Feb. 21, 2009
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Senior Tiffany Johnson pitched a one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts and was 4-for-5 at the plate with a home run as the Georgia Tech softball team (7-3) split on the opening day of the Cathedral City Classic. The Yellow Jackets lost a tough 4-3 game to UNLV (6-5), but came back to beat Loyola Marymount (8-6) behind Johnson’s gem.
Johnson (3-1) faced just two batters over the minimum as just one single by the No. 9 hitter with two outs in the third inning stood behind her and the no-hitter. Another batter reached base via a Yellow Jacket error. Johnson struck out the side twice en route to her second-highest career strikeout game. She did not walk a batter. Jen Yee was also 3-for-7 with three RBI on the day, while Christy Jones also added three hits and a stolen base. They each extended their hitting streaks to nine and seven games, respectively.
It was a scoreless game until the Jackets scored all five runs against Loyola Marymount in the bottom of the fourth inning. Johnson led off the frame with a double and went to third base on a ground out by Kelsi Weseman. Kate Kuzma gave Tech a 1-0 lead with a double to left-center field. Back to back walks to Kristen Adkins and Jessica Sinclair loaded the bases with just one out for the Yellow Jackets and spelled the end of the night for LMU starter Melissa Dykema.
Corie Goodman came into the game, but did not fare any better. Blair Shimandle made it a 3-0 with a two-run single up the middle and then Jen Yee added to the lead with a two-run single of her own later in the inning capping the five-run frame.
That was more than enough for Johnson who was on cruise control for her third win of the season.
The first game against UNLV had a little bit of everything. It started off as a pitcher’s duel between Tech sophomore Kristen Adkins and UNLV’s Traci Odegard, but turned into a wild last four innings.
The game was scoreless until the Rebels scored first in the top of the fourth inning via a Jaci Hull RBI double. The Yellow Jackets came back to tie the game in a wild bottom half of the inning. Yee led off with a double, but was called out when she collided with UNLV shortstop Jaci Hull on a single by Weseman. With Johnson at the plate, Weseman was thrown out trying to steal, but on the next pitch Johnson hit a monstrous home run to left field. The ball just stayed fair inside the foul play, but resulted in the ejection of UNLV head coach Pete Manarino following a lengthy argument.
In the top of the sixth inning, UNLV struck for two unearned runs against Adkins. She loaded the bases with no outs on an error, infield single and a walk. After getting a ground out and force play at the plate, Elena Fata reached base on an error and two runs were able to score. Adkins, however, kept the Yellow Jackets within striking distance by getting out of the inning without any further damage.
That turned out to be big as the Jackets came right back to tie the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Christy Jones led off with a single and went to second base on an illegal pitch. Whitney Haller then reached on an error moving Jones to third and after pinch runner Kelly Eppinger stole second base the Yellow Jackets had the tying runs in scoring position with no outs. Yee grounded out driving home one run and then Eppinger scored the tying run when Odegard was called for her sixth illegal pitch of the game.
The Rebels came right back, however, to tie the game in the top of the seventh and this time the Jackets had no answer. It was Hull again coming up with the clutch RBI which proved to the game-winner.
The Jackets did not go quietly in their final at bat. Caroline Hilton pinch hit to begin the inning and drew a walk. Two batters later, it was Shimandle who was at first and two outs following a couple of fielder’s choices but pinch hitter Danielle Dike struck out to end the game.
Adkins (4-1) suffered her first loss of the season as she was charged with two earned runs on seven hits and four walks in the complete-game effort. She fanned five.
The 2009 Cathedral City Classic continues through Sunday, Feb. 22 just outside of Palm Springs in the California desert. Tomorrow, the Yellow Jackets will take on Oregon at 4:00 p.m. ET and Cal Poly at 6:30 p.m. ET. Georgia Tech will conclude the weekend taking on the host Oregon State Beavers Sunday at Noon ET. Live audio and stats of all Georgia Tech games is available free of charge at www.ramblinwreck.com.