April 6, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. – Senior Savannah Brown had two RBI breaking the all-time ACC record of 181 set by Virginia’s Sara Larquier, but the NC State Softball Team (22-18, 6-6 ACC) swept a doubleheader from Georgia Tech (17-26, 2-9) Sunday afternoon 6-1 and 9-6 completing the weekend sweep. The Yellow Jackets had a 6-3 lead in game two, but the Wolfpack scored six runs all after there were two outs to take the game. Senior Brittany Barnes and freshman Jessica Weaver each hit home runs for Tech to increase their team-high totals to seven. Weaver was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
Game one shaped up to be a pitcher’s duel but it was the Jackets who had the game’s best opportunity in the top of the third inning. Freshman Amanda Crow was hit by the first pitch of the inning and then freshman Christy Jones worked a walk giving Tech two on with nobody out and the top of the order up. Senior Aileen Morales came up and hit s sharp line right at NC State first baseman Allison Presnell. The ball was hit so hard that Jones was caught off the bag and the Wolfpack had a quick double-play. NC State pitcher Mendy McKenzie came back to strike out senior Stephanie Butler for the final out of the inning.
Lauren Peters led off the bottom of the third inning with a soft single to right field, the first hit of the game for either team, but was quickly erased when Blair Harkey hit into a double-play. With two outs now, NC State leadoff hitter Shana Smith took a 3-2 pitch over the fence in left-centerfield for her sixth home run of the season. The Yellow Jackets, who were still looking for their first hit of the game, now trailed 1-0.
With Tech still hitless through five innings, NC State blew the game wide open in the fifth with five runs on three hits. Smith had a RBI single into left field and then back-to-back home runs by pinch hitter Mackenzie Mangum and Alyssa Allbritten made it a 6-0 game. Mackenzie’s home run was a three-run shot that cleared the scoreboard in right field.
In the top of the sixth, Morales led off with a clean single up the middle breaking up McKenzie’s bid for a no-hitter. She then stole second base and when the ball went into centerfield on the throw down by the catcher, she was able to take third. A ground ball by Jones to first base scored Morales for the jacket’s first run of the game. The run of bad luck for Tech continued later in the inning. Senior Savannah Brown hit a ball about as hard as you can to the left side. The ball hit NC State third baseman Bridget Desbois flush on the knee and ricocheted to the catcher who threw Brown out.
Each team went quietly in their last at bat and the Wolfpack took the second game of the series. Senior Whitney Humphreys (8-13) took the loss as she was charged with six runs, five of which were earned, on six hits and two walks. She had five strikeouts. McKenzie settled for a one-hitter as she walked two and struck out six. The run she gave up was unearned.
In game two, NC State took advantage of the long ball again. After freshman Emily Schreck easily got the first two outs in the first inning but a single by Alyssa Allbritten into left field and then a line drive, two-run home run off the bat of Kristine Bechtholdt gave the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead.
Tech came back to tie the game in the top of the second inning. Senior Brittany Barnes reached on an infield single to start the inning and after a walk by junior Blair Shimandle and junior Whitney Haller reaching on an error the Yellow Jackets had the bases loaded with nobody out. Freshman Jessica Weaver delivered a big two-run single into left-centerfield tying the game at two, but NC State pitcher Lindsay Campana came back to strike out freshman Amanda Crow, Butler and freshman pinch hitter Carolina Hilton to keep the damage to a minimum.
In the bottom of second inning, the Woldpack quickly re-took the lead. With a runner on first and one out, Alyssa Ishibashi hit a drive towards the wall in left-centerfield. It appeared like it was going to be a home run but Tech left fielder Christy Jones leaped and almost made the catch. The ball popped out of her glove, but saved a run as it stayed in the field of play. Ishibashi made it to third base, but Schreck got two come-backers to get out of the inning and keep Tech’s deficit at just a run, 3-2.
Georgia Tech came back to tie the game again in the top of the third inning when Barnes launched a two-out solo home run to right-center field. For Barnes it was her team-high seventh round-tripper of the season.
Barnes didn’t keep her home run lead for long, however. With the game still tied at three in the fourth, Weaver crushed a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence and onto the track complex behind the stadium for her seventh home run of the season and Tech’s first lead of the day, 4-3. An infield single later in the inning by Butler spelled the end of the day for Campana. Game one winner Mendy McKenzie came in and got Jones to ground out but the Jackets took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning.
The game moved to the sixth inning with the Jackets making three more nice defensive plays in the bottom of the fifth to preserve their 4-3 lead. Smith led off the inning with a towering fly ball to dead centerfield. It carried all the way to the fence where Butler was able to haul it in right in front of the fence. Jones then made two nice plays on back to back pitches to end the inning. The first was she made a sliding catch on a sinking line drive hit by Ashleigh Davis and then hauled in a rope off the bat of Allbritten.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Jackets loaded the bases with two outs and Brown etched her name into ACC history and gave Schreck some insurance runs to work with. Brown dumped a two-run single into centerfield breaking the all-time ACC RBI record and giving Georgia Tech a 6-3 lead. It was her 181st and 182nd career RBI passing Virginia’s Sara Larquier.
NC State came right back with its second six-run inning of the series. It scored the six runs all after there were two outs to open up a 9-6 lead. Desbois had a RBI single while Ishibashi had a RBI double making the score 6-5 Tech. The big blow then came off the bat of pinch hitter Claudio Cooper as she launched a two-run home run over the fence in right field and before you could blink NC State had a 7-6 lead. Smith followed for good measure with another home run marking the third time this series that the Wolfpack hit back-to-back home runs. Later in the inning, Allbritten added a RBI double to round out the scoring.
The Yellow Jackets made things interesting in the seventh putting two on with two outs on a pair of errors, but senior pinch hitter Becky McCraw lined out to centerfield ending the game. Schreck dropped to 4-3 on the season as she allowed nine earned runs on 12 hits and two walks. She had one strikeout. McKenzie (11-5) picked up her second win of the day, this time in relief. She was charged with two earned runs on three hits and two walks. Campana picked up a no decision as she allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and one walk in 3.2 innings. She had seven strikeouts.
Georgia Tech will return home to host in-state rival No. 14/16 Georgia for a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 9. First pitch from Glenn Field is set for 1:00 p.m. and live stats will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com via Gametracker.