May 9, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. The No. 21/15 Georgia Tech softball team (42-13) scored 14 unanswered runs to come back and beat Virginia Tech (28-28), 14-4, and advance to the championship game of the ACC Softball Tournament Sunday at 1 p.m. against No. 16/22 Florida State (43-13).
The Yellow Jackets trailed 4-0 after the first inning, but scored eight times in the fourth to take the lead for good and then added six more in the seventh to blow open the game. Freshman pitcher Jessica Coan (6-3) picked up the win in relief for Tech as she pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless relief. Coan gave up just three hits, while walking one and striking out one. The big hit in the eight-run, fourth inning was a bases-clearing double off the bat of freshman pinch hitter Danielle Dike.
Georgia Tech broke ACC Tournament records for most runs in a game (14), most runs in an inning (8) and most RBI (13). Freshman Kelsi Weseman went 2-for-3 for Tech with two runs scored, two walks and a three-run home run. Senior Blair Shimandle went 2-for-4 with two runs scored but saw her errorless game streak snapped at 144. Redshirt junior Jen Yee added a three-run double as well for the Yellow Jackets as they out-hit the Hokies 11-4.
This is the sixth time Georgia Tech has advanced to the ACC Championship game and it is 2-3 in those games. The last time the Jackets were in the title game was 2007, a 2-0 loss to Virginia Tech. Tech’s last tournament title was in 2005, also the last time it was the regular season champion as it is this year.
Senior Tiffany Johnson got the start for the Yellow Jackets, but did not last long. After two walks, a sacrifice and an error the Hokies had the bases loaded and just one out. Beth Walker, who had three of Virginia Tech’s four hits on the afternoon, promptly hit the first Johnson pitch she saw over the fence in center field for a grand slam. With the Hokies up 4-0, Coan came and in and slammed the door for the rest of the game setting up the Jackets’ late-inning offensive explosion.
The score remained 4-0 until the Jackets batted for the second time against Virginia Tech starter Kenzie Roark. Back-to-back singles by Weseman and senior Whitney Haller followed by an error resulted in the bases loaded and nobody out. Sophomore Kristen Adkins cut Tech’s deficit in half with a two-run single to left field and then a RBI single by sophomore Jessica Weaver made it a 4-3 game.
Sophomore pinch hitter Caroline Hilton was hit by a pitch to load the bases and then Dike’s bases-clearing double gave the Jackets the lead for good at 6-4. Still with nobody out, Roark was relieved by Abbie Rexrode but the Yellow jackets were not done scoring. Shimandle added a RBI single making it 7-4 and then she scored the eighth run of the inning when Haller reached on a three-base error.
The score remained 8-4 until the seventh inning thanks in large part of Coan’s pitching. The freshman shut down the Hokies and retired 24 of the 25 batters she faced and picked up her sixth win of the season.
The Yellow Jackets blew the game wide open in the top of the seventh inning with six runs, all after there were two outs. Yee had a three-run double that missed being a grand slam by inches, while Weseman added a three-run home run to left field. The opposite field blast was her ninth of the season and second in as many days at the ACC Tournament.
The 2009 ACC Championship game is set for Sunday, May 10, at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on the Regional Sports Networks (CSN Mid-Atlantic, SunSports and FSN South in select areas). In the Atlanta area, the game can be seen on FSN South on tape delay in its entirety at 4 p.m. It will also be replayed on the New England Sports Network (NESN) at 5:30 p.m.