April 11, 2008
Fresh Off Sweep Of #17/19 Georgia, Tech Heads To Tallahassee For Weekend Set With Seminoles
Georgia Tech (19-26, 2-9 ACC) looks to build on the momentum from Wednesday’s thrilling sweep of arch-rival #17/19 Georgia when it travels south to Tallahassee, Fla., for a three-game weekend series at Florida State (31-17, 7-5).
The Yellow Jackets and Seminoles will play a doubleheader on Saturday and single game Sunday, both at Noon. Game one on Saturday will be televised live on Sun Sports in Florida. Gene Deckerhoff will handle the play-by-play duties, while Keith Jones is the color commentator.
Yellow Jacket fans can watch the game on Direct TV (ch. 632) or Dish Network (ch. 422). In addition, the game will be shown on Fox College Sports Pacific. That channel can be found on the sports tier of Comcast Cable (ch. 292 in Atlanta) or Charter (ch. 303).
Live stats for all three games is available via the Gametracker link at www.ramblinwreck.com.
Tech vs. Florida State
Georgia Tech is 14-40 all-time against Florida State, but has won three games in a row. Tech took the last two games of the regular season series at Glenn Field last year and then knocked off the Seminoles on their home field in the ACC Tournament.
Whitney Humphreys was 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA against FSU last year. She pitched 14 innings and held the Seminole batters to a .160 batting average. Offensively, Savannah Brown led the Yellow Jackets with a .556 average.
She had three home runs and six RBI. Whitney Haller also excelled against FSU pitching as she hit .333 with four RBI in the four games.
Tech Sweeps Georgia For Second Straight Season
Before head coach Sharon Perkins arrived, Georgia Tech had just five wins all-time against its arch-rival Georgia. Perkins, who was on the Georgia staff for six seasons, is now 4-0 against the Bulldogs after her Jackets pulled off its second straight sweep on Wednesday at Glenn Field.
A two-run single by freshman Jessica Weaver and a RBI double from freshman Amanda Crow in the bottom of the sixth inning helped the Jackets come back from a 3-1 deficit and take a 4-3 win in game two.
Freshman Emily Schreck allowed just one unearned run in four innings of relief in game two as she improved to 5-3 on the season.
Brown Breaks RBI Marks
With a two-run single against NC State, senior Savannah Brown set a new ACC RBI record of 182 surpassing the previous mark of 181 held by Virginia’s Sara Larquier.
Earlier this season, Brown broke Anne Knobbe’s all-time Georgia Tech record of 172.
Brown is also moving up the home run charts. The San Diego, Calif., native currently has 42 career long balls. That places her third in school history, one behind Haller and four behind Tara Knudsen.
Brown is also sixth in school history in doubles (35), fifth in total bases (357) and fourth in walks (95).
Morales On Fire
On Feb. 29, senior Aileen Morales was hitting .250, nearly 50 points behind her career average. She heated up as the weather got warmer and has not cooled off at all.
The Columbus, Ga., native hit a robust .400 for the month of March and has continued this streak into April. Morales is batting an even .400 since March 1, a span of 30 games. She has 28 runs scored, four doubles, three triples, four home runs and 19 RBI. Morales is 29-for-30 in stolen base attempts during this time period while compiling a .644 slugging percentage and a .471 on-base percentage.
Jones Finds Her Groove
Morales is not the only one who has heated up with the weather. Freshman Christy Jones has hit .347 since March 1 to see her average rise up from .200 to its current mark of .292.
A Wichita, Kansas, native, Jones has reached base at a 42 percent clip since March 1 despite moving around in the order.
It doesn’t matter if Jones was batting second, eighth or ninth, she still was able to get on base and then steal bases.
Jones ranks third on the team with 18 runs scored and 23 stolen bases. Her 23 thefts are the 37th-most in the nation.
Her defense has also continued to improve throughout the year and was never more evident than on April 9 against Georgia. With a runner on first base and one out, UGA pinch hitter Jennie Auger hit a line drive headed for the gap in left-centerfield, but Jones came out of nowhere to make a diving catch. She made the grab diving towards centerfield with her body completely parallel to the ground.
Schreck Fever Hits Atlanta
With half of Tech’s pitching rotation on the bench with injuries, walk-on freshman Emily Schreck was called upon and has delivered admirably.
Schreck picked up a win in her first career start, March 18 at Winthrop. She gave up a run in each of the first two innings, but settled down nicely and benefited from her team scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning to pull out the victory.
Schreck’s first career shutout was a two-hitter against Furman. She struck out a career-high three batters and did not walk one.
Her most impressive outing, however, occurred April 9 against #17/19 Georgia. Schreck came out of the bullpen to start the fourth inning and held the Bulldogs to just one unearned run in four innings of relief work for the win.
Schreck walked two batters with one out in the top of the seventh inning, but was able to induce a game-ending 4-6-3 double-play off the bat of UGA clean-up hitter Melissa Wood.
Morales An On Base Machine
Senior Aileen Morales has been the leadoff hitter for most of her Tech career and has more than done her job of getting on base.
The Columbus, Ga., native has reached base safely at least once in 229 of her 247 career games. She led off for much of the 2005 season, but spent the first half of 2006 bouncing around the lineup.
Since becoming the primary leadoff hitter on April 8, 2006 against NC State, Morales has reached base safely all but 11 games.
Morales leads the team and is among the ACC leaders for most offensive categories. She is hitting .351 with 32 runs scored, five doubles, four triples, four home runs and 23 RBI. She hit her first career grand slam March 22 at Coastal Carolina.
