Feb. 25, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. – On day two of the NFCA Leadoff Classic the Georgia Tech softball team fell in two hard fought battles with UMass and Mississippi State dropping to 0-4 on the weekend and losing its fifth-straight game.
Tech (7-7) fell to UMass (5-3) in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel and later to Mississippi State (8-3) in a 5-3 battle.
Kylie Kleinschmidt had an outstanding outing in her first career start going the distance and recording nine strikeouts, a career best and the most of any Georgia Tech pitcher this season. Kleinshmidt had a no hitter going through 6.1 innings, but it was broken up by a single to left. Sarah Plourde recorded the no-hit shutout for UMass, coming two walks shy of a perfect game, while striking out 15.
Rush earned the loss in game two, giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits. Ashley Thomas was 2-for-3 in the game for the Jackets tallying two Tech runs. On the MSU side, Heidi Shape’s 2-for-3 outing had three RBIs.
In game one, a first inning run was all that UMass needed to hang on for the 1-0 victory. Kleinschmidt, in her first career start, had a tough first inning walking two and then hitting a UMass batter with a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch by the rookie allowed Cyndill Matthews to sneak in for the first, and what would be only, run of the game.
Kleinschmidt buckled down after that play, however, and tallied three strikeouts, two with the bases loaded, to end the inning. Kleinschmidt finished the game with a career best nine strikeouts.
Kleinschmidt’s no hit bid was broken up in the sixth inning when Quianna Diaz-Patterson blooped one into left field. Diaz-Patterson was doubled off in the next at bat, however, to end the sixth inning.
Mississippi State was the first to get on the board in game number two. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the first inning and a single up the middle by Shape drove in the first run of the game. Sam Lenahan came halfway down the line and as Caroline Hilton tried to tag her out at third, the ball popped out of her glove and rolled away allowing Lenahan to come across for the second run of the game.
The Jackets ended a MSU threat in the third inning with a very heads up play. With runners on second and third, Chelsie Thomas came home with the throw to get Brittany Gates, who was trying to sneak her way in for the score, Rudnik ran her back and threw to Dike who tagged her out for the second out of the inning. Dike saw Shelby Fisher trying to move up to second and threw over to Thomas who was covering to nab Fisher and get the final out of the inning.
That momentum carried into the bottom of the third where the Jackets tallied their first run of the day. Ashley Thomas reached on a single up the middle, stealing second on the next pitch. She came around to score on a single up the middle by Kate Kuzma to cut the deficit to one run.
Mississippi State added to its lead in the sixth inning as Shape drove in another two runs, bringing her total to three on the day and bringing the Bulldog lead to 4-1. Chelsie Thomas saved a run for Tech knocking down a ball that was slicing away from her and keeping it in the infield. A ball hit right at Hilton ended things in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ashley Thomas reached for the second time with a single up the middle. The speedster immediately stole second and moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kate Kuzma. Rush drove in her fourth run of the season as Thomas came across the plate for the second time on the day on a groundout to short by Rush making the score 4-2 MSU.
Mississippi State got the run back in the top of the seventh with a suicide squeeze laid down by Lenahan to score Ka’ili Smith for the insurance run. Brittany Bell got caught trying to move up to third, which ended the inning.
Johnsky walked to start off the seventh inning, moving up to second after Danielle Dike was hit by a pitch. Johnsky stole third and came home after a throwing error by the MSU second baseman bringing the score to 5-3, where it would stand.
Tech will finish out its time at the NFCA Leadoff Classic with a 12:30 p.m. game against Illinois State on Sunday.
Keep up to date with the Georgia Tech Softball team all season long at www.RamblinWreck.com as well as twitter.com/GaTechSoftball and facebook.com/GTSoftball