Feb. 27, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Senior Hope Rush crushed a two-run homer over the right field fence in the top of the ninth inning to lift Georgia Tech (10-7) past Jacksonville State (7-8), in nine innings, 9-7, Wednesday night at University Field in Jacksonville, Ala.
Rush was 0-for-4 on the night before she stepped to the plate and blasted her sixth bomb of the season, which scored Alysha Rudnik, who doubled down the right field line to lead off the inning.
Rush (6-5) also went the distance in the circle, pitching all nine frames. She allowed seven runs on 15 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in her eighth complete game of the season.
“Hope was clutch today,” head coach Sharon Perkins said. “You could just see it in her eyes. She was battling the whole game. Every batter she was working the count and hitting her spots. I can’t say enough about Hope that’s for sure – for her to keep her head about her and come up in a crucial time and have a great at bat was great.”
The Gamecocks used a trio of pitchers in the contest. Starter Tiffany Harbin was replaced after 2.0 innings by Hillary Phillips, who pitched 6.0 innings with three runs on six hits. Casey Akenberger pitched to one batter – Alysha Rudnik – in the ninth inning and was yanked as Harbin went back in. Akenberger (1-5) suffered the loss as she allowed the go ahead run on base.
The Jackets took a 4-0 lead after one and a half innings and allowed the Gamecocks to score three runs in the bottom of the second inning to close the gap, 4-3.
The Gamecocks tied the game, 4-4, in the fourth inning on an RBI-single from Jessica Guy that scored Krystal Ruth. With two outs, Kalee Tabor hit a two-run homer to give Jacksonville State its first lead of the game, 6-4.
JSU extended its lead to three runs, 7-4, as an RBI-single from Ruth scored Amanda Martinez.
Phillips entered the game in the third inning and kept the Jackets in check until the top of the seventh inning.
Down 7-4 in the top of the seventh, the Jackets rallied to score three runs on three hits and one Gamecock error to stay alive in the game.
Ashley Thomas singled through the right side to lead things off and stole second. The next two batters popped up and struck out. With two outs and one runner on base, Katie Johnsky hit an RBI-single to right field to score Thomas and cut the lead to two runs, 7-5.
Karly Fullem followed that up with a pop up behind the first baseman that the JSU second baseman tried to catch, but the ball tipped off her glove and rolled away from her. Kelly Delashmit, who pinch ran for Johnsky, scored from first base and Fullem moved to second.
Tech trailed 7-6 when Kaitlin Kates entered the game to run for Fullem at second. Morgan Taylor stepped up and singled to left center and scored Kates to tie the game 7-7 and send the contest to extras.
The Yellow Jackets continue their 14-game road swing this weekend at the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla. The Jackets open the tournament against the Fordham Rams Friday at 1:15 p.m.
Tech will face two Top 25 teams in No. 14 Michigan and No.15/16 Louisville at the Citrus Classic. The Georgia Tech – Louisville game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 with Kevin Corke on the call and two-time All-American pitcher Amanda Scarborough as the analyst.