Feb. 13, 2008
Georgia Tech Heads To Tuscaloosa For The Weekend
Georgia Tech (2-2) heads to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for six games this weekend. The Yellow Jackets will play a single-game against #2/2 Alabama (4-0) Thursday night at 8:00 PM ET and then participate in the Hampton Inn Crimson Classic over the weekend.
Tech will face Middle Tennessee State (1-3), New Mexico (2-1) and the Crimson Tide in pool play. Each team is then guaranteed two games in the championship bracket.
All of Tech’s games this weekend will be broadcast online at www.ramblinwreck.com. Fans will need to register for a Georgia Tech All-Access account, but it is free.
All broadcasts will begin 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch and Seth Gerard will handle the play-by-play duties. Live stats will also be available via Gametracker.
Tech is coming off a 2-2 weekend at the Georgia State First Pitch Classic. The Jackets lost a pair Saturday to Lipscomb (11-9) and Georgia St. (11-3), but bounced back to beat Tennessee-Martin (2-0) and Lipscomb (2-1) Sunday.
Jackets vs. The Field
Georgia Tech is 3-6 all-time against Alabama with three of those games coming in the NCAA Tournament. Alabama has won three in a row in the series and Tech’s last win was a 1-0 decision on April 13, 2004 in Atlanta when the Tide was ranked 13th.
Tech’s last win in Tuscaloosa over Alabama was April 26, 2003, a 2-1 victory against the No. 17 Tide in the second game of a doubleheader.
Alabama is 4-0 to start the season after winning the Hampton Inn Bama Bash last weekend. The Tide cruised to wins over South Alabama, Jacksonville State and Purdue twice.
Georgia Tech and Middle Tennessee State will be meeting for just fourth time. The Blue Raiders won two games in the 90’s, but Tech won last year at the Buzz Classic 8-6 on March 4.
Middle Tennessee State went 1-3 on its opening weekend at the Kennesaw State Tournament. The Blue Raiders beat Georgetown, but lost to Tennessee Tech, Mississippi and Kennesaw State.
Tech is 1-0 all-time against New Mexico and defeated the Lobos 11-3 in six innings, also in last year’s Buzz Classic.
The Lobos began the season by taking two of three games from Evansville in a weekend series in Albuquerque.
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 180 of her 206 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 eight games.
She is currently on a five-game hitting streak dating back to last year and needs just three more stolen bases to break the all-time Tech record.
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 also threw out three runners attempting to steal on the weekend and finished with a .333 batting average and five RBI.
Humphreys Picks Up Where She Left Off
After winning a team-best 23 games last year, senior Whitney Humphreys is off to a great start in 2008. The Shady Spring, W. Va., native pitched a five-hit shutout, the eighth of her career, in her first start of the year against Tennessee-Martin on Feb. 10. She walked just one and struck out nine. The nine k’s were the most she has had since fanning a career-high 11 against Iowa on March 4, 2007.
Humphreys ranks third all-time at Tech in wins (50), fifth in shutouts (8), fourth in strikeouts (274), second in strikeouts per game (5.30) and third in opponent batting average (.237).
Barnes Does It Again
After hitting seven home runs last year that either won the game, gave Tech the lead or tied the game late, senior Brittany Barnes did it again on Feb. 10 against Lipscomb.
The Lawrenceville, Ga., native broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning that turned out to be the game-winner.
It was her 21st career home run, in just one-plus season at Tech, moving her into a tie for fifth-place all-time with Caitlin Lever.
Barnes was a second-team all-region selection in 2007 after posting 73 RBI, the second-most in a school single-season and third-most in the NCAA.
Brown And Haller Named To Player of the Year Watch List
The 2008 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 34 schools and 14 different conferences. Haller was selected to the initial watch list last season as well while recent graduate Caitlin Lever was one of 10 finalists in 2007.
Brown and Haller join Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher as the ACC’s representatives while Tech is one of just 15 schools with at least two players on the list.
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) will announce the 25 finalists on April 9. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a Top 25 finalist, but once the Top 25 is named the remaining finalist must be selected from that list. Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 7. The final three finalists will be announced May 21 while the winner of the 2008 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2008 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
In addition, Brown was named a second-team preseason All-American by ESPN.COM.
Morales Closing In On Stolen Bases Record
Senior Aileen Morales needs just three more stolen bases to break Laura Williams’ record at Tech (110). Each of Morales’ three single-season theft tallies thus far rank in the top five all-time.
She had a school-record 44 stolen bases in 2005, 34 last year (the second-most) and 30 in 2006, the fifth-best all-time at Tech.
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 has 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 is currently tied for third on the team with a .364 average. She also has scored two runs and stolen two bases.
Morris Shines In Debut
Weaver was not the only freshman to make a significant impact in Tech’s opening weekend. Freshman pitcher Stephanie Morris went 1-0 in the circle with a 2.23 ERA. She allowed five earned runs over the weekend while striking out 12 and walking just three in 15.2 innings.
The first career win for the Canton, Ga., native was a complete-game, five-hitter against Lipscomb, Feb. 10. Morris allowed one run and one walk with five strikeouts en route to her first career victory.
Don’t Run On The 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 four outfield assists already this season, including three at home plate. Butler had just four outfield assists all of last season.
Three Jackets Gaining International Experience
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.
The Canadian National Team is currently in Las Vegas, Nev. for centralized training and play several games against NCAA competition this spring.
They will then travel to Australia in March to continue their training at the site of the 2000 Olympic Games in Blacktown, Australia, and will play against the Australian and Japanese national teams. April and May are set aside for specialized training before the team re-groups in early June. The exact schedule from that point on is in the process of being finalized but will include the Canada Cup in Surrey, BC from July 12-20.
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.
Yellow Jackets Picked Third In ACC Preseason Poll
Georgia Tech was picked third in the annual ACC preseason poll voted upon by the league’s coaches.
The Yellow Jackets and Florida State were tied for third-place with 45 points. Defending champion Virginia Tech was selected to repeat while North Carolina was picked second, receiving three more points than Tech and FSU. Maryland, NC State, Virginia and Boston College round out the prognostication.