April 27, 2008
ATLANTA – Freshman Jessica Weaver hit the go-ahead home run in each game as Georgia Tech (30-28, 9-11 ACC) completed the weekend sweep of Maryland (34-18, 6-12) at Glenn Field. Weaver’s blast in the fourth inning of yesterday’s 4-2 suspended game turned out to the game-winner when play resumed after a 67-minute rain delay today. She then led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run to give the Yellow Jackets a 4-3 win in the scheduled series finale.
Georgia Tech was 10-21 on March 21, but will end the regular season over .500 for the first time. Senior Whitney Humphreys (18-14) picked up a save in the suspended game and then battled through a complete-game win in Sunday’s series finale. She threw 137 pitches, but got out of some big jams and gave the Jackets the win. She also picked up a save in the suspended game after junior Tiffany Johnson hurled six strong innings.
Junior Whitney Haller hit a two-run home run in the suspended game that tied the game at two in the third inning. It was the 49th of her career tying NC State’s Jen Chamberlin atop the ACC record books. Junior Blair Shimandle had a two-run triple and scored on an error providing the rest of the offense in game three. Maryland battled back to tie the game in the top of the fifth until Weaver’s game-winner in the sixth inning, her 10th round-tripper of the season.
After being suspended at 4:49 PM Saturday afternoon, the two teams tried to pick it up at Noon today before the scheduled 1:00 p.m. game, but heavy rain moved in right before the pitcher’s were set to warm-up. The tarp went back on the field and finally after 67 minutes play resumed again.
The Yellow Jackets were retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning as Maryland came up for its final crack. Senior Whitney Humphreys came in for the seventh inning after junior Tiffany Johnson worked six strong innings. The Terps got a pair of singles in the inning, but Humphreys was able to get out of the inning and propel the Jackets over the .500 mark at 29-28 for the first time this season.
Maryland scored a run in the top of the first inning to take a quick 1-0 lead on Tech junior Tiffany Johnson. With a runner on second and two outs, Brittany Bessho hit a high chopper over the head of Haller at first and it landed just fair down the right field line for a RBI single.
Georgia Tech had a chance in the bottom of the first and Morales and Haller were both about with two outs on walks, but Maryland pitcher Lindsey Wright got Barnes to ground out and end the inning. Barnes did not go down without a fight, however, as she was eventually retired after a 10-pitch at bat.
In the second inning, things got very interesting. After Julie Lofland was hit by a Johnson pitch putting two on with just one out, Tech head coach Sharon Perkins came out to argue that it was a foul ball and was eventually thrown out of the game for the second time in her career. Then in the bottom of the second inning, Wright hit both freshmen Amanda Crow and Jessica Weaver to start the inning. Butler bunted them into scoring position, but freshman Christy Jones ran into some bad luck. She had a hard slap to the left side that was snared by Maryland third baseman Devon Williams. Williams was able to apply the tag on Crow and get the inning-ending double-play.
Maryland made it a 2-0 game when Bessho hit a two-out solo home run in the top of the third. It was her fifth round-tripper of the season.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Yellow Jackets came back to tie the game as Haller continued her assault on the school and ACC record books. With Shimandle aboard after singling with one out, Haller came up two batters later and smashed a two-run home run over the left field. It was her second of the day, 10th of the season and 49th in her career tying her with NC State’s Jen Chamberlin atop the ACC charts.
Tech then took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Weaver crushed a one-out solo home run to left field. It was her ninth of the season and gave the Yellow Jackets a 3-2 lead.
Johnson worked a 1-2-3 top of the fifth and after Wright plunked Morales with the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth inning, game one starter Dooley entered the game in relief. Morales stole second base, her 43rd of the season, and scored later in the inning on a RBI ground out by Brown giving Tech a big insurance run heading to the sixth inning.
