March 6, 2009
WOODSTOCK, Ga. – The Georgia Tech softball team (10-6) beat Mercer (14-7), 4-1, but fell to Purdue (8-5), 4-2, on the first day of the Buzz Classic at the Twin Creek Softball Complex. Senior Tiffany Johnson had a no-hitter for 5.1 innings as she beat Mercer in game one to improve to 5-1 on the season. Freshman Kelsi Weseman was 2-for-3 with two RBI on the night for the Yellow Jackets.
Game one against Mercer was scoreless until the Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the top of the third inning against Lacey Richardson. Jessica Weaver led off with a single and then pinch runner Shannon Bear went to second base when Christy Jones was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up a base on a Richardson wild pitch and then Jen Yee drove home Bear with the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
Jones stole third base, her 13th of the season, and came around to score on another Richardson wild pitch. Blair Shimandle, who walked, scored later in the inning when Weseman delivered a RBI single to right field.
Tech added a fourth insurance run in the top of the sixth on a RBI single by Kate Kuzma. Kuzma drove in pinch runner Kelly Eppinger who was running for Whitney Haller. Haller led off the inning with a double off the fence in right field.
Johnson, meanwhile, was mowing down the Bears. She allowed a walk in the first inning to Jenny Goodman, but Weaver quickly threw her out trying to steal second base. She faced the minimum amount of batters until there was one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Stacey Condra doubled off the wall in left-center field and then scored later in the inning on a RBI single by Goodman. Mercer had the tying run at the plate with two outs, but Johnson struck out Kristin Marko ending the inning. The run she allowed snapped a string of 19.2 consecutive scoreless innings pitched.
The first two Mercer batters singled in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Johnson did not allow either to score and hung on for the win.
Johnson improved to 5-1 as she gave up one earned run on four hits. She walked two and struck out five. Richardson (5-3) took the loss as she allowed four earned runs on five hits and three walks. She fanned seven.
Game two against Purdue saw each team score twice in the first inning, but it was a pitcher’s duel after that. Tech sophomore Kristen Adkins walked the bases loaded in the top of the inning with just one out. She came back to record the second out of the inning on a force play at the plate, but a two-out, two-run single by Molly Garst gave the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets came right back in the bottom of the inning. Yee led off the frame with an infield single, but was forced out at second base on a ground out by Shimandle. A single by Haller moved Shimandle to second and then she came around to score on a RBI double by Tiffany Johnson. Weseman made it 2-0 with a RBI single, but the Jackets left a golden chance on the base paths as they had runners at second and third with one out, but could not get another run in.
Purdue pitcher Suzie Rzegocki shut down the Jackets after that first inning. She allowed just three base runners for the rest of the game on a walk, a hit batsman and an error.
The game remained 2-2 until the top of the fifth. Adkins had flirted with disaster, stranding two runners in the third and fourth innings, but a Katie Mitchell two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning gave Purdue a 4-2 lead and Rzegocki made it stand up.
Tech’s best chance to get back in the game came in the bottom of the sixth. Weseman was hit by a pitch and then Jessica Sinclair drew a walk give the Yellow Jackets two on with two outs, but pinch hitter Amelia Beach lined out to third base ending the inning.
Adkins (4-3) took the loss as she gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits and five walks in 4.1 innings. She did not strikeout a batter. Jessica Coan pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and struck out five.
The Buzz Classic continues through Sunday at the Twin Creek Softball Complex in Woodstock, Ga. The Yellow Jackets will take on Toledo (1 p.m.) and Jacksonville State (4 p.m.) on Saturday before wrapping up the tournament Sunday at Noon against Western Kentucky. All Georgia Tech games will be broadcast on www.ramblinwreck.com, while live stats and box scores for every Buzz Classic game can be found on the Tournament Central page.
Don’t forget, prior to Georgia Tech’s home opener on Tuesday, March 10, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open Shirley Clements Mewborn Field. The ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. and then the Yellow Jackets will take on UT Martin in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Shirley Clements Mewborn Field is the new on-campus home of the Georgia Tech softball team. It is located at the corner of Eighth and Fowler Streets. Free parking for Tech softball games is available across Eighth Street in the big lot adjacent to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum.