April 7, 2010
#10/6 Georgia Tech Continues Homestand Against #15/12 Georgia And Streaking Virginia
The No. 10/6 Georgia Tech Softball team (32-5, 8-1 ACC) continues its season-long, 12-game homestand with four games this week at Mewborn Field. On Wednesday, No. 15/12 Georgia (27-8) makes its first visit to Mewborn Field since it opened for a single game beginning at 7 p.m. The Yellow Jackets have won six of their last eight games against UGA and are 4-0 against the SEC this season.
The homestand continues this weekend when red-hot Virginia comes to town. The Cavaliers are just percentage points behind the Yellow Jackets in the ACC standings. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and then close out the series with a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.
Free live video, audio and stats will be available for all four games this week at www.RamblinWreck.com. In addition, the game against Georgia as well as Game One of Saturday’s doubleheader against UVA will be broadcast on WREK, 91.1 FM.
Saturday will mark the annual “Strikeout For The Cure Day” as we raise money for breast cancer research. Fans can make either flat donations or pledge an amount for every strikeout a Tech pitcher records. 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. There will be a table set up inside the gates of Mewborn Field to make donations.
Tech vs. Georgia
Georgia holds a 16-9 advantage in the all-time series between these two rivals, but Georgia Tech is 4-1 in the last five meetings since head coach Sharon Perkins took over. Perkins, a former UGA assistant coach and associate head coach won her first four games against her former employer.
Georgia Tech has won six of the last eight games in the series despite last season’s 7-5 set-back in Athens on April 9, 2009. The Yellow Jackets trailed 7-1 entering the 7th inning last season but had their rally stalled with the tying run at the plate. Kelsi Weseman was 2-for-4 with a RBI.
This is the Bulldogs’ first-ever visit to Mewborn Field and the first of two games between the two rivals this season. They’ll also meet April 21 in Athens.
Tech vs. Virginia
Virginia leads the all-time series against Georgia Tech, 33-27, but the Yellow Jackets have won six straight games against the Cavaliers. Tech beat UVA, 7-0, in the opening round of the ACC Tournament last year and also swept the regular season series in Charlottesville.
Georgia Tech out-scored Virginia 39-8 in the four games last year and hit .409 as a team. Tech hit eight home runs against the Cavaliers, including two by Kelsi Weseman and Jessica Weaver, and Jessica Coan pitched seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. Kristen Adkins had two wins against UVA, including a four-hitter in the ACC Tournament.
Climbing the Rankings
Georgia Tech debuted at 13th in the preseason NFCA/USA Today top 25 poll and 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason top 25 poll, both school highs.
Currently, the Yellow Jackets are 10th and sixth, respectively. This is the first season the Georgia Tech softball program has been ranked in the top 10.
Dating back to last season, the Yellow Jackets have been ranked in 14 straight NFCA polls and 16 consecutive ESPN.com polls.
Prior to the arrival of head coach Sharon Perkins, the Yellow Jackets had appeared in the NFCA top 25 poll 25 times. If ranked again next week, Tech will have equalled that number in three-plus years under Perkins.
Jackets Looking To Defend ACC Title
Dating back to the 2008 season, Georgia Tech has won 13 straight ACC series. The Yellow Jackets went 17-3 in league play last year en route to the regular season and tournament championships.
Since being swept by NC State April 5-6, 2008, Georgia Tech is 35-6 (.854) in ACC games. Last year, the Yellow Jackets could have easily been undefeated. All three of Tech’s losses in conference play were by one run and each time, the opponent scored in its final at bat.
Tech and Florida State were picked in a tie to win the 2010 ACC crown, although the Yellow Jackets received more first-place votes than the Seminoles. In 2010, Georgia Tech has already taken two out of three games at North Carolina and will have to go to Florida State later this month.
Yee Is An On-Base Machine
You can’t get off to a better start to the season than what redshirt senior second baseman Jen Yee has done thus far. The North Delta, British Columbia native hit safely in her first 19 games of the season and has been on base at least once in every game. There have been only two games all season in which she has had at least one official at bat where she did not record a hit.
Yee leads the ACC in nearly every offensive category and ranks among the top five in the nation as well.
Yee is batting .567 (first in ACC, second nationally) and has a 1.268 slugging percentage (first, first) and a .702 on-base percentage (first, first). She also has 54 runs scored (first, first), 55 hits (first), nine doubles (third), 19 home runs (first, first) and 46 RBI (first, ninth).
Yee, a member of the USA Softball Preseason Player of the Year Watch List, has also drawn 44 walks (17 intentional) and struck out just twice in 97 official at bats.
Yee was not a NFCA All-American in 2009 despite hitting .415 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI.
