the Atlanta Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation have partnered together in an effort to raise awareness and funds to help fight the cause of breast cancer. The Yellow Jackets will host the inaugural “Strikeout for the Cure” during both games of this Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. doubleheader against Boston College at Glenn Field.
Parents, fans, businesses and coworkers may pledge amounts for every strikeout the Yellow Jackets pitching staff records against Boston College, or they can make flat donations to the cause. Over the last two years, Georgia Tech has raised over $14,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation through the Yellow Jacket volleyball team’s Dig for the Cure Efforts and now every woman’s program is participating.
Pledges and donations for “Strikeout for the Cure” can be made by contacting Georgia Tech Athletics’ assistant director of communications Seth Gerard (404-894-5445, email@example.com).
Every Georgia Tech player and coach will have pink uniform accessories on Saturday and pink breast cancer awareness shirts will be sold at Glenn Field for $15 with all proceeds going directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Fans planning on attending the Atlantic Coast Conference doubleheader are also encouraged to show their support and wear pink.