March 24, 2011
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech softball team (25-5, 0-0 ACC) returns home from its spring break trip to open up Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend against NC State (15-12, 1-2). The Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack will play a doubleheader at Mewborn Field on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. and then close out the series Sunday at Noon. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 of their last 19 games. NOTE: SATURDAY’S DOUBLEHEADER HAS BEEN MOVED UP TO 11 AM BECAUSE OF RAIN PREDICTED FOR THE AFTERNOON.
With a large track meet being held on campus this weekend, fans are encouraged to use the Peter’s Parking Deck as the Alexander Memorial Coliseum lot and adjoining side streets are expected to be full by late morning. Live video, audio and stats will be available at RamblinWreck.com.
Strikeout For The Cure:
Saturday will be the team’s annual Strikeout for the Cure game as Tech has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Saving Second Base, LLC to raise money for breast cancer research. Donations will be taken throughout the day and there will also be special pink merchandise for sale including hats, t-shirts and visors. Special raffles will be going on throughout the day and prizes include an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at next month’s Georgia game, a pink Ipod Shuffle, a pink helmet autographed by the entire team and a pink softball signed by head coach Sharon Perkins. The team will be wearing special pink jerseys on Saturday and the ones the seniors wear will be auctioned off on RamblinWreck.com next week.
The NC State Series:
The Yellow Jackets are now 14-8 all-time against NC State and have swept the Wolfpack in each of the last two seasons. Georgia Tech first-year Pitching Coach Shaina Ervin is a graduate of NC State.
Tech Looks To Extend ACC Series Streak: Dating back to the 2008 season, Georgia Tech has won 17 straight ACC series which is a conference record. Virginia Tech held the previous mark having won 15 straight from 2006 to 2008. Since being swept by NC State April 5-6, 2008, Georgia Tech is 46-7 (.868) in ACC games. During its streak, Virginia Tech went 34-10 (.773).
The Yellow Jackets have won both the ACC regular season and tournament titles in each of the last two seasons and were picked as the unanimous favorite by the league coaches to three-peat in 2011.
The Power Is Back: With the loss of first-team All-American Jen Yee, many people wondered how Georgia Tech would replace her bat in the line-up. Head Coach Sharon Perkins said it would be a group effort and the team has lived up to its billing. Heading into ACC play, Tech is batting .341 as a team and eight of the nine regular starters are hitting over .300.Te h is out-scoring the opposition, 192-54 and is averaging 6.4 runs and nine hits a game.
After setting a school record with 118 home runs last year, Tech is on pace to break that mark in 2011. The Yellow Jackets have belted 57 home runs in 30 games this year and have six different players with at least six home runs. Sophomore Hope Rush leads the way with 11 home runs, while senior Kristine Priebe and junior Kelsi Weseman have 10 apiece.
The biggest surprise for Tech has been junior Shannon Bear. A walk-on with just a hand-full of at bats in her first two seasons, Bear has found a spot in the starting line-up in left field and is now batting third. The Grayson, Ga., native is hitting a team-high .416 with eight home runs and 27 RBI. She has scored 23 runs and also has eight doubles, two triples and a 1.361 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).
Weseman is a shade behind Bear at .413 and has 27 runs scored, eight doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 28 RBI and a 1.443 OPS. Freshman Hayley Downs has hit at a .400 clip in part-time duty, while Rush is batting .395 with 11 home runs, 32 RBI and a 1.312 OPS.
Priebe is right behind with a .376 average, 10 home runs, 34 RBI and a 1.296 OPS. She has two grand slams as well this season. Senior Christy Jones has hit .349 at the top of the order and has 19 runs scored and is 22-for-23 in stolen base opportunities. Junior Jessica Sinclair has also been on fire of late and is hitting .340 with eight home runs and 15 RBI.
Deep Pitching Staff:
The Yellow Jackets have three reliable pitchers this season in senior Kristen Adkins, Rush and freshman Lindsey Anderson. Both Adkins and Rush had recent streaks of more than 28 innings in a row without allowing a run and have been a part of 18 shutouts this season. The Tech staff has a .145 ERA and is holding opponents to a .191 batting average and a .261 slugging percentage. The opposition has just 25 extra-base hits all season.
Adkins, a three-time ACC Pitcher of the Week, leads the way as she is 11-2 with a 0.73 ERA. She has made 14 starts, is holding opponents to a .195 clip and has 79 strikeouts in 86.1 innings. Rush, meanwhile, is 10-3 with a 1.47 ERA in 12 starts. The 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year and third-team All-American has limited opponents to a .202 average.
Anderson has made 12 appearances, including four starts, and is 4-0 with a 3.23 ERA. She is averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning with 55 in 34.2 innings pitched but also has 23 walks and four home runs allowed.