Feb. 8, 2009
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sophomore Kristen Adkins (2-0) pitched five shutout innings and helped the Georgia Tech softball team (3-1) earn a doubleheader split at Furman (1-1) Sunday afternoon. The Jackets bounced back from a walk-off 2-1 loss in game one to win 9-1 in the night cap. Freshman Kate Kuzma reached base seven times on the afternoon and blasted her first career home run.
Lana Mackey had Tech hitters frustrated all during game one. She held the Jackets to just four hits and walked five en route to the complete-game win. The Paladins jumped on senior pitcher Tiffany Johnson (1-1) for a run in the first inning. Four Johnson walks in the inning allowed a run to score, but she did get Mackey top pop up ending the inning.
The score remained 1-0 until the Jackets tied the game in the top of the fourth. With one out., senior Whitney Haller reached on an infield single and moved to second base when redshirt junior Jen Yee walked. Junior Kelly Eppinger came in to pinch run for Haller at second base and both runners moved up when freshman Kelsi Weseman singled. A walk by Kuzma forced in the tying run, but Mackey got out of any further trouble as sophomore Jessica Weaver and Adkins grounded out.
Tech had a chance to scratch across the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning as Adkins led off with a single and was bunted over to second base by Johnson. Mackey, again, got out of the jam by getting senior Blair Shimandle to fly out deep to right field and then sophomore Christy Jones on a foul out to third.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Furman pulled out the win in dramatic fashion. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with two outs and then Stephanie Cushing won the game with a line single into left-center field. It came on a 2-2 pitch after she fouled off a couple tough pitches from Johnson.
Johnson took the loss as she allowed two runs on four hits in 6.2 innings. Struck out four and walked a career-high seven batters.
In game two, Tech scored two runs in the second inning to give Adkins a 2-0 lead to work with. Kuzma led off the inning with a home run to left field, her first career round-tripper. Later in the inning, the Jackets pulled off a double-steal for the second run. Freshman Shannon Bear, who was pinch running for Weaver who had walked, scampered home when Furman catcher Megan Schonhar tried to nab Shimandle stealing second base. Shimandle had reached on a single to right field.
The Yellow Jackets added three more runs in the third inning giving Adkins a 5-0 lead to work with. Yee led off the inning with a single through the right side and stole second base two batters later. Walks later in the inning to Kuzma and Sinclair loaded the bases with two outs for Johnson.
Despite their being two outs, head coach Sharon Perkins called for the suicide squeeze and Johnson executed perfectly. She dropped the bunt down in front of the pitcher, Stephanie, Mihaly, who had no play and everybody was safe. Shimandle and Jones each followed with RBI singles making the score 5-0.
That was more than enough for Adkins. She retired nine batters in a row at one time and all but four of the outs she recorded in her five innings of work came via the ground ball.
Freshman Jessica Coan pitched the final two innings of relief for Tech. She gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, but was able to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam with consecutive strikeouts.
In the top of the seventh inning, Haller gave the Jackets some insurance runs with a three-run triple to the gap in right-center field. She is now seven RBI behind former teammate Savannah Brown for the all-time Tech and ACC RBI record.
Adkins picked up her second win in as many starts for the Jackets as she scattered four singles and one walk over five innings of work. She struck out two.
The Yellow Jackets return to action next weekend at the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. Tech will face Florida Atlantic at 8:00 a.m. and South Alabama at 12:30 p.m. in the first day of action on Friday, Feb. 13. Live audio and stats for every game this season will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com beginning approximately 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.