March 29, 2011
#25/24 Georgia Tech Hits The Road For Games At Georgia and Maryland
The No. 25/24 Georgia Tech softball team (28-5, 3-0 ACC), back in the polls for the first time in a month, hits the road for four games this week. The Yellow Jackets will open the week with a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night game at No. 2/2 Georgia (27-4) before heading to Maryland (22-9, 2-0 ACC) this weekend.
The Yellow Jackets and Terrapins are the only two undefeated teams left in the ACC and will play a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. and then conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m. Maryland is receiving votes in both polls this week.
Live audio and stats for all four games this week will be available at RamblinWreck.com.
Tech has won 21 of 22 games now and is 15th in the official NCAA RPI.
Tech vs. Georgia
Georgia holds an 18-9 advantage in the all-time series between these two rivals, but Georgia Tech is 4-3 in the last seven meetings since head coach Sharon Perkins took over. Perkins, a former UGA assistant coach and associate head coach won her first four games against her former employer.
Georgia Tech has won six of the last 10 games in the series despite dropping both games to the Bulldogs a year ago.
Tech and UGA will meet again April 13 at Mewborn Field (7 p.m.).
Tech vs. Maryland
Georgia Tech is 30-16 all-time against Maryland and has won the last 14 in a row in the series.
Back in the Rankings
Georgia Tech is back in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 polls this week after falling in the “also receiving votes” category for nearly a month.
Tech opened the season ranked 18th and 17th, respectively, but a losing streak in late February dropped the Jackets out of the poll for the first time in two years.
Prior to the arrival of head coach Sharon Perkins, the Yellow Jackets had appeared in the NFCA top 25 poll 25 times. Tech surpassed that in her fourth year in Atlanta.
In the first RPI released March 24 by the NCAA, Tech came in at 15th. Georgia Tech is one of five school nationally with a baseball and softball team ranked in the top 15 joining Florida, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Texas.
Jackets Continue Streak Of ACC Series Wins
Dating back to the 2008 season, Georgia Tech has won 18 straight ACC series which is now an ACC record. Virginia Tech held the previous mark having won 15 straight from 2006 to 2008.
Since being swept by NC State April 5-6, 2008, Georgia Tech is 49-7 (.875) in ACC games. During its streak, Virginia Tech went 34-10 (.773).
The Yellow Jackets have won the ACC regular season and tournament titles in each of the past two seasons and were picked as unanimous favorites to win in 2011 by the league’s coaches.
The 2011 ACC Tournament will be held May 13-15 at Mewborn Field. Its the first time Georgia Tech has hosted the softball championship.
No Yee…No Problem
Every time head coach Sharon Perkins was asked in the offseason how you replace the bat of Jen Yee she said you can’t do it with one bat, everyone has to contribute. Well, in 2011 it has been a team effort.
Georgia Tech is hitting .343 as a team through 33 games and eight of the nine regular starters are batting at least .315. Tech ranks first in the ACC and 13th nationally in batting average and leads the conference in every offensive category except doubles (third).
Tech is averaging 6.6 runs a game this season and its .633 slugging percentage is fourth in the nation.
Bombs Away In `11
After hitting a school record 118 home runs in 2010, Georgia Tech is right on that pace again in 2011 despite losing All-American Jen Yee and her 29 round-trippers.
Tech is first in the nation with 62 home runs thus far in 2011 and has nearly doubled the next closest team in the ACC.
Six of the top 10 home run hitters in the ACC don the Gold and White led by sophomore Hope Rush’s 12. Junior Kelsi Weseman and senior Kristine Priebe have 10 apiece while junior Shannon Bear (9), freshman Alysha Rudnik (8) and junior Jessica Sinclair (8) round out the top six.
Rush is 10th in the nation in homers while Weseman and Priebe are tied for 24th.
Perkins Picks Up 200
With a 1-0 win over Georgia State on March 13, Georgia Tech head coach Sharon Perkins won her 200th career game. Perkins is now 211-78 (.730) in her fifth season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets.
Perkins has led Tech to the ACC regular season and tournament titles in each of the last two seasons en route to league Coach of the Year honors both times. She has the most wins of any ACC coach since taking over in 2007.
Adkins Back In Form
Senior Kristen Adkins has regained her form as ace of the Tech pitching staff, just over a year removed from her run to ACC Tournament MVP honors in 2009.
