March 1, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Georgia Tech softball team split a pair of games today on the second day of the NFCA Leadoff Classic. In game one, the Yellow Jackets used a five-run sixth inning to break open a 2-0 game and won 7-2. Senior Aileen Morales was 3-for-3 with three runs scored, a RBI and three stolen bases. In the night cap, Charlotte scored six runs in the first two innings and hung on for a 6-2 win. Senior Brittany Barnes homered for the Yellow Jackets, her second of the season, but it was one of those frustrating games. Tech hit the ball hard for most of the night, but had several balls caught by Charlotte outfielders right in front of the fence.
In game one against Hofstra, Georgia Tech struck first for a run in the top of the first inning. Senior Aileen Morales singled with one out, stole second base then went to third on a wild pitch and scored when senior Brittany Barnes laced a single up the middle. Savannah Brown followed with a single down the right-field line allowing Barnes to go to third base, but junior Tiffany Johnson flied out to center field ending the inning.
The Jackets added another run in the top of the third inning against Hofstra ace Kayleigh Lotti. Morales led off with a single and stole second base. After junior Whitney Haller drew a walk, two straight Tech batters just missed home runs. Both Barnes and Brown hit balls that Hofstra center fielder Erika Bernstein caught up against the fence. Fortunately for the Jackets, Morales moved one station each time so she scored on Brown’s sac fly giving Tech a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile in the circle, senior Whitney Humphreys was making easy work of Hofstra. She allowed her first base runner on a one-out single in the third, but was able to work around it and keep the 2-0 lead heading to the fourth.
Hofstra had its first real scoring threat in the fourth when an error and a single gave it runners at first and second with just one out. Humphreys proceeded to get consecutive pop-ups on the infield to get out of the inning.
In the top of the sixth, the Jackets blew the game wide open as they batted around and plated five runs on seven hits to open up a 7-0 lead. Three straight singles to open up the inning by Johnson, freshman Jessica Weaver and freshman Christy Jones loaded the bases with nobody out. A RBI ground out by freshman pinch hitter Amanda Crow made it 3-0 and then junior Blair Shimandle delivered the big blow. She tripled to the wall in right field driving in a pair of runs. RBI singles off the bats of Morales and Haller accounted for the final two runs in the inning.
Tech got sloppy in the bottom of the sixth inning. Three errors allowed a Hofstra run to score, but Humphreys was able to minimize the damage despite the Pride having the bases loaded and no one out.
Hofstra made things interesting in the seventh. A hit batsman and two walks loaded the bases with nobody out. She was able to wiggle out again with just one run crossing the plate as Tech hung on for the 7-2 win.
Humphreys (2-5) picked up the win to snap a personal five-game losing skid. She allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks while fanning four. Lotti (2-4) gave up all seven earned runs on 13 hits and two walks in six innings. She fanned four. Joanna Kralowetz pitched a scoreless seventh.
In the night cap against Charlotte, junior pitcher Tiffany Johnson struggled with her control and lasted just a third of an inning before being replaced by freshman Stephanie Morris. Three walks and three singles off Johnson gave the 49ers a 3-0 lead and they still had the bases loaded with just one out when Morris came in from the bullpen.
Morris did her part getting a strikeout and ground ball right back to her stranding three Charlotte runners and keeping it a 3-0 game. For Johnson, it was her first run allowed in her last 15.1 innings pitched.
The Jackets went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first and then Charlotte scored three more runs in the second to build a 6-0 lead. Jamie West had a two-run single and Cee Brooks added a double so the Jackets found themselves in a big hole but with plenty of time left.
The Jackets got one of the runs back in the third inning, but had two more balls caught at the warning track just like in the day’s first game against Hofstra. Jones led off with a single and was at third base two batters later when Shimandle singled to right. After Shimandle stole second base, Morales drove one to deep left field that was caught by Emily Forbes in front of the fence. Jones was able to score Tech’s first run. Haller then drove one to deep right-center that Charlotte centerfielder Keri Palma was able to make a nice running catch right in front of the fence.
Morris settled down which gave the Jackets a chance to get back in the game, but luck seemed to be on the 49ers side. Two more deep drives by Morales and Haller were run down by Charlotte outfielders in the fifth innings.
In the sixth, Barnes led off with a home run to left-center field, her second of the season. Brown walked and then Weaver ripped a double into the left-center field alley. Brown was waved home, but a perfect relay from Serena Smith in center to the shortstop Brooks nailed Brown who tried to slide to the outside of the plate. Charlotte catcher Jamie West blocked the plate and applied the tag to Brown sliding by for the inning’s first out.
That proved to be the last batter Charlotte pitcher Emily Jeffery would face. Katy Hackett came in and got the final two outs to send the game into the seventh still 6-2 49ers.
Tech was unable to get any closer in the seventh and fell by a 6-2 score. Johnson (2-3) took the loss as she allowed three earned runs in 0.1 innings pitched. Humphreys worked the final 6.2 innings and gave up three earned runs on five hits and two walks. She struck out a career-high seven batters.
The Yellow Jackets will close out play at the NFCA Leadoff Classic on Sunday, March 2 against #19/19 DePaul at 12:30 p.m. Live stats will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com. The Yellow Jackets then return home for a big week. They kick off ACC play with a three-game, mid-week series against Virginia. The home opener at Glenn Field is Tuesday, March 4 with a doubleheader slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. The two teams will wrap up their series on Wednesday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m. The Jackets will them host the Buzz Classic March 7-9 at the Twin Creeks Complex in Woodstock, Ga.