Feb. 28, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ga. – Sophomore Kelsi Weseman had a two-run double in the top of the eighth inning and freshman Hope Rush pitched out of a bases loaded and no out jam to lead the No. 11/8 Georgia Tech Softball team (13-2) to a 9-8 win over Iowa (7-7) Sunday morning in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Yellow Jackets overcame a 5-0 deficit at one point in the game which featured six ties and lead changes.
Freshman Caitlin Jordan led the offensive attack going 3-for-3 with a walk and a RBI, while sophomore Kate Kuzma was 2-for-4 and hit her third home run of the season. Junior Kristen Adkins also had a pair of hits for the Jackets. Redshirt senior Jen Yee was 1-for-3 with two walks and a two-run home run which she hit to put Tech up 7-6 in the seventh inning. The home run for Yee was her fifth of the weekend, 10th of the season and extended her hitting streak to 15 straight games.
Rush (7-2) got the win as she went the distance and worked out of several late-inning jams with the game on the line. She was charged with eight runs (only two earned) on 15 hits and two walks. Eight of Iowa’s 15 hits were bunt singles. Georgia Tech overcame six errors in the game as it erased a 5-0 deficit to win for the second time this season.
Iowa led 5-0 after three innings as four Tech errors and a slew of bunt singles opened the floodgates. The Jackets began to chip away in the top of the fourth inning and knocked Hawkeye starting pitcher Chelsea Lyon from the game after she allowed three runs in the frame. After back-to-back walks to Yee and Rush beginning the inning, a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with no outs. A sacrifice fly by junior Kristine Priebe put Tech on the scoreboard and then a successful suicide squeeze by Kuzma made it a 5-2 game. Jordan added a RBI single later in the inning, but Iowa relief pitcher Amanda Zust got Weseman to ground out with the bases loaded and two outs ending the inning.
The score remained 5-3 Iowa until the Jackets scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game for the first time. Kuzma led off with a solo home run, her second in as many days and third of the season, while Adkins scored later in the inning on an error. Tech had two on with one out looking for its first lead of the game, but a double-play ended the threat.
The lead for the Jackets was short-lived as Iowa came right back to re-take the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single by Katie Brown. Zust came back out for her second full inning of work trying to close out the Yellow Jackets in the seventh but hit Weseman on the first pitch of the inning. Yee then served a 0-1 pitch over the fence in left field giving the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the game at 7-6 on the opposite field home run. Singles by Rush and Priebe gave Tech two on with no outs against Lyon, who re-entered the game after the Yee round-tripper, but it was unable to score any more.
That squander would hurt as the Hawkeyes came right back to re-tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a leadoff error and sacrifice bunt, another infield single gave Iowa runners at the corners and just one out. Johnnie Dowling then hit a grounder to shortstop, but Weseman’s throw home trying to nab the tying run was late and Iowa tied the game. The Hawkeyes eventually had the bases loaded and two outs, but Rush got a ground ball to end the inning.
With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, the Jackets began the inning with sophomore Jessica Sinclair at second base. After a walk by Jordan and ground out to the right side by junior Jessica Weaver, the Jackets had runners on second and third with just one out and the top of the order coming up. Weseman came up and delivered the clutch hit for the Yellow Jackets as she laced a double off the fence in left field driving in two runs and putting Tech up 9-7.
Iowa did not go quietly. Very quickly, a single and the Jackets’ sixth error of the game made it a 9-8 score and put the tying run on. Stephanie Ochoa doubled to make it second and third with no outs and after Rush hit Kim Watkins on the first pitch of the at bat, Iowa had the bases loaded and no outs. That would be it for Iowa, however, as Rush got the next two batters to pop up on the infield and ground out forcing a runner at the plate. With two outs now, Rush fell behind Dowling 3-0. She worked back to a full count and eventually got Dowling to roll out to Yee at second base ending the game.
The Yellow Jackets will now host the 2010 Buzz Classic, March 5-7, at the Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Woodstock. Ga. Georgia Tech will face Seton Hall (Friday at 6 p.m.), James Madison (Saturday at 1:00 p.m.), Kentucky (Saturday at 4 p.m.), Dartmouth (Sunday at 11 a.m.) and Mississippi (Sunday at 1 p.m.). Live audio and stats for every Georgia Tech game is available at www.RamblinWreck.com.