March 17, 2009
ATLANTA – Freshman Danielle Dike was 2-for-3 with two doubles and five RBI, while freshman Kelsi Weseman went 3-for-5 with three RBI and her first career home run as the Georgia Tech softball team (17-6) swept a doubleheader from Western Carolina (5-14), 10-1 and 8-0, both in five innings Tuesday afternoon at Mewborn Field.
Seniors Whitney Haller and Blair Shimandle had three hits apiece for the Yellow Jackets who have now won 22 straight non-conference home games. Senior Tiffany Johnson hit her team-high sixth home run of the season. The Yellow Jackets recorded 20 hits on the day, 10 of which went for extra-bases.
Western Carolina came out hitting against Tech sophomore pitcher Kristen Adkins. After stranding a leadoff single in the first, the Catamounts tried to start a rally in the second. With one out, Mollie Fowler singled and then moved up a base when pitcher Lauren Ross lined a single off the leg of Adkins. Adkins took a clean hit, but was able to shake it off and keep the Catamounts from scoring.
The Yellow Jackets scored the first run of game one in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Haller reached base after an error by Western Carolina shortstop Chelsea Schaffer. Two batters later, pinch runner Shannon Bear scored when Schaffer committed another error, this time on a line drive off the bat of Kate Kuzma.
It was still 1-1 when the Yellow Jackets exploded for a season-high nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, all after there were two outs. Haller got it started with a single to left and went to third base on a double into the right-field corner by Weseman. The two runners were still there with two outs when Kelly Eppinger drew a four-pitch walk loading up the bases with two outs.
Dike came in as a pinch hitter for Jones and drilled a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right-center field for a bases-clearing double. The Jackets did not stop there and kept hitting the ball hard off Ross. Jones re-entered the game and after stealing third base, she scored on a RBI single by Shimandle. After Shimandle stole second base, Jen Yee just missed a two-run home run when her line drive that was still rising hit the top of the fence in right-center and stayed in the park. It was good for a RBI double and the Jackets now led 6-1.
A RBI single by Haller, her second hit of the inning, made it 7-1 and then Weseman delivered the final blow against relief pitcher Megan Taylor. She mashed her first career home run, a three-run shot to right-centerfield giving Tech a 10-1 lead.
Adkins closed out the fifth inning and gave the Jackets their sixth straight win. She improved to 7-3 with the win allowing one run on eight hits. She walked one and struck out four.
In game two, the Yellow Jackets wasted no time against starting pitcher Katie King. Shimandle walked to start the bottom of the first inning, stole second base and then went to third on an infield single by Jones. A RBI ground out by Yee made it 1-0 Jackets and then Jones scored the second Tech run on a triple to right field by Johnson.
In the second inning, the Yellow Jackets struck for two more runs. Dike was hit by a pitch to begin the frame and then scored after Jessica Weaver doubled to the gap in left-center field. Weaver crossed the plate with the game’s fourth run on a double by Shimandle, her first extra-base hit of the season.
That would be more than enough runs for freshman pitcher Jessica Coan. She scattered five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out eight en route to her first career shutout.
The shutout was made easier for Coan when the Jackets scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to invoke the run-rule for the second time today. Johnson led off the inning with her team-high sixth home run of the season. After Caroline Hilton singled to center, Weseman reached on an error putting two on with no outs for Dike.
Just like in game one, Dike came through with runners on as she drove both in with a double off the wall in right-center field. Chere Monday relieved King, but could not stop the bleeding. Freshman Shannon Bear continued her torrid hitting as she ended the game on a RBI single to left. After missing the first month of the season with an injury, Bear is 4-for-5 in her career with two home runs and five RBI.
Georgia Tech’s spring break homestand concludes tomorrow at Noon when Winthrop visits Mewborn Field for a doubleheader. The Yellow Jackets then hit the road over the weekend to open up Atlantic Coast Conference play at Virginia Tech. The Jackets and defending ACC champion Hokies will play a doubleheader Saturday at Noon and then a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m. Live audio and stats of all Georgia Tech softball games this season are available at www.ramblinwreck.com. The three-game series this weekend will also be available on ACC Select.