In addition, Morales has a .537 slugging percentage and a .417 on-base percentage.
Morales Swipes Her Way Into Record Books
Earlier this season, Morales became Tech’s all-time stolen base leader and is still building on that. She is up to 141 in her career. That is also fourth in ACC history behind a trio of Florida State players. FSU’s Myssi Calkins is the all-time leader with 185.
Morales was a perfect 32-for-32 in stolen base attempts this season until NC State’s Alyssa Allbritten gunned her down trying to nab third base on April 5.
Morales is 33-for-34 this season which ranks her first in the ACC and eighth in the nation. Each of her four single-season stolen base tallies rank in the top five all-time at Tech.
Morales is also closing in on the ACC runs scored record. With a Georgia Tech record 200 runs scored in her career, Morales now needs just 24 more to pass Florida State’s Shamalene Wilson. She is currently second.
Haller Closing In On Home Run Mark
Haller, who has hit 45 home runs in two-plus seasons on The Flats, needs just five more round-trippers to break the all-time ACC record of 49 set by NC State’s Jen Chamberlin.
A native of Marietta, Ga., Haller hit a school-record 24 bombs as a freshman in 2006 while posting the fifth-highest total in school history (15) last season.
Haller also ranks fifth in school history in batting average (.342), first in slugging percentage (.648), fifth in on-base percentage (.429), third in runs scored (146), third in RBI (161) and fourth in total bases (362).
Weaver Starts Career With A Bang
You can’t ask for a better opening weekend as a freshman than what Jessica Weaver did at the Georgia State First Pitch Classic Feb. 9-10. The Kingston, Ga., native homered in each of her first three games, including one in her first official at bat. She walked in her first plate appearance.
Weaver has been a streaky hitter all season, but has seemed to settle into her spot in the line-up. She is tied with senior Brittany Barnes for the team lead in home runs at seven. Weaver is also tied with Haller for third on the club with 22 RBI.
She had a clutch game-tying, two-run single as part of Tech’s three-run rally to beat #17/19 Georgia on April 9.
Shimandle Quietly Gets It Done
With the power surge in the Georgia Tech lineup the last couple of years, junior Blair Shimandle has quietly gone about her business and been one of Tech’s most consistent hitters.
Originally from Ohio, the LaGrange, Ga., native has hit over .300 in each of her first two seasons and carried a career .317 average coming into the 2008 campaign.
Shimandle began the year by going a career-high 4-for-4 against Lipscomb on Feb. 9 and has not not missed a beet since then.
Shimandle is currently second on the team with a .294 batting average, but has been over .300 for most of the last month. She has scored 20 times, while hitting two doubles, two triples, a home run and 16 RBI.
Shimandle’s home run, a two-run shot at Kennesaw State March 12, was her first long ball in two years. She hit four as a freshman in 2006.
Shimandle is 27-for-30 in stolen base attempts this season to rank tied for second in the ACC and 21st in the nation.
Crow Comes Through In The Clutch
Freshman Amanda Crow has just seven hits this season in a part-time role, but two of them have been extremely timely.
The first game-winning hit for the freshman from Sharpsburg, Ga., was also her first career hit. She stroked a RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap a come-from-behind Tech win on Feb. 15 against Middle Tennessee State.
More recently, Crow delivered the game-winning RBI double, also in the bottom of the sixth inning, against Georgia on April 9.
With Becky McCraw battling an injury, Crow has started the last six games at second base.
Don’t Run On Butler
If they don’t know already, opponents are certainly going to hesitate trying to score when Tech centerfielder Stephanie Butler has the ball.
The Burbank, Calif., native has seven outfield assists already this season, including four at home plate. Butler had just four outfield assists all of last season.
She has also made a hand full of highlight-reel catches in centerfield this season.
Three Jackets Picked In NPF Draft
Georgia Tech seniors Savannah Brown, Aileen Morales and Brittany Barnes were each selected in the Feb. 18 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Senior Draft. Brown was taken in the first round, fifth overall by the Rockford Thunder. Morales was a second-round selection (10th overall) by the Chicago Bandits, while Barnes was picked in the fourth round (23rd overall) by the Akron Racers.
Tech had three of the four players chosen from the ACC and tied Oklahoma for the most picks from one school in the nation. Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete is not eligible to sign with her respective franchise until their 2008 season is completed.
Three other Yellow Jackets have played in the NPF. Tara Knudsen (2001-04) was the first after being drafted by the New England Riptide in 2004. Jessica Sallinger (2002-05) signed with the Chicago Bandits two years ago after being selected in the second round of the NPF Senior Draft her senior season, while Caitlin Lever (2005-07) also played for the Bandits last season.
Three Jackets Playing Internationally
Three members of the Georgia Tech Softball family are playing internationally and two will be participants in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Lever and Yee are on the Canadian National Team and ranked fifth in the world heading into this summer’s games.
Yee will red-shirt this season like many other collegiate players across the country, and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Yee is keeping a blog of her Olympic journey that will be updated frequently from now through the Olympic Games at www.ramblinwreck.com. Tech fans can get an inside look at what it’s like to be an Olympic athlete and what goes into preparation.
Morales, meanwhile, spent last summer with the Puerto Rican National Team. They lost in the championship game of their Olympic qualifier, but Morales has brought a lot of her experience back to Atlanta and that is going to go a long way this season according to Coach Perkins.