Feb. 19, 2011
MIAMI, Fla. – The No. 17 Georgia Tech Softball team (7-2) split a pair of games Saturday at Florida International’s Blue and Gold Felsberg Memorial Tournament. After shutting out Providence (0-3) in the first game, 7-0, Pitt (3-0) rallied for a 2-1 win with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Adkins improved to 3-1 on the season as she allowed four hits to go along with four walks and a strikeout for her first complete-game shutout of the season against the Friars. Junior Kelsi Weseman led the way offensively with a two-run double and a two-run home run.
Game two saw Tech hold a 1-0 lead until Pitt rallied for two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was the Panthers’ third straight walk-off win to begin the season. The first two Panthers reached base and then senior Christy Jones saved the game initially. On a 3-2 pitch, Reba Tutt hit a sinking liner into left-center field, but Jones made a diving catch for the first out of the inning. Had the ball gotten by Jones, two runs would have likely scored.
After a ground out moved both runners up a base, Ruch got Holly Stevens to hit a ground ball to shortstop. Junior Kelsi Weseman booted the ball and it bounced right to freshman Ashley Thomas on top of the second base bag, but Thomas’ throw went into the Yellow Jacket dugout and the two errors resulted in a pair of Pitt runs and was the ball game.
Rush (3-1) took the loss as she allowed two runs, both unearned, on four hits in 6.2 innings of work. She walked five and struck out five. Tech out-hit Pitt 8-4 in the game but left eight runners on.
In game one against Providence, the Yellow Jackets got on the board first with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, junior Shannon Bear started it with a walk and took third base on a single to right-center field off the bat of junior Kate Kuzma. An error by Providence second baseman Kaitlyn Duvall on a grounder by senior Jessica Weaver resulted in Tech’s first run.
Later in the inning, sophomore Hope Rush drew a bases loaded walk making it 2-0 and then junior Kelsi Weseman made it a 4-0 game with a two-run double off the wall in right field. Senior Christy Jones tried to score as well, but was thrown out at the plate.
Providence made a couple of bids to start chipping away as the Friars had two on with two outs in the third and fourth innings, but Adkins was able to escape trouble. In the bottom of the inning, Weseman struck again with a two-run home run over the fence in right-center field giving the Jackets a 6-0 advantage. For Weseman, it was her team-high third round-tripper of the year.
Tech looked for more in the inning putting two on with two outs but Providence brought Corrinne Rubright in from the bullpen and she struck out redshirt junior Caroline Hilton to end the threat.
With one out in the fifth inning, Providence pinch hitter Ava Pandiani came in and lined the first pitch she saw from Adkins into the gap in left-center field for the Friars’ first hit of the game. Adkins came back to retire the next two batters and kept the 6-0 lead.
The Jackets added another run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a RBI single by Weaver. Tech had a golden chance to end the game early with the bases loaded and one out, but it was unable to capitalize.
Providence had its chances throughout the game. After Adkins stranded two runners on base in the third and fourth innings, the Friars loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth. Adkins, however, was able to escape again with a ground ball as the Friars had left eight runners on base.
In the seventh, Adkins retired the side in order to preserve her first complete-game shutout.
Game two saw the Jackets get a runner on second base with no outs in each of the first two innings only to see Pitt pitcher Cory Berliner wiggle out of the jam.
In the third inning, Kuzma led off with a double to the wall in right field and this time, the Jackets did not strand her. Two batters later, she scored from third base on a squeeze bunt by Weseman. It was the second successful squeeze for Tech this season in as many opportunities.
Both teams struggled offensively as the pitcher’s dual continued into the middle innings between Rush and Berliner. Pitt had its big chance with two on and two out in the bottom of the fourth but Rush struck out Ciera Damon to end the threat. A two-out single by Nikki Cognigni was Pitt’s first hit of the game and then Rush walked a batter to put two on.
Tech then accomplished the same thing in the top of the fifth inning. After a two-out double by Weseman and a walk to Priebe, Berliner came back to get Rudnik on a ground out and get out of her own two-on and two-out jam.
Hits by Rush and Hilton put two on with one out in the sixth inning, but Pitt made a pitching change and Kaylyn Jones came in to strike out junior Jessica Sinclair and Kuzma ending the threat and keeping it just a 1-0 lead for the Yellow Jackets.
In the bottom of the sixth, Pitt got two straight singles to put two on with one out but this time it was Rush’s turn to work some magic. She induced a foul out to Dike at third base and a grounder to freshman at Ashley Thomas and got out of another jam.
After Jones retired the Yellow Jackets quickly in order in the top of the seventh inning, Rush came back out in the bottom half of the frame looking to close out Tech’s second shutout of the day, but Pitt had other plans and rallied for its third straight walk-off win to begin the season.
The FIU Blue and Gold Felsberg Memorial Tournament concludes on Sunday against Florida International again at 1 p.m. Live audio and stats for each game is available at RamblinWreck.com.
Follow Georgia Tech Softball all season at twitter.com/GaTechSoftball and on Facebook for the most complete information.