May 22, 2010
ATLANTA – The No. 8 Georgia Tech Softball team (50-9) hit three home runs and used three different pitchers to defeat Jacksonville State (30-18), 5-3, in the first round of the NCAA Atlanta Regional. The Yellow Jackets will now face Oregon in a winner’s bracket game at Noon on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live nationally on ESPN HD.
Tonight’s game began 90 minutes late as a rain delay of nearly an hour and a half before the tournament even began pushed everything back. Redshirt senior Jen Yee, junior Kristen Adkins and sophomore Shannon Bear all hit home runs for the Yellow Jackets. Tech handed JSU starting pitcher Ashley Eliasson (21-8) her first loss since March 20, a span of 16 straight decisions.
Sophomore Jessica Coan (14-1) picked up the win in relief of Adkins, while freshman Hope Rush earned her second career save. Adkins gave up two earned runs on six hits in 3.1 innings of work. She walked two and struck out three. Coan got the win as she got out of a two on and one out jam in the fourth and ended up going 2.1 innings. She allowed two hits and one run while striking out two. Rush worked 1.1 innings of scoreless relief as well and surrendered one hit.
Georgia Tech wasted no time in jumping on Jacksonville State starting pitcher Ashley Eliasson. She walked both redshirt senior Jen Yee and sophomore Kate Kuzma to begin the inning. After a strikeout, junior Kristine Priebe made it a 1-0 game with a RBI single to center field. Then with runners at second and third later in the inning, freshman Hope Rush struck out but with the ball in the dirt the catcher had to throw down to first base. On the ensuing throw, Kuzma came around to score Tech’s second run.
Adkins then helped herself with a solo home run leading off the second inning as Georgia Tech built a 3-0 lead. It was her sixth homer of the season.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the top of the third inning. After a pair of walks, Nikki Prier delivered a two-out, RBI single to center making it a 3-1 game. Adkins did get out of the inning without any further damage.
After Tech stranded two runners in the bottom of the third inning, Hilary Downs led off the top of the fourth with a solo home run making it a 3-2 game. For Downs, it was her 11th round-tripper of the year. JSU was not done; however, as two more singles in the inning forced a Tech pitching change. Sophomore Jessica Coan came into a first and second one out jam and kept the lead as she recorded consecutive strikeouts to get out of the jam.
The Yellow Jackets then carried that momentum into the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases empty and one out, sophomore Shannon Bear hit her second home run of the season to give Tech its two-run lead back at 4-2.
In the sixth inning, Downs struck again as she led off the frame with her second solo home run of the inning making it a 4-3 game. With a runner on second and two outs, Rush came into the game in relief of Coan and got a strikeout as the Jackets took their slim 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Yee gave the Jackets a little breathing room in the bottom of the sixth inning when she took the first pitch she saw from Eliasson over the fence in left field for her 27th home run of the season.
Rush came back out for the seventh inning with a 5-3 lead and held it as Tech moved into the winner’s bracket.
All remaining games from the Atlanta Regional will air live on ESPN HD and ESPN3.com. Audio and live stats will also be available at RamblinWreck.com. For complete information on the NCAA Atlanta Regional, please log onto the tournament central page at RamblinWreck.com.