Adkins, who transferred to Tech for the start of the 2009 season, is currently 14-2 with a 0.78 ERA. She ranks fourth in the nation in ERA and 21st in wins and has 88 strikeouts this season which is already 33 more than she had all of last season.
Adkins, who also sits fifth in the nation with four saves, has four shutouts to her credit and is holding opponents to a .198 batting average.
The McKinney, Texas native recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts in a shutout of Georgia State on March 1. Coincidentally, that is the win that sent Georgia Tech on its recent run that has seen the Jackets win 21 of 22 games.
Adkins enjoyed a stretch this season of 31.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
Rush Is A Dual Threat
With the emergence of Adkins, sophomore Hope Rush has thrown less innings in the circle and the numbers are reflecting that, especially on the offensive side.
Rush, who was a third-team All-American a year ago and the 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year, is 10-3 in the circle with a 1.71 ERA. She ranks fourth in the league in wins and ERA as well as ninth in opponent’s batting average (.214).
Offensively, Rush is batting .398 (sixth in ACC) with 12 home runs (first, 10th in nation), 37 RBI (first, 30th) and a 1.345 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). She is fourth in the ACC and 29th nationally in slugging (.855) as well as fourth in the league in on-base percentage (.490).
From Walk-On To All-American?
While its still early to call junior Shannon Bear an All-American candidate, the story is quite remarkable. A walk-on with just a handful of at bats in her first two seasons, the Grayson, Ga., native has burst onto the scene and is a candidate for ACC Player of the Year.
Bear is currently batting .402 (second in ACC) with an .878 slugging percentage (third, 24th in nation), .480 on-base percentage (fifth), 26 runs scored (sixth), 29 RBI (fifth, 89th), eight doubles (tied for fifth) and nine home runs (fifth, 40th).
Bear is currently batting third in the lineup and playing mostly in left field with a start or two at second base.
Speed At The Top, Speed At the Bottom
Jones, who is also batting .359, is 26-for-27 this season and her 88 career thefts is good for fourth all-time at Georgia Tech.
Thomas, meanwhile, is 12-for-12 at the bottom of the lineup and has raised her average more than 100 points to .250 in the last couple of weeks.
The Versatile No. 2
With as much power as there in in the middle of Georgia Tech’s lineup, it puts a lot of pressure on the top of the order to get on base. With Jones batting close to .400 for most of the season, junior Kate Kuzma is asked to do a number of different things behind her and has excelled.
If asked to bunt, Kuzma can do that. She is first in the ACC and 18th nationally with 10 sacrifices. Need to take a pitch or two…no problem. Kuzma is hitting over .300 with two strikes and has been able to let Jones steal second and even third base, on some occasions.
She also has the ability to hit away. Kuzma is hitting .337 and moves runners along at a .481 clip. The Sharpsburg, Ga., native has seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI. It was her three-run home run that started an eight-run fifth inning March 26 against NC State helping the Jackets erase a fourth inning deficit.
Priebe, Weseman Pick Up Where They Left Off
Weseman is currently batting .419 (second in ACC, 76th nationally) with a .919 slugging percentage (second, 19th), .550 on-base percentage (first, 24th), 31 runs scored (first, 73rd), 36 hits (tied for sixth), 32 RBI (third, 86th), nine doubles (tied for first), 10 home runs (tied for third, tied for 24th), 79 total bases (tied for first), 16 walks (fifth) and nine hit by pitches (tied for second, 34th).
Priebe, meanwhile, is batting .380 (10th) with an .826 slugging percentage (fifth, 36th), .459 on-base percentage (ninth), 27 runs (tied for fourth), 35 hits (10th), 36 RBI (second, 45th), three triples (tied for second), 10 home runs (tied for third, tied for 24th), and 76 total bases (third).
Sinclair Working Way Back
After missing all of the 2010 postseason with a torn ACL suffered in practice, junior Jessica Sinclair has been slowly working her way back into game form.
The Marietta, Ga., native has found her power stroke as she has a career-high eight home runs already (tied for sixth in ACC, tied for 54th nationally) and is also batting a career-best .315 while patrolling right field for the Yellow Jackets.
Priebe A Finalist For The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
Senior Kristine Priebe was named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award on March 28. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website or on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through May 10. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner.