THE FLATS – Georgia Tech softball (1-3) fell inches short of a comeback on Saturday afternoon, falling to No. 11 Alabama (5-0), 5-1 at Mewborn Field. A would-be seventh inning grand slam from Grace Connelly was robbed at the outfield wall, resulting in a double play to help Alabama close the door on its fifth win of the weekend.
- Senior RHP Blake Neleman made her first start of the 2024 season and 84th as a Yellow Jacket.
- The Marietta product is seven starts away from tying Whitney Humphreys for the fifth most in program history.
- Junior Kinsey Norton entered the game in the fourth inning, throwing 2.1 innings of scoreless ball before giving way to sophomore Jaidyn Studebaker for the final 1.2 innings of work.
- Studebaker recorded a pair of strikeouts in the seventh inning, marking her first collegiate multi-strikeout appearance.
- Sophomore catcher Reese Hunter recorded the Jackets first hit of the game, ending Alabama’s pitcher’s 12.0 inning hitless streak.
- Senior SS Jin Sileo recorded the first double play of the season in the 4th inning, making a diving catch just in front of 2nd base before throwing to Abby Hughes for the out at first after the runner had failed to tag.
- It was the 24th career double play from Sileo.
- Senior Sara Beth Allen nearly registered her first homerun of the year, sending the ball careening off the top of the wall in right center in the bottom of the 7th The resulting single extends her hit streak to four-games. It’s the second longest hitting streak of her career, after recording five-game hitting streaks twice last season.
- Hughes tallied the third hit for the Jackets, also in the seventh inning. She has made at least one hit in three of her first four games this season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Neleman got the ball to start the game, only allowing one baserunner through her first two innings of work. A single down the line drove home the first Alabama run in the third inning. Neleman would leave the game in the top of the fourth after giving up her fourth hit of the game. Norton came on in relief and immediately got her first strikeout against her first batter, battling back from down 3-1 in the count to do so. Norton would allow two more baserunners via hits before Sileo’s diving catch led to a double play to end the inning with just the 2-0 deficit.
Norton continued to receive strong support from her fielders in the next inning, as Connelly made a diving stop on a hard-hit ball up the middle to end the fifth. Norton would collect her seventh out of the day in the top of the sixth before Studebaker took over. The inning ended with another phenomenal defensive effort from Sileo, who ranged to her right to collect a sharply hit grounder before firing across the diamond for the final out of the inning with Tech still just two runs down.
The seventh inning was one for the books. Rain descended upon Mewborn Field after Alabama’s first two batters reached base, leading to a slippery ball and difficult pitching conditions for Studebaker. The sophomore stayed in the fight, striking out two Tide batters despite surrendering three insurance runs. When all was said and done, the Jackets headed to the bottom of the seventh down five runs. Once at the plate, Allen and Hughes singled on full counts before Mallorie Black worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Connelly connected on a long flyball to right field, only for the Alabama outfielder to make a leaping catch, robbing a potential grand slam. Allen came home to score on the sacrifice fly, but the Tide collected its second out at second after the Tech runner failed to tag. Alabama would close the door one batter later, taking the game by a final score of 5-1.
With inclement weather in the forecast for tomorrow, Georgia Tech and Longwood have agreed to move the start time of their doubleheader to 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mewborn Field with game two beginning at approximately 1 p.m. The games will be streamed live on ACCNX.
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