Jan. 29, 2008
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech Softball Team has been ranked No. 18 in the ESPN.COM/USA Softball Preseason Poll released today. This comes one week after the Yellow Jackets were picked 17th in the USA Today/NFCA poll. Tech’s preseason rankings in both polls are the highest in program history.
Like the NFCA poll, Georgia Tech and No. 15 Virginia Tech are the only teams from the ACC ranked, but there are three others (Florida State, North Carolina and NC State) receiving votes. In addition to those four ACC foes, the Jackets will face No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Alabama (at least twice) and No. 8 DePaul as well as at least three teams receiving votes (South Carolina, Georgia and South Florida).
The Yellow Jackets will open the 2008 season Feb. 9-10 at the Georgia State First Pitch Classic. They will face Lipscomb, Tennessee-Martin and Georgia State in pool play as well as an additional game in the championship round.
The Yellow Jackets posted a school record 54 wins in 2007, made their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament, shattered several Atlantic Coast Conference offensive records and made their third appearance in the last four years in the ACC Championship Game.
Among the dozen or so accomplishments are the 96 home runs, surpassing the 75 Tech hit in 2006, breaking its own record. That mark led the nation and finished as the ninth-best all-time total in NCAA history. The Jackets set a new ACC record with 451 runs scored, tied for 11th best all-time in NCAA history. Tech also went on to set new league season records in batting average (.322), total bases (1,027), RBI (416) and slugging percentage (.536).
Senior Aileen Morales returns after enjoying her finest season as a Jacket, earning third team All-America honors. The shortstop/second baseman from Columbus, Ga., hit .339, with an ACC record 73 runs scored and finished second in the league with 34 stolen bases. She is three shy of matching the all-time Tech record in stolen bases and played with the Puerto Rican National Team last summer while attempting to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.
Joining Morales in All-America ranks last year was Whitney Haller. A junior from Marietta, Ga., Haller earned Academic All-America honors after posting another solid season. She hit .372, with 15 home runs and 62 runs batted in. Haller stands third all-time in ACC history with 39 dingers.
Catcher Savannah Brown also broke an ACC record for the Jackets, knocking in 76 runs, second-most in the NCAA. She hit a career-high .330 and was named to the All-ACC and All-Southeast Region first teams. Third baseman Brittany Barnes drove in 73 runs, second-best in ACC history and finished third in the nation with that total en route to being named to the All-Southeast Region second team.
The Yellow Jackets finished the year No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll and No. 17 in the RPI rankings, the two highest rankings in Tech history.