May 19, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Lacey Richardson (8-5) picked up the win in relief, working 6.0 strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits and fanned six, and sophomore Savannah Brown went 2-for-2, with two walks and two runs batted in, to lead No. 2 seed Georgia Tech (47-20) past No. 3 seed Florida A&M (39-24), 9-3, at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Softball Regional on Friday.
“Lacey came in and gave us a chance,” said Tech coach Ehren Earleywine. “I knew that we were going to move some balls off their pitcher offensively, and we eventually woke up and did.”
“I was ready from the start of the game,” said Richardson about having to come into the game in the second inning. “We have had each other’s back all season, and today was no different. I just wanted to keep us in the game because I know how good we can be offensively.”
Senior Amy Hosier and freshman Whitney Haller each went 2-for-3, while junior Kristina Hull went 1-for-4, with two RBIs, to pace the Yellow Jackets offensively. Sophomore Aileen Morales stole her 30th base of the season and went 1-for-3, with two RBIs, at the plate for Tech. Hosier extended her hitting streak to five games and tallied her team-leading 18th double of the season.
FAMU came out swinging the bats as the Lady Rattlers scored three runs in the top of the second inning. Kelly Gordon smashed her eighth home run of the season to center field, a two-run shot, and after Tech made a pitching change in favor of Richardson, FAMU scored a third run on a two-out RBI single by Shalina Taylor as the Lady Rattlers led 3-0.
Seniors Christine Sheridan and Hosier led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk and base hit to put Jackets at first and second with no outs. After a strikeout, Tech junior Caitlin Lever singled up the middle to plate Sheridan and junior Daisy Paez drew a walk to load the bases. The Jackets then grounded into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning as Tech trailed by two, 3-1.
Brown led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a shot to center field that hit the top of the fence, bounced straight up in the air, and came back into play for a double, but Tech was unable to drive her in as the game advanced to the fifth inning with FAMU on top, 3-1.
Hosier led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double off the left-center field wall, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a wild pitch to bring the Jackets within one, 3-2. Haller singled to right field and scored on a two-out double off the wall by Morales as Tech tied the game at 3-3. The Jackets pulled off a successful double steal after Brown walked to take their first lead of the game, 4-3.
Haller drew a bases loaded walk to force in the fifth run of the game for the Jackets in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Tech a two-run lead, 5-3. After consecutive outs, Morales and Brown drew walks to force in two more runs and junior Kristina Hull singled through the right side to plate two more runs and give Tech a 9-3 lead.
Richardson induced a double play after hitting the leadoff batter and retired the final batter on a ground out to lead Tech to a six-run victory.
Tech scored nine runs, on nine hits and had no errors, while FAMU scored three runs, on eight hits and committed two errors.
The Jackets will face the winner of No. 1 seed Alabama (49-9) and No. 4 seed Mississippi Valley State (23-28) at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
NOTES: Tech set a new ACC single season record with 95 team doubles on the season. The Jackets win their first round NCAA Tournament game for the third consecutive season.