April 12, 2014
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech softball team (21-16, 10-11 ACC) combined for 15 runs on 23 hits en route to a doubleheader sweep of North Carolina (21-20, 12-9) Saturday at Mewborn Field on Senior Day. The Jackets defeated the Tar Heels, 6-2, in the series opener and rallied from a 6-0 deficit to win game two, 9-6. The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.
Freshman Samantha Pierannunzi was 3-for-6 at the plate and her third-inning grand slam in game two scored the go-ahead run for the Jackets. Seniors Alysha Rudnik and Ashley Thomas both went 4-for-7 (.571) with a pair of runs each.
“These were two huge wins for us and two of the best games we’ve played all season,” head coach Shelly Hoerner said. “It was great on Senior Day and I thought the seniors really led this team today in all aspects. We played all around great defense today and that was something we talked about that we needed to improve on.”
Game 1: Georgia Tech 6, North Carolina 2
The Yellow Jackets broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning with three runs; all scored with two outs on the board. Karly Fullem kicked off the inning with an infield single. With two outs, Katie Johnsky came up big with a clutch pinch-hit triple, her second on the year, to plate pinch runner Alexis Jones.
Ashley Thomas kept the energy alive with an RBI-single and scored on the second triple of the inning and third on the year for Downs.
The Tar Heels managed to push a run across in the sixth and had another runner on third, but the Yellow Jackets turned their 13th double play of the season to end the threat.
Georgia Tech tacked on two runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth. Maddie Lionberger reached on a double and scored on an RBI-single through the left side thanks to Ashley Thomas. Downs singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch, before scoring on Rudnik’s double to right.
Tech’s Kylie Kleinschmidt (13-9) earned the win, scattering four hits and allowing two runs in a complete-game effort.
North Carolina starter Lori Spingola (15-11), whose brother plays baseball for Georgia Tech, absorbed the loss, throwing 3.2 innings with four runs on seven hits.
Game 2: Georgia Tech 9, North Carolina 6
The Tar Heels wasted little time in the second game and jumped out to a 6-0 lead through the first three innings.
The Yellow Jacket bats got hot in the bottom of the third stanza as the team exploded for seven runs on six hits and sent all nine batters to the plate.
In the third inning, the first three batters in Chelsie Thomas, Lionberger and Johnsky strung together three-straight singles to load the bases. An RBI-single courtesy of Downs and a 2-RBI single from Rudnik plated the first three batters and cut North Carolina’s lead in half, 6-3.
Kanani Cabrales drew a full-count walk to load the bases once more. With two outs, Pierannunzi stepped to the plate and rocked her second home run on the year and the second grand slam this season by a Georgia Tech freshman to give the Jackets the lead 7-6. Colleen Darragh hit the first grand slam this season against Virginia (March 12).
The Tar Heels were poised to tie the game in the fourth inning with two outs and runners on first and second. Johnsky fielded a single in left field and fired home to throw out the lead runner and save the situation.
The Yellow Jackets added to their lead, 9-6, in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a 2-RBI single from Lionberger that scored Rudnik and Pierannunzi.
Ashley Clifton (1-0) earned her first win of the season, going 2.0 innings of relief with two runs on four hits. Cabrales earned her first save of the year, re-entering the game after starting with a combined four runs on seven hits in 5.0 innings pitched.
North Carolina starter Kendra Lynch (1-5) suffered the loss, with seven runs on six hits in 2.1 innings of work.