May 15, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior Jessica Sallinger (29-7) broke the single-season Tech record with her 29th win and tossed her 14th shutout of the season as No. 24 Georgia Tech (45-16) advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game with a win over second-seeded North Carolina (43-20), 4-0, Saturday night at the Seminole Softball Complex.
The Yellow Jackets won three games on Saturday to make their third title game appearance and second in three years. Tech defeated Virginia, 4-1, and Maryland, 6-4.
The Tar Heels threatened in the bottom of the first inning with two runners on and one out. Sallinger struck out ACC batting leader Emily Price on a 3-2 pitch and induced a pop out to third base to end the inning and advance the game to the second inning scoreless.
The Yellow Jackets broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning on a double steal by senior Tara Knudsen and sophomore Amy Hosier. Knudsen scored on the throw at the plate by Price and Hosier moved over to third on the error by the catcher. UNC’s Crystal Cox retired the next batter for the final out as Tech led 1-0 after four innings of play.
Freshman Kristina Hull broke up Cox’s no-hitter with a single through the left side of the infield. Hull was then caught stealing at second base for the second out of the inning and Cox retired the final out via the strikeout as Tech remained on top by a score of 1-0.
Junior Kirin Kumar started the sixth inning with a base hit to left field. Knudsen continued to swing a hot bat for Tech with a line-shot single to left field that went underneath the left fiedler’s glove to plate Kumar. Junior Katie Donovan then doubled to the left-center gap to score Knudsen. Hosier drove in the third and final run of the inning on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop as Tech led 4-0 after six complete innings.
Carolina’s Ashley Allen entered the game for the Tar Heels in the circle in the seventh inning. Allen walked the leadoff batter and retired the next three as Tech moved to the bottom half on top by four, 4-0.
Sallinger retired the Tar Heels in order to preserve Tech’s four-run victory. The Yellow Jackets will face top-seeded Florida State in the championship game for the second time in school history. Tech dropped a 5-2 decision at the 1995 ACC Tournament. The Jackets lost a heartbreaker to the fourth-ranked Seminoles in the quarterfinals of the tourney, 3-2.
Tech will have to defeat the Seminoles twice tomorrow to win its second ACC crown. The championship game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Net South at 4 p.m.