Feb. 13, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore Kristen Adkins had a win and a save and sophomore Caroline Hilton’s first career home run was a grand slam to lead the Georgia Tech softball team (5-1) to a pair of wins at the Florida Lipton Invitational. The Yellow Jackets beat Florida Atlantic (4-2) 13-2 in five innings during game one and then took down South Alabama (2-5) 5-2 in the night cap.
Adkins (3-0) allowed one run on three hits for the win over FAU and then pitched a scoreless seventh inning of relief vs. South Alabama for her first career save. Senior Tiffany Johnson (2-1) battled through six innings for the win. She gave up two runs on four hits.
Hilton blew open the FAU game with a pinch-hit, two-out grand slam on a 3-2 pitch for her first career home run. Senior Whitney Haller went 3-for-8 with a home run and five RBI extending her hitting streak to eight games. She is now three RBI away from breaking former teammate Savannah Brown’s Georgia Tech and ACC RBI record.
Sophomore Christy Jones was 4-for-6 with two stolen bases, while junior Jen Yee also added four hits and scored three runs. Freshman Kelsi Weseman had three hits and three RBI, while Johnson and senior Blair Shimandle had two hits apiece.
In game one against Florida Atlantic, the Yellow Jackets scored early and often to chase starting pitcher Rose Gressley from the game after just one-plus inning of work. Senior Blair Shimandle led off the game with a single and was sacrificed to second base by sophomore Christy Jones. Senior Whitney Haller gave the Jackets a 2-0 lead as she hit a two-run home run to left field, her team-high third round-tripper of the season.
Sophomore Kristen Adkins hit a batter in the first inning, but was able to get out of the inning when Caitlyn Bliss hit into a double-play.
In the top of the second, freshman Jessica Sinclair walked and then went to third base when senior Tiffany Johnson doubled off the center field wall. That spelled the end of the morning for Gressley, who came into the game with a 2-0 record and an ERA under one. Amber Barton entered the game in relief and was able to keep the Jackets off the scoreboard with three straight ground ball outs.
In the bottom of the second inning, Adkins worked around a one-out walk and a single setting the stage for a six-run Tech top half of the third. Yee led off the inning with a double into the alley in left-center field and went to third base on a single by Weseman. With freshman Kate Kuzma at the plate, Barton un-corked a wild pitch allowing Yee to score Tech’s fourth run on the game.
Kuzma ended up working a walk and then sophomore Jessica Weaver reached on an error loading the bases with nobody out. Tech ran into a little bad luck when Johnson ripped a line drive to shortstop that turned into a double-play. FAU shortstop Blair Bodenmiller picked the ball about a foot off the ground and threw to third base doubling off Weseman who had no time to react since the ball was hit so hard.
After Shimandle walked re-loading the bases, the stage was set for Hilton’s dramatics. On a 3-2 pitch, Hilton hit a foul pop-up back behind the plate. FAU catcher Kerri Croney was there, but dropped the ball giving Hilton another life. She took advantage and two pitches later drilled a grand slam over the wall in left for her first career home run.
FAU got on the board in the bottom of the third inning as Bliss delivered a RBI double, but the Jackets struck for four more runs in the top of the fifth inning to put the game away. Haller had a two-run triple moving her within four RBI of former teammate Savannah Brown’s ACC and Tech RBI record. Weseman accounted for the other two runs with a two-RBI double.
Bliss recorded a RBI triple off Tech freshman reliever Jessica Coan in the bottom of the fifth but that would the final score. Coan, pitching in relief for the fourth time this season, struck out the side in the fifth.
Adkins (3-0) scattered three hits over four innings as she gave up one run while walking one and striking out four.
Game two was scoreless until the Jackets broke out for four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Weseman led off the winning by reaching on an error and went to third base when sophomore Jessica Weaver blooped a single down the right-field line. After freshman pinch runner Shannon Bear stole second base, Adkins walked loading the bases with one out. Johnson helped herself with a two-run double that went to the wall in left field. Two batters later, Jones made it a 3-0 game with a two-out, RBI single. Haller then extended her hitting streak to eight games with a RBI single to right. The inning ended, however, when South Alabama right fielder Katie McGuire threw behind Haller and she was tagged out. The umpires ruled that Haller started towards second base and was called out to end the inning.
South Alabama began to ship away with a single run in the third and fourth innings thanks to solo home runs off the bats of McGuire and Kait Chernomaz.
Tech added an insurance run in the fifth inning when freshman Kate Kuzma drew a bases loaded walk.
In the top of the sixth inning, Johnson gave up a leadoff walk and went to a 3-0 count on the next batter, but was bale to get out of the inning without any damage. Adkins came in to pitch a scoreless seventh inning and the Jackets hung to complete the 2-0 day.
The 2009 Lipton Invitational continues through Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium on the campus of the University of Florida. The Yellow Jackets will play Texas Tech (10:15 a.m.) and Coastal Carolina (7:15 p.m.) on Saturday and then close out the weekend against No. 2/2 Florida on Sunday. Live audio and stats of every game will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com free of charge.