April 25, 2009
ATLANTA – A bases-loaded, RBI single by sophomore Caroline Hilton in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the No. 20 Georgia Tech softball team (37-13, 14-3 ACC) a 3-2 win over No. 12 North Carolina (44-9, 15-4) and helped to complete the doubleheader sweep Saturday afternoon at Mewborn Field.
With the win, the Yellow Jackets move into first place by percentage points in the ACC and clinched their sixth straight series win this year. In game one, they scored six runs off UNC ace Danielle Spaulding, including two-run home runs by Kristen Adkins and Whitney Haller to snap the Tar Heels’ 23-game winning streak which was the longest in the nation and win 6-0. Spaulding, who came into the game with a 19-2 record and a 0.88 ERA, tied a season-high by allowing the six runs and did not get out of the fifth inning. She entered today with the seventh-best ERA in the nation and leads the country in strikeouts.
Sophomore Kristen Adkins (19-7) pitched a five-hit shutout in game one, while senior Tiffany Johnson (13-3) earned the win in game two. Freshman Kelsi Weseman led the offense going 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBI. Adkins, Haller and redshirt junior Jen Yee also went deep for the Yellow Jackets. Yee walked four times in game one.
Game one was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel between Georgia Tech sophomore Kristen Adkins and UNC ace Danielle Spaulding. The Tar Heels had the best chance to score in the top of the fourth inning with runners at second and third with one out after a pair of singles and a passed ball, but Adkins got a come-backer and then a strikeout to escape without any damage.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Tech freshman Kelsi Weseman singled off the glove of Spaulding giving Tech its first hit of the game. It was also the first hit for the Yellow Jackets in nine-plus innings after getting no-hit by Alabama earlier this week.
With two outs in the fourth inning and Weseman still at first base, Adkins helped herself as she unloaded on a 1-1 Spaulding pitch and hit it over the scoreboard in left-center field for a two-run home run. It was her eighth round-tripper of the season and put the Yellow Jackets on top by a 2-0 score.
The Yellow Jackets broke the game wide open with four runs, all after there were two outs in the fifth inning. Redshirt junior Jen Yee got it going with a walk, her third in as many at bats, and then went to third base when senior Blair Shimandle singled into right-center field. With runners at second and third, Weseman made it a 4-0 game when she ripped a single up the middle and then on the next pitch, senior Whitney Haller crushed a two-run home run over the scoreboard in left-center field to give Adkins and the Yellow Jackets a 6-0 lead. It was Haller’s 11th home run of the season moving her into a tie for the team lead with senior Tiffany Johnson. The Haller blast also knocked Spaulding out of the game. Constance Orr came in and gave up a double to senior Tiffany Johnson, but got Adkins out to end the inning.
Spaulding (19-3) took the loss as she gave up six earned runs on five hits. She walked three and struck out eight.
Adkins, meanwhile, improved to 19-7 with the win and hurled her fifth solo shutout of the season. Adkins scattered five hits, walked two and fanned four.
North Carolina struck first in game two with a run in the top of the first inning against Tech senior starter Tiffany Johnson. With runners at first and third and one out, Brittany McKinney reached on a fielder’s choice allowing Christine Knauer, who led off with a single, to score the game’s first run.
It remained a 1-0 game until the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Yee hit an opposite field solo home run to tie the game. It was her ninth home run of the season and first hit of the game for Georgia Tech against UNC pitcher Lisa Norris.
Georgia Tech took its first lead of game two in the bottom of the fourth inning when Weseman took Norris deep leading off the inning. She pulled a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right-center field for her seventh home run of the season. Later in the inning, Adkins walked and went to third base on a single to right-center by Weaver, but Norris got out of the jam.
That turned out to be a big out for Tar Heels as UNC’s Brittany Robinson tied the game in the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run off Johnson that just snuck inside the left-field foul pole.
UNC had a chance to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning as it loaded the bases with two outs, but Johnson got Anna Roberts to ground out ending the inning. Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning the Jackets loaded the bases with two outs but Norris was able to get Yee to foul out to left field and leave the runners on.
Both teams were retired in order during the seventh as the game moved to extra innings still tied at two. In the top of the eighth inning, Spaulding led off with a single, but Johnson got the next three outs. Tech sophomore catcher Jessica Weaver made the big play in the inning when she dove and caught a foul bunt for the first out.
The Yellow Jackets carried that momentum into the bottom of the inning and it resulted in Hilton’s walk-off hit. Johnson led off the inning with a single. Adkins followed with a bunt, but when no one was covering first base, she was able to reach safely. Johnson never hesitated around second base and was able to make it to third. After Weaver was intentionally walked loading the bases with nobody out, Hilton dropped a single into shallow center field for her first career walk-off hit.
Johnson (13-3) got the win as she allowed two earned runs on five hits. She walked three and struck out six. Norris fell to 22-5 on the season she was charged with three earned runs on eight hits. She walked three and fanned three.
No. 20 Georgia Tech and No. 13 North Carolina conclude its three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Select, while live audio and stats are available at www.ramblinwreck.com.