March 20, 2010
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 12/9 Georgia Tech Softball team (23-4, 1-1 ACC) hit six home runs, including two grand slams, as it opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with a doubleheader split against No. 20/16 North Carolina (20-7, 3-2) Saturday afternoon at Anderson Stadium. The Yellow Jackets won game one 16-1 in five innings, but UNC rebounded to win the night cap, 8-3.
Freshman Hope Rush went 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI. She pitched game one and allowed one run on five hits as she improved to 11-3 on the season. Rush walked two and struck out three. Junior Kristine Priebe was also 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI, but saw her seven game hitting streak snapped in the second game. She and freshman Caitlin Jordan hit Tech’s grand slams in game one. Redshirt senior Jen Yee and sophomore Kate Kuzma also had home runs for the Yellow Jackets.
North Carolina had the first scoring chance of game one. After an error, stolen base and a sacrifice the Tar Heels had a runner at third base and just one out on the bottom of the first inning. Rush came back to strike out Danielle Spaulding and Brittany McKinney to get out of the jam and the Tech bats took over from there.
Priebe led off the second inning with a single down the right-field line extending her hitting streak to seven games. She later scored when Rush ripped a two-run home run over the fence in right field for her 10th round-tripper of the season.
In the third inning, two Tar Heel errors and an intentional walk to Yee set the stage for Priebe’s grand slam which put the Jackets up 6-0. It was a line drive home run for Priebe that was just high enough to go over the fence.
Tech added four more runs in the fourth inning and six in the fifth to run away with the win. Kuzma had a two-run home run in the fourth, while Priebe and Jordan added RBI hits. The big blow in the fifth was a grand slam off the bat of Jordan. Yee and Rush had run scoring singles as well for the Yellow Jackets.
Amber Johnson (12-5) took the loss for the Tar Heels as she was charged with eight runs (six earned) on six hits and two walks. She struck out two batters as well in the three-plus innings of work. Game two was a different story for Johnson as she bounced back to record the win while limiting the Yellow Jackets to three runs on four hits and a walk in the complete-game effort. Johnson fanned nine batters.
Georgia Tech looked like it was going to pick right up where it left off in game two as it put two on with just one out in the top of the first inning. Despite a walk and an error, Johnson got Priebe to pop up and then struck out Rush to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Tar Heels scored four runs off Tech sophomore Jessica Coan and that was enough for Johnson the rest of the way. Danielle Spaulding had a RBI single, but it was a three-run home run off the bat of Ally Blake which gave UNC some momentum and a 4-0 lead. The Tar Heels added solo runs in the second and third innings to take a 6-0 lead after three as junior Kristen Adkins came into the game in relief on Coan.
Coan (7-0) suffered her first loss of the season as she was charged with six runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk in two-plus innings of work. She walked one and struck out one. Adkins pitched the final four innings and allowed two runs on two hits and five walks. She had two strikeouts as well.
Johnson did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when Yee led off with a single. Later in the inning, Rush’s second two-run home run of the game got Tech on the scoreboard, 6-2.
In the sixth inning, a Yee solo home run made it a 6-3 game. Later in the inning, Priebe was hit by a pitch and then Jordan singled bringing up the tying run but Johnson got sophomore Jessica Sinclair to pop up and end the threat.
UNC added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the game away and even the series at a game apiece.
Georgia Tech and North Carolina will conclude their three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. Live audio and stats is available at www.RamblinWreck.com.