No. 3 seed Tech Opens NCAA Regional Against No. 6 seed UMass

May 19, 2004

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ATLANTA – No. 24 Georgia Tech will open the NCAA Softball Tournament against No. 6 seed Massachusetts on Thursday, May 20, at 10 a.m., at the UGA Softball Stadium in Athens, Ga. The winner of Tech and UMass will face the winner of No. 2 seed Georgia (host) and Eastern Kentucky on Friday at 12:30 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets faced No. 10 Georgia (51-15) on March 31 in Atlanta, falling to the Bulldogs, 4-1. The Rambling Wreck also took on Eastern Kentucky (42-15) during the regular season, downing the Colonels, 2-0, in Panthersville at the Lady Panther Invitational on Feb. 21.

Live stats for all Tech games will be provided at www.ramblinwreck.com.

Athens Regional schedule for Thursday
No. 3 Georgia Tech vs. No. 6 Massachusetts, 10 a.m.
No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 7 Eastern Kentucky, 12:30 p.m.
No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 5 Texas A&M, 3 p.m.
No. 1 Washington vs. No. 8 Chattanooga, 5:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
HEAD COACH Ehren Earleywine
On being a three seed in the Athens Regional
“First of all, this has to be, if not the toughest, one of the toughest regional pairings in the NCAA Tournament right now. Being the three seed is huge honor with the company we are in with. We feel like any team in this regional can beat you, whether you’re the three seed or the eighth seed. Every single game is going to be a tremendous battle.”

On making the ACC Championship game and carrying the momentum over to the NCAA Tournament
“I hope so. We played very well at Florida State, but we made a couple of mistakes that cost a ballgame or two. But, overall the morale is good, we’re healthy, thank God, because we only have 13 players. We’re swinging the bat well, pitching good and playing decent defense. If we continue that momentum, we should be OK.”

On having a roster of 13
“We lost two in the preseason. Both of them decided that they wanted to focus on their academics, so that brought is down to 13. Three of those are pitchers, so every time I look over to the bench, I only have one sub. We’ve stayed healthy, we’ve had some nicks and bruises, but we’ve had no major injuries and that was a big thing this year. Because if somebody got hurt, we didn’t know what we were going to do, but knock on wood, we haven’t had any serious injuries.”

On the first round opponent
“I know they’re good and capable of beating us. They are the team that knocked us out the tournament last year and they have beaten some good teams this year. They’ve been to the regional tournament for 10 straight years, so we have nothing but respect for UMass.”

SENIOR SHORTSTOP Tara Knudsen
On making the NCAA Tournament and the team’s expectations

“It’s really exiting to get back. It was one of our goals coming into the season. Right now we’re focused on UMass, it’s kind of a revenge game because they knocked us out the tournament last year. We’re two teams that are equally matched, so I think it will be a good game.”

On the 13-player roster
“It’s been tough. We’ve played through our nicks and bruises and a lot of people on our team have shown a ton of toughness throughout the season.”

On possible advancing to the World Series
“We’re going to take it one game at a time. There’s a lot of tough teams in this regional and we’re not going to overlook anybody. You have to concentrate on the upcoming game and play with intensity on every pitch.”

On being the offensive leader and the pressure that comes with it
“I wanted to finish up my career strong. If my numbers our good, that means I’m helping out the team and that’s what my goal was coming into my senior season.”

On the team’s thoughts of playing in Georgia for the NCAA Regional
“I guess we have mixed feelings. We kind of wanted to go somewhere other than Georgia, but this is where we got sent, so we just roll with it and there’s nothing we can do with it.”

What will it take for Georgia Tech to advance to the World Series
“I think our defense has to be close to perfect. We’re not an overpowering team. We cannot give up more than three runs, because we don’t score a lot of runs. I think our defense is going to be a key point and we need a few more hot bats if we’re going to advance in the regional.”

Athens Regional Bracket.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets are now available through the UGA ticket office (877) 542-1231 or on-line at www.georgiadogs.com. The four-day all-tournament passes are $40 for chairback seats and $32 for general admission seating. Daily tickets are $10 for chairback seats and $8 for general admission seats. For more information, please contact the UGA ticket office.

Directions to the UGA Soccer-Softball Complex
*From Atlanta (I-85) Travel on I-85 North to exit 106, which is GA 316. Proceed east on GA 316 for approximately 40 miles. Take a right onto the Athens Perimeter(Loop 10) traveling east. (Do not exit off of GA 316 at the Athens/Monroe exit.) Continue until you see signs for the Athens Perimeter. For reference purposes, there is a sign for UGA and a Home Depot at the junction of GA 316 and the Athens Perimeter. After approximately four miles on the Athens Perimeter, exit onto Milledge Ave. (#15). Take a right onto Milledge Ave. Travel one mile on Milledge Ave. and the Soccer-Softball Complex will be on the right. Parking is available at the complex.

*From Atlanta: (U.S. 78)
Travel east on U.S. 78 to Athens. Turn right at the junction of GA 316 and travel on GA 316 for about 5 miles. Take a right onto the Athens Perimeter(Loop 10) traveling east. (Do not exit off of GA 316 at the Athens/Monroe exit.) Continue until you see signs for the Athens Perimeter. For reference purposes, there is a sign for UGA and a Home Depot at the junction of GA 316 and the Athens Perimeter. After approximately four miles on the Athens Perimeter, exit onto Milledge Ave. (#15). Take a right onto Milledge Ave. Travel one mile on Milledge Ave. and the Soccer-Softball Complex will be on the right. Parking is available at the complex.

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