Oregon Eliminates No. 8 Georgia Tech From NCAA Tournament

May 23, 2010

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ATLANTA – No. 24 Oregon (36-19) scored a run in the top of the eighth inning to defeat No. 8 Georgia Tech (51-11), 4-3, Sunday afternoon in the 2010 NCAA Softball Atlanta Regional. Oregon now advances to next weekend’s Super Regional. The Yellow Jackets scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra innings, but a sacrifice fly by Oregon’s Ashley Kivett won the game in the top of the eighth.

Freshman Hope Rush (28-8) took the loss for the Yellow Jackets as she was charged with four earned runs on 10 hits and three walks in eight innings. She struck out three batters. After tying the game at three in the bottom of the seventh, Tech had the bases loaded and one out when Oregon relief pitcher Mikayla Endicott struck out a pair of batters to force the extra frames. She then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning giving the Ducks the win. She improves to 4-2 on the season and struck out four of the five batters she faced.

Redshirt senior Jen Yee hit her NCAA-leading 29th home run of the season on Sunday and finished her final year at Tech reaching base at least once in all 62 games. She leads the nation in several offensive categories.

Georgia Tech had a golden scoring chance in the first inning after a double by sophomore Kate Kuzma and single by sophomore Kelsi Weseman put runners at the corners with one out. Jessica Moore came back to strike out both junior Kristine Priebe and Rush to end the threat.

Rush struggled a bit with her control in the top of the second inning, but was able to get out of a bases loaded, one-out jam with just one run scoring. Rush loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. She then walked Ashley Kivett to force in a run, but retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.

In the top of the third inning, a leadoff error gave Oregon a runner at third base and no outs but Rush was able to get out of the inning with her still standing over there. That turned out to be a big inning as Yee led off the bottom of the frame with her 29th home run of the season to tie the game at one.

It was the 268th run of her career moving her into fifth place on the all-time NCAA career runs scored list. It also moved her into sole possession of 13th place on the all-time NCAA home run list.

Oregon came right back to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Rush quickly got the first two outs of the inning, but three straight Oregon hits gave it a 3-1 lead. Allie Burger had a RBI triple and then Neena Bryant followed with a run-scoring single.

The Yellow Jackets had a golden scoring chance in the bottom of the fifth but came up empty. After junior Christy Jones singled with one out, Yee walked to put two on with one out. Kuzma singled to center field but Oregon got Jones in a run down between third base and home and eventually tagged her out for the inning’s second out. Weseman then flew out to deep center field to end the inning.

Rush kept the Ducks off the scoreboard and set the stage for dramatics in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore Shannon Bear got it going with an infield bunt single and then went to second base when Jones walked. After Yee moved both base runners into scoring position on a ground out, Kuzma came through again as she worked an 0-2 count to a full count and eventually had a RBI single up the middle on a 10-pitch at bat. Priebe then followed with a game-tying single through the left side. Weseman was intentionally walked to load the bases and that was the day for Moore.

Mikayla Endicott came in and struck both Rush and freshman Caitlin Jordan out to strike out and send the game into extra innings.

Oregon came right back to re-take the lead in the top of the eighth and this time Tech did not have an answer. Carlyn Re led off with a single and then pinch runner Shelley Deadmond went to second on a wild pitch and third on a sacrifice bunt. It was then a sacrifice fly by Ashley Kivett which provided the winning run.

Endicott retired the Jackets in order in the bottom half of the frame to preserve the win and send Oregon into the Super Regionals next weekend.

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