Despite being at Tech for only two-plus seasons, Yee ranks second all-time in school history in batting average (.408), first in slugging percentage (.781), first in on-base pct. (.616), second in runs scored (186), fourth in home runs (43) and fifth in RBI (139).
Bombs Away In 2010
In Sharon Perkins’ first year of 2007, the Yellow Jackets set a school record with 96 home runs. Through 37 games in 2010, Tech has 74. If the Jackets stay on that pace, they would hit 112 in 56 regular season games and shatter the record.
Georgia Tech has hit multiple home runs in a game 21 times already this year, including five against Hawai’i (Feb. 20) and Arkansas (Feb. 27).
It is not just concentrated on one part of the order either. Seven of the regular starters have at least seven home runs on the season and five of the top 10 players in the ACC don the Yellow Jacket uniform.
Tech’s 74 home runs are 33 more than second place NC State. In fact, with 19 round-trippers Jen Yee has as many or more than four other ACC schools.
Rush Is Big-Game Pitcher
You can’t really ask for a better way to start a career than what Tech freshman Hope Rush did over her first two weeks.
In her first career at bat, Rush hit a two-run home run in the first inning of the season-opener against Canisius Feb. 13 at the Wilson-DeMarini Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.
Later that afternoon, Rush made her first start in the circle and tossed a five-hit shutout of the No. 3 Florida Gators. Rush struck out seven Gators in their first day of action since losing to Washington in the National Championship series a year ago.
For good measure Rush hit a two-run home run against UF All-American pitcher Stephanie Brombacher in the sixth inning of a 1-0 game as well. That turned out to the the first career loss for the junior Brombacher in 43 decisions.
Rush is 7-1 this season against ranked teams and holds shutouts over No. 3 Florida, No. 16 North Carolina and No. 17 Texas A&M. She has a 1.56 ERA in the eight games against ranked foes, including a no-hitter against the Tar Heels.
Priebe En Fuego
After the smooth transition of Florida transfer Kristen Adkins a year ago, its no surprise that its been just as easy for Kristine Priebe.
Priebe, a Moorpark, Calif., native became the second transfer from the Gators to arrive at Tech in as many years and has found her home at first base for the Jackets.
After a slow start, Priebe has been on fire lately and in her last 12 games, she has six home runs and 23 RBI. That is after driving in just nine runs in her first 25 games as a Jacket.
Priebe was named ACC Player of the Week on April 6 after a series against Virginia Tech in which she hit .600 (6-for-10) with three home runs and 12 RBI.
Priebe has thrived since being inserted into the clean-up spot in the order. In 20 games batting clean-up, Priebe is hitting .407 with six home runs, 23 RBI and 14 runs scored.
Priebe has quietly established herself as one of the top hitters in the ACC and enters play this week seventh in the ACC in batting (.343), seventh in slugging (.648), seventh in on-base percentage (.462), eighth in hits (36), tied for fourth in home runs (9), tied for second in RBI (32), sixth in total bases (68) and ninth in walks (18).
ACC Freshman Of Year Back In Form
2009 ACC Freshman of the Year Kelsi Weseman, who broke her arm in the ACC title game a year ago and was forced to miss all of the NCAA Tournament, has returned and quickly found her groove.
The Hutto, Texas, native got off to a slow start this year (by her standards) while regaining her form, but has been tearing the cover off the ball lately since Tech’s Spring Break trip to her home state of Texas.
In her last 13 games, Weseman is batting .436 with six doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI.
For the season, Weseman is hitting .319 with 38 runs scored (second in ACC), 10 doubles (second), eight home runs (seventh), 32 RBI (tied for second), a .629 slugging percentage (eighth) and a .423 on-base percentage.
Rush Leads Deep Pitching Staff
While many associate college softball as being dominated by one pitcher, the 2010 Georgia Tech team truly possesses a complete pitching staff.
The trio of freshman Hope Rush, sophomore Jessica Coan and junior Kristen Adkins have combined for a 1.75 staff ERA and .205 opponent’s batting average.
Rush has made 20 starts and is 18-3 with a 1.27 ERA. She ranks first in the ACC in wins and fourth in ERA. Rush has six shutouts to her credit and 114 strikeouts in 138.0 innings.
Coan is 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts. She is the power pitcher of the group and averaging over 1.5 strikeouts per inning. She has fanned 78 batters in 51.1 innings and ranks fourth in the ACC holding opponents to a .172 average.
Adkins, the 2009 ACC Tournament MVP, is 6-1 and her 2.30 ERA is ninth-lowest in the ACC. Adkins and Coan have combined for four shutouts giving Tech 10 as a team.