Feb. 24, 2005
Atlanta – Georgia Tech softball is set to play in the NFCA Leadoff Classic this weekend in Columbus, Ga. The Yellow Jackets will face Michigan and Southern Illinois on Friday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 respectively before taking on South Carolina on Saturday at 10 a.m. Bracket play for the tournament is scheduled to begin Saturday afternoon, with semifinals and finals on Sunday.
The 13/15th-ranked Yellow Jackets tied a school record with their 13th-straight win last Sunday, defeating Evansville, 1-0, in the title game of the Lady Panther Invitational. Tech will try and set a new school record against No. 8 Michigan in the opening game for the Jackets of the NFCA Leadoff Classic by starting the season 14-0. The Jackets are hitting .313 as a team and are outscoring their opponents 72-14 during the 13-game winning streak.
Tech is currently ranked 13th according to the ESPN.com Top 25 poll and 15th in the latest NFCA rankings. The rankings mark the highest softball rankings in Georgia Tech history.
The NFCA Leadoff Classic
Last season marked the first Tech participated in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Jackets went 2-1 in pool play defeating Nebraska, 1-0, and Virginia Tech, 6-5, before dropping a 3-1 decision to Michigan.
In bracket play, the Rambling Wreck made it to the Silver Medal title game with wins over DePaul, 5-1, and Fresno State, 9-1 (5), before falling in the title game to Notre Dame, 2-1.
The eighth-ranked Wolverines enter the weekend on an eight-game winning streak. U of M has most of its team back from last year’s Big Ten championship squad. Tech and Michigan have only met once at last year’s Leadoff Classic with the Wolverines defeating the Yellow Jackets, 3-1.
Michigan won the Florida Atlantic Tournament a week after Tech won the FAU Worth Invitational. The Wolverines defeated NC State and Pittsburgh, 3-0, Rutgers, 8-0 (5), and FAU 12-3 (6). In the title game, the Maize and Blue downed Florida Atlantic, 9-1, in five innings.
Jennie Ritter leads U of M in the circle. Ritter is 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA and has 40 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. At the plate, Tiffany Haas is hitting .563, with five doubles, one home run and six runs batted in.
Scouting Southern Illinois
The Salukis hold a 3-1 advantage over the Rambling Wreck. In the last meeting, SIU downed the Jackets 1-0 at the 2002 FAU Worth Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla.
Southern Illinois is 3-4 on the season with losses to then-No. 1 California, 1-0, and No. 14 Florida, 4-3. SIU’s Amy Harre was the No. 1 pick in the NPF Senior Draft earlier this month. Kelly Creek leads the offensive attack with a .476 average and seven RBIs.
Scouting South Carolina
The Yellow Jackets have never beaten the Gamecocks in 19 tries. The last meeting came at the 2003 Gamecock Invitational were USC routed Tech, 8-0, in five innings.
The Gamecocks are off to an 8-6 start. USC dropped a 4-2 decision to then-No. 18 Florida State. Jessica Barnes leads USC in the circle with 40 K’s in 44 2/3 innings pitched. Meghan Cornett leads the Gamecocks with a .419 average, with two doubles, one triple and five RBIs.
Live stats and results will be available on www.ramblinwreck.com.