May 13, 2005
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year Jessica Sallinger (25-7) tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout, and junior Amy Hosier drove in the game-winning runs in the fourth inning to lead No. 16 Georgia Tech (47-12) past NC State (41-24), 2-0, in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night at the Terrapin Softball Complex.
“Tonight was a very big win for us,” said head coach Ehren Earleywine. “We have a great deal of respect for NC State and knew going into the game that it would be a great challenge. We played great defense, which I thought was key to us winning. Kacey [Ivey] made a nice play in center field that caused a shift in momentum for us,” said Earleywine about a double play made by freshman Kacey Ivey.
Sallinger, a native of Kennesaw, Ga., tied an ACC Tournament record with 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work. She moved into 25th all-time in the NCAA with her 106th career victory in the circle and is one win shy of tying the all-time ACC record of 107.
“We had the scouting report on their hitters and Savannah [Brown] did a great job with pitch selection,” said Sallinger. “It’s huge to win that first game, because it allows us to rest tomorrow and comeback to the semifinal game rested. We have a target on our chest being the top seed, so every game is going to be tough.”
“Not only did Jessica [Sallinger] throw a great game, but she was able to keep her pitch count down, which will benefit her for Saturday and Sunday’s games,” said Earleywine.
Hosier, a native of Lakewood, Colo., and All-ACC first team honoree, finished the game 2-for-2, with two runs batted in to lead the Yellow Jackets offensively.
“Going into the count, I knew that I had to put the ball into play and she had already thrown me two inside drops, I had a feeling that she was going to come inside again and I knew that I had to get around on it,” said Hosier about batting with a 3-2 count, two outs and the bases loaded. “We did not have many opportunities with runners in scoring position, so I knew that I had to do something and I was able hit the ball hard and get it by the first baseman.”
“Amy had the timely hit that won the game for us,” said Earleywine. “She’s been getting big hits for us all season long and tonight was no different.”
The Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack could not manage much of an offensive attack as Sallinger and NC State’s Shaina Ervin had a pitcher’s duel working through three innings.
Hosier broke up the scoreless game for the Yellow Jackets in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-out single to right field to plate freshman Aileen Morales and junior Christine Sheridan for the only two runs of the game.
The Wolfpack’s Ervin worked six innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs and struck out four. Shanna Smith and Blair Harkey had the only hits for NC State.
The top-seeded Jackets advance to the semifinals where they will meet the winner of No. 3 seed Virginia and No. 7 seed Virginia Tech. That game will take place on Saturday at Noon. The action at the ACC Tournament can be followed at ACC Tournament Central.
“We have two games ahead of us now and I’ll be surprised if we didn’t meet Virginia Tech in one of those games,” said Earleywine. “They are a hot team with a great pitcher in Angela Tincher [who missed most of the ACC season with an injury]. We have our work cut out for us, but if we stick to what got us here, we’re going to be tough to beat.
“Right now, we are going to enjoy our day off tomorrow and recuperate for Saturday’s game.”