May 17, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Despite a two-hitter from sophomore Jessica Sallinger, the Georgia Tech softball team (38-25) fell to No. 3 seed Massachusetts, 2-0, in a NCAA Regional elimination game at the Alabama Softball Complex. The loss ends the Jackets’ season, while the Minutewomen (39-14) advance to face the loser of Saturday’s Alabama-Southern Illinois contest.
Sallinger (22-17) went seven innings, allowed just the two hits and one walk. She also struck out eight batters, giving her 337 in 2003 to equal her own single-season school record of a year ago.
UMass took a 1-0 lead in the second on a home run to left by third baseman Katie Jo Kelley, who also homered in the Minutewomen’s win over Illinois Friday. The hit was the first allowed by Tech pitching in 15.1 innings, as Sallinger and Erin Voeltz tossed no-hitters in each of the last two Yellow Jacket wins. In all, Tech allowed just two hits over its last 21 innings played at the Regional tournament.
The Minutewomen added an unearned run in the fifth to push the lead to 2-0. Pinch runner KC Budrewicz came home when Tech shortstop Tara Knudsen bobbled a two-out grounder from UMass right fielder Anna Perey. Budrewicz came on to run for Kelley, who led off the inning with a walk. She was then sacrificed to second and took third on a based ball before scoring.
Tech’s only hit over the game’s first five innings was a first inning single to left center from Knudsen. Left fielder Kirin Kumar singled up the middle to lead off the sixth, and Knudsen later singled to right to give Tech two runners on base, but Holtz struck out the side to end the Yellow Jacket rally.
Sallinger carried a one-hitter into the seventh before Minutewomen center fielder Aisha Franke singled up the middle. She was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
UMass starter Kaila Holtz (23-8) went the distance for the win. She struck out nine and allowed just three hits.
Knudsen led the Yellow Jacket offense with two hits. She hit safely in each of the last three games of the Regional.
The only Atlantic Coast Conference team alive Saturday, Tech concludes the year with 38 wins, which ties the 1991 season for the second-most in school history. The Jackets won 52 games a year ago. After Saturday’s loss, Tech’s NCAA Regional record over the last two seasons falls to 5-4.