April 2, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Freshman Alysha Rudnik hit three home runs as the No. 25/24 Georgia Tech softball team (30-6, 5-0 ACC) swept Maryland (22-11, 2-2) 5-2 and 4-3 on a frigid Saturday at Taylor Stadium. The Yellow Jackets have now won 19 straight ACC series which is a conference record.
In game one, the Yellow Jackets survived two different rain delays adding up to over two and a half hours en route to a 5-2 win and snapped Maryland’s 13-game winning streak in the process. Rudnik hit two home runs and had four RBI and senior Kristen Adkins (15-3) pitched the complete game. She gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits. She walked four and struck out six.
In game two, the Yellow Jackets had a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Maryland loaded the bases with no outs against Adkins, who was in her third inning of relief. Adkins struck the first batter out and then got a couple of ground balls to escape and secure the win. With two outs and the bases loaded, Adkins got a ground ball up the middle. Freshman second baseman Ashley Thomas knocked it down and it rolled to junior shortstop Kelsi Weseman standing on the second base bag for the final out of the game.
Adkins was credited with her fifth save of the season as she allowed three hits and one walk in three innings of work. She had three strikeouts. Sophomore Hope Rush (11-3) started and gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits. She walked five and fanned four.
After a nearly 70-minute rain delay, game one began and the Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Junior Kelsi Weseman led off the inning with a walk and scored later on the eighth illegal pitch by Maryland pitcher Kerry Hickey.
With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, another thunderstorm moved in and play was called. The second rain delay lasted nearly 90 minutes and when play resumed after 4:00 p.m., Adkins quickly got out of the inning and stranded a Terp on first base. When Tech came up for its at bat in the top of the third inning, it was against new Maryland pitcher Kendra Knight as Hickey was lifted after being called for 12 illegal pitches.
The Terps came back to tie the game in the bottom of the third inning on a two-out walk, stolen base and infield single. Adkins was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
The Yellow Jackets came right back in the top of the fourth inning to re-take the lead. After Weseman was hit by a pitch and senior Kristine Priebe walked, freshman Alysha Rudnik hit a towering three-run home run to right field, her ninth of the season, to put the Jackets up 4-1.
Maryland scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Rudnik got the run right back for the Yellow Jackets as she led off the fifth inning with her second home run of the game and 10th of the season. Adkins made that lead stand up as Tech went on to the 5-2 win.
Hickey got the start again for the Terps in game two and served up Rudnik’s third home run of the day and 11th of the season in the top of the first inning. The towering solo blast to left-center field put Tech up 1-0.
In the bottom of the first inning, Maryland loaded the bases with one out, but Rush got a strikeout and a soft line drive back to her to get out of the inning and strand the three runners.
In the top of the second inning, junior Jessica Sinclair gave the Yellow Jackets a 3-0 lead when she launched a two-out, two-run home run over the fence in right-center field for her ninth home run of the season.
The Terps got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third inning. Rush was facing runners at second and third with nobody out but got out of the inning just allowing one unearned run on a ground out as the Yellow Jackets took a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning.
After Hickey retied the Yellow Jackets in order for the second time, Maryland’s Nikki Maier came up in the bottom of the frame to hit a two-run home run to dead center field off Rush and tie the game at three apiece.
In the top of the fifth, Georgia Tech re-took the lead at 4-3 but it could have been worse. Tech loaded the bases on an error and two walks and then junior Kate Kuzma dropped down a successful squeeze to give the Jackets the lead back. Hickey came back to strike out Rudnik and then get Weseman to fly out to center to escape a bases loaded jam and just one out.
Adkins entered the game in the fifth inning in relief of Rush and breezed through the fifth and six innings, but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh. A walk and two sharp singles loaded the bases full of Terps with nobody out.
Georgia Tech and Maryland close out its three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. Live audio and stats will be available at RamblinWreck.com.
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