May 16, 2002
ATLANTA – The honors keeping piling up for the record-setting Georgia Tech softball team, as freshman pitcher Jessica Sallinger and sophomore shortstop Tara Knudsen were named first-team Southeast All-Region selections Wednesday.
The awards were announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, and selections were based on voting by the Southeast region’s head coaches.
Also an All-ACC choice, Knudsen is having one of the top offensive seasons in Tech and conference history. She currently sports a .381 batting average with 16 home runs and 50 runs batted in. Her home run total ties the school and conference record of 16 set by Anne Knobbe in 2000. She now has 21 career homers, which ranks among the conference’s top five. Her RBI total of 50 is currently third on the Tech single-season list.
If the season ended today, Knudsen would rank first on Tech’s single-season walks list (33), second in hits (75), second in slugging percentage (.711) and fourth in on base percentage (.468).
The ACC Rookie of the Year, Sallinger set Tech single-season school records for wins (25-7), strikeouts (287) and complete games (29). Her strikeout total is also the Yellow Jacket career mark. She leads the team with a 1.17 earned run average and has posted 11 shutouts and two no-hitters.
The MVP of the conference tournament, Sallinger tossed every one of Tech’s 23 innings at the 2002 ACC Championship, allowing just one earned run in the process. She picked up three victories, posted a 0.30 ERA and struck out a tournament-record 29 batters in the event. In the nine-inning opening game against Maryland, she fanned a tournament single-game record 13 batters. Sallinger also tossed 17 consecutive scoreless innings, posting shutouts of the Terps and Florida State.
Knudsen and Sallinger are just the third and fourth first-team Southeast All-Region choices in Tech history and first since Laura Williams in 1997. Stephanie Webb also earned the accolade in ’96.
They are two of six ACC players on the first-team. Four more conference standouts were named to second team.
The Jackets, who are making their first-ever NCAA Regional appearance, will face No. 18 Alabama, the region’s No. 2 seed, at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Seminole Softball Complex in Tallahassee, Fla.
2002 SOUTHEAST REGION SOFTBALL TEAMS
FIRST TEAM P – Nicole Myers, Florida Atlantic P – Jessica Sallinger, Georgia Tech 1B – Kim Wendland, Georgia 2B – Brandi Stuart, Florida State 3B – Penny Thompson, UNC Greensboro SS – Tara Knudsen, Georgia Tech C – Natalie Anter, North Carolina UT – Kristin Dennis, Virginia DP – Holly Burris, Stetson OF – Nicole Barber, Georgia OF – Tiffany Tolleson, North Carolina OF – Jania Shinhoster, Central Florida
SECOND TEAM P – Megan Matthews, South Carolina P – Dottie Cup, Central Florida P – Stephanie Belden, Coastal Carolina 1B – Stephanie Dunlap, Charlotte 2B – Holly Lee, Coastal Carolina 3B – Leah Heston, Charlotte SS – Heather Field, Virginia C – Kimmy Carter, Florida State UT – Jessica van der Linden, Florida State DP – Crystal Crews, Georgia Southern OF – Sabrina Isley, Stetson OF – Shannon O’Bryan, Campbell OF – Quinn Porter, North Carolina