May 8, 2003
Georgia Tech junior shortstop Tara Knudsen and sophomore pitcher Jessica Sallinger were selected to the 12-member 2003 All-Atlantic Coast Conference softball team, announced Thursday at the league’s softball awards banquet.
Knudsen earns All-ACC honors for the second consecutive season, while Sallinger is the first Yellow Jacket pitcher to be selected to the all-conference squad.
A native of Thornton, Colo., Knudsen leads the Jackets in 10 offensive categories and is tied for the conference lead with 12 home runs. She also ranks fourth in the league with 36 runs batted in and stands among the ACC’s top-10 in runs, doubles, total bases and walks, as well as on-base and slugging percentage. Knudsen has also climbed Tech’s career charts this season and now stands second in homers (33), third in RBI (99) and tied for fourth in doubles (30). Her career home run total also ranks third in ACC history.
The 2002 ACC Rookie of the Year and MVP of last year’s conference tournament, Sallinger (20-13) won 20 games and posted at least 300 strikeouts for the second consecutive season. She currently ranks sixth in the country with 10.0 strikeouts per seven innings and leads the ACC in strikeouts (303), opponent batting average (.134), complete games (27) and innings pitched (211.1). Additionally, she stands third in wins and tied for second in shutouts. Sallinger, who owns a 1.13 earned run average, has tossed eight one-hitters and owns 13 double-digit strikeout games this season. The Marietta, Ga., native fanned 17 batters against both Maryland and Oakland, equaling her own school record. Sallinger owns Tech career records in wins (48), strikeouts (640), complete games (59) and ERA (1.15). Her strikeout total already ranks sixth in conference history.
Knudsen and Sallinger give the Jackets a pair of all-conference performers in back-to-back years for the first time since 1996-97. Knudsen and senior catcher Lindsay Wood were named to last year’s All-ACC squad.
Florida State led this year’s selections with five players on the all-conference team. Tech, North Carolina and Virginia each had two players on the team, while Maryland added one. Florida State’s Jessica van der Linden earned Player of the Year honors, while North Carolina’s Crystal Cox was named Rookie of the Year. The Seminoles’ JoAnne Graf was tabbed Coach of the Year.
The defending tournament champions, No. 3 seed Tech (35-21, 3-4 ACC) opens the 2003 ACC Softball Championship against second-seeded North Carolina (39-18-1, 4-3 ACC) at 5 p.m. Friday at the Seminole Softball Complex.