ATLANTA (Feb. 9) – Georgia Tech’s softball team opens its 2000 campaign with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday at Georgia Southern. The Jackets opened the 1999 season there also and split a doubleheader by losing the first game 4-2 and winning the second game 3-2. Tech is 20-10 all-time against the Eagles.
“We are excited to open the season and get underway,” said second-year head coach Kate Madden. “We have practiced for three weeks and I believe we are ready to play. It will be nice to begin live competition and see where we are at this point. Georgia Southern is always a solid team and it is a good way to open.”
Tech, which was 22-38 last year, will be led by senior Anne Knobbe (Brea, Calif.), who finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting average at .362 and was first in home runs with 10 and RBI with 62. She finished 11th nationally in RBI per game at 1.05 and became the ACC leader in career home runs with 23. The Jackets will rely on senior Heather Sumrow (.343, Humble, Texas) in leftfield, senior Lauren Schwartz (.332, Atlanta, Ga.) and sophomore Kori Jacobson (.304, Chandler, Ariz.) in rightfield. Sumrow and Schwartz return to the top of the order, having scored 170 career runs between them. Jacobson was second on the team in RBI with 21 and stolen bases with seven last year.
Junior Abby Bickford (Roseville, Calif.) returns to patrol first base, where she batted .240 and fielded .980 last year. Sophomore Jamie Frost (Eugene, Ore.) is back at third base after starting all 60 games there and has become a solid defensive factor after contributing 142 assists last season. Freshman Lindsay Wood (Marietta, Ga.), who was the Georgia AAAA state player of the year last season, has won the starting shortstop position and hit third for Tech during the fall practice season. Second base is still to be decided between junior Erin Hawley (.298, Cerritos, Calif.), junior Ellen Styer (.268, Dublin, Calif.) and senior Beth Warren (.301, El Dorado Hills, Calif.).
Tech’s pitching staff this year will consist freshman Tiffany Goodman (Pleaston, Calif.) and senior Jamie Smith (Salem, Ore.). Goodman will probably open as Tech’s No. 1 pitcher and arrives on the Flats after posting a 26-4 record and striking out 269 batters last year at Foothill High School. Smith, who relies on off-speed pitches and location, has a 28-23 career record and will be a complimentary contrast to the hard-throwing Goodman.
Following this weekend’s games, Tech travels to Auburn Feb. 15 for a 1 p.m. game, and then participates in the Triangle Classic in Raleigh, N.C., February 18-20.