Feb. 23, 2003
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Paced by a school-record 17 strikeouts from sophomore Jessica Sallinger, the No. 24 Georgia Tech softball team (7-6) defeated Oakland University (1-3), 3-2 in nine innings, Sunday in the consolation final of the Cox Communications Classic at the Florida Softball Stadium. Earlier in the day, the Jackets fell to the host Gators, 9-2, in a game that started Saturday but wrapped up Sunday morning due to rain.
Sallinger (3-4) dominated the Golden Grizzlies from the start, as she recorded her first 12 outs via the strikeout. Sallinger went nine innings, allowing six hits and four walks, as well as two earned runs. The strikeout total eclipsed her own school record set of 15 set against Chattanooga at last year’s NCAA Regional.
Junior designated player Tasha Waugh had the game-winning hit with a double in the top of the ninth. The hit scored first baseman Katie Donovan from second and gave the Jackets a 3-2 lead. The Golden Grizzlies loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but Sallinger worked out the jam to preserve the win.
Tech got on the board against Oakland in the top of the fifth, as a double down the left field line by second baseman Felicia Coursey scored pinch runner Amy Hosier from second to give the Jackets 1-0 lead. Freshman third baseman Lauren Schlechte got the rally started with a single up the middle.
The Jackets added an insurance run in the sixth on a run-scoring double to left center by Donovan. The hit scored pinch runner Soraya Reddick, who was on second after entering to run for catcher Lindsay Wood, who singled.
Two runs would not be enough for the Jackets, as Oakland scored a pair in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings. A double by third baseman Ericka Burns drove in both of the runs and tied the score.
Tech was led at the plate by Donovan and Wood, who each had two hits. Burns led Oakland with three safeties on the afternoon.
On Saturday against the Gators, a two-run homer to left by Florida left fielder Lindsey Cameron put the Gators (15-4) up by the four-run margin in the bottom of the second. That shot chased Tech starter Erin Voeltz from the game and came just before the heavy rains began. Center fielder Jenilee Garner and shortstop Jackie Marchetta also had run-scoring singles in the inning.
The game resumed Sunday morning at around 8:45 a.m., and senior Tiffany Goodman, who replaced Voeltz, retired two batters to end the second.
Florida’s Amanda Moore replaced Gator starter Jenny Gladding and picked up where she left off, fanning the side in the Tech half of the third. In all, seven Yellow Jacket batters struck out the first time through the line up.
The Jackets got back in the game in the top of the fourth, as they scratched for a pair of unearned runs. With two on base via walks, center fielder Sara Wissmann singled on a dribbler down the third base line. The throw to first by Moore sailed past the bag, allowing Tech catcher Lindsay Wood to score and Katie Donovan to advance to third. Wissmann then stole second, and Donovan swiped home on a delayed steal, cutting the lead to 4-2.
Florida broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs and pushing the lead to 9-2. A pair of Tech errors and RBI singles Marchetta and Jennifer Mossadeghi contributed to the big inning.
Tech threatened to get back in the game for a second time in the top of the seventh but left the bases loaded.
Voeltz (4-2) took the loss for the Jackets. She allowed four hits and four runs in 1.1 innings. Goodman went 4.2 innings, allowing five hits and five runs (two earned). Moore (7-1) earned the win for the Gators. Marchetta went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead Florida at the plate.
The nine runs allowed by Tech are a season-high and the most since a 10-5 loss to Virginia on April 7, 2002.
Tech returns to action Tuesday, as the Jackets host a 2 p.m. doubleheader against Troy State at Glenn Field. -GT-