Johnson walked two batters with one out in the top of the sixth but was able to get out of the jam once again. The two teams had been dodging severe thunderstorms in the area all day, but not any more. Tech officials and the umpires decided to pull the teams off the field and put the tarp on the field. Due to the forecast for severe weather the remainder of the day, officials decided a half hour later to suspend the game.
Johnson (5-4) allowed two earned runs on three hits and four walks as she improved to 2-0 since returning from a six-week injury absence. Johnson did record two strikeouts. Humphreys picked up her second save of the season as she pitched a scoreless seventh inning allowing two hits. Wright took the loss for Maryland as she was charged with four earned runs on three hits and two walks in four innings pitched. Dooley allowed a hit and two walks in two scoreless innings of relief.
Game three of the series started off in frustrating fashion for the Jackets. Dooley hit three batters in the first inning and the Jackets had the bases loaded with just one out but were unable to score. Morales did steal her 44th base of the season tying her own Georgia Tech single-season record. She set that record in her freshman season of 2005.
In the bottom of the second inning, Shimandle came through with a clutch two-out hit. With senior Stephanie Butler and freshman Christy Jones both aboard with infield singles, Shimandle laced a ball into the gap in left-centerfield. Butler and Jones easily scored and when Maryland shortstop Alex Schultz threw the relay throw into the Georgia Tech dugout, Shimandle scored the third Maryland run.
Pitching with a 3-0 lead, Humphreys allowed a bloop single and then hit a batter putting two on with one out but again was able to get out of the jam as opponents are hitting less than .200 against her with runners on base and almost .300 with them empty.
Maryland got one of the runs back in the top of the fifth inning as Breanna Shaw crushed a one-out solo home run over the fence in left-centerfield. For Shaw, it was her first home run of the season. Then in the top of the fifth, the Terrapins really made Humphreys labor and were able to come up with the equalizers. Maryland had runners at first and second with nobody out and then second and third with one out when Humphreys got the Terps’ top hitter, Sarde Stewart to fly out to Shimandle in shallow right field. Brittany Bessho, however, came up with the big at bat in the inning. After falling behind Humphreys 0-2, she fouled off several tough pitches and eventually worked a 12-pitch walk to load the bases. Shaw then came up with the bases loaded and two outs and came through with another clutch hit. She lined a double down the left-field line driving in a pair if runs to tie the game at three. Humphreys get Meghan Booth on a ground out to third base for the third out of the inning with two runners still in scoring position.
It looked like the Yellow Jackets had something cooking in the bottom of the fifth as back-to-back one-out singles by Brown and Haller put runners on first and second with one out. The hit for Haller extended her hitting streak to 10 games. Dooley came back though to get Barnes on a mid-range fly ball to center and then made a nice stab on a come-backer by Crow that nearly got over her head and into centerfield.
Humphreys, who was over 100 pitches through the first five innings, was looking for an easy top of the sixth and got just that. She returned the side on just 10 pitches and the Yellow Jacket offense came back out in the bottom half of the frame looking for the go-ahead run.
Weaver led off the inning and took a 3-2 pitch over the fence in right field for her 10th home run of the season. Weaver, coincidentally, hit the go-ahead home run in the fourth inning of yesterday’s suspended game that was completed earlier this afternoon. Dooley got out of the inning without any more damage, but Georgia Tech now took a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning.
It was not easy for Humphreys in the seventh, but she got out of a bases loaded, two-out mess to secure the win. She is now 18-14 on the season after allowing three earned runs on eight hits and two walks. She had one strikeout and threw 137 pitches, but was able to get out jams when needed. Dooley (15-13) took the loss for the Terrapins as she was charged with four runs (three earned) on seven hits and no walks. She fanned eight.
The Yellow Jackets will now have a week off before heading up to College Park, Md., for the 2008 ACC Tournament, May 8-11. For updated information on the Yellow Jackets in the ACC Tournament including the first round opponent and game time as soon as it is known, as well as the postseason media guide and more, please visit www.ramblinwreck.com.