April 23, 2008
ATLANTA – Junior Whitney Haller hit her 47th career home run breaking Tara Knudsen’s school record as the Georgia Tech Softball Team (27-28) swept a doubleheader from Georgia State (31-16) 9-1 in five innings and 4-1 Wednesday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets hit six home runs on the day led by senior Brittany Barnes who had two and now has a team-high 11 on the season. Haller, senior Savannah Brown and freshmen Jessica Weaver and Amanda Crow also accounted for the long balls. The home run for Crow was the first of her career. Brown was 3-for-3 with three RBI to lead the offense in game one, while Barnes was 2-for-3 with two runs scored in game two.
Senior Whitney Humphreys won for the eighth time in her last nine starts as she pitched a two-hitter in game one. Game two saw junior Tiffany Johnson start for the first time since early March as she returned from injury and toss a five-hitter with three strikeouts. Tech out-hit the Panthers 15-7 on the day as the two teams played the two games in less than three hours. Haller is now atop the Georgia Tech record books with 47 home runs and can set her sights on the ACC mark of 49 which is held by NC State’s Jen Chamberlin. Brown, however, is right on Haller’s heels as she now has 45 career dingers.
After senior Whitney Humphreys worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the first inning of game one, the Yellow Jackets scored four times in the bottom of the frame. With one out, junior Blair Shimandle just missed her second home run of the season, but settled for a double as her opposite field shot hit the top of the fence in left field. She scored one batter later when senior Savannah Brown singled into left-center field.
Brown, who was able to take second base on the throw home, moved to third base on a passed ball and scored two batters later when senior Brittany Barnes blasted a two-run home run to left-centerfield, her team-high 10th of the year. Freshman Amanda Crow made it back-to-back blasts as she sent a 0-1 pitch over the fence in right field for her first career home run. Freshman Jessica Weaver was robbed of a hit when Georgia State shortstop Rachel Cunningham made a leaping grab of her line drive, but the damage was done. Georgia Tech had a 4-0 lead against Georgia State pitcher Ashley Cowan heading to the second inning.
It always seems like whenever a player makes a great play in the field they lead off the next inning and it was no different today. Cunningham led off the Panther second inning with a solo home run, her third of the season, but Humphreys got the next three batters to end the inning without any further damage.
Brown made it a 5-1 game in the third when she hit the Jackets third home run of the game, a solo shot to right field. For Brown, it was her eighth of the season and 45th of her career moving her just one behind junior Whitney Haller and Tara Knudsen atop the school’s record books.
The Yellow Jackets ended the game with four more runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by Haller’s record-breaking homer, to enforce the run-rule. Morales and Shimandle got it going with infield singles and then stole second and third base, respectively, to put two in scoring position with nobody out. A run scoring single by Brown, her third hit and RBI of the game, marked the end of the day for Cowan. Elizabeth Thomas came in, but did not last long. She quickly served up the three-run home run to Haller which broke Tara Knudsen’s Georgia tech record of 46. It was a no-doubter for Haller as it was still rising when it soared over the fence in left-centerfield and promptly ended the game at 9-1.
Humphreys (16-14) won her eighth game in her last nine starts as she allowed just one run on two hits. She walked three and struck out one. Cowan (7-5) took the loss as she was charged with eight earned runs on eight hits and a walk. Thomas did not record an out and was charged with one run on one hit.
In game two, it was the Panthers who jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Natasha Berry hit a two-out solo hoe run off Tech junior Tiffany Johnson. The lead was short-lived for the Panthers, however, as Tech scored three times in the bottom of the second inning. Barnes just missed her second home run of the day as she sent a towering fly ball out to left-center field that hit the top of the fence. It bounced away from both the left and centerfielders and Barnes slid in safely at third base with the second triple of her career. She scored one batter later when Crown dumped a single into center field and then Weaver made it 3-1 with a two-run home run to left field. For Weaver, it was her eighth round-tripper of the season.
In the top of the fourth inning, Georgia State had runners at first and second with one out and then the bases loaded and two outs, but Johnson got Rebecca Roles to ground out weakly to Crow at second base ending the inning.
Tech was held off the scoreboard thanks to a pair of double plays turned by the Panthers defense in the fifth and sixth innings. In the top of the seventh, Johnson worked around a one-out walk and was able to retire the side. She improved to 4-4 on the season as she scattered five hits and three walks. Johnson fanned three as well.
Gore (11-7) took the loss for the Panthers as she was charged with four earned runs on six hits and no walks. She had one strikeout.
The Yellow Jacket offense took advantage of the momentum from the defense as Barnes hit a monstrous home run on the first pitch from Madi Gore to start the bottom of the fourth inning. It was her second round-tripper of the day and 11th of the season. Gore would retire the next three Tech batters, but it was now 4-1 heading to the fifth.
The Yellow Jackets will close out the regular season with a big three-game series against Maryland at Glenn Field. Prior to Saturday’s 1:15 p.m. first pitch, the six Georgia Tech seniors will be honored. Both Tech and Maryland are tied with six league wins apiece and will play a doubleheader Saturday followed by a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Live stats for all three games will be available via Gametracker at www.ramblinwreck.com.