Tech’s Softball team fell just one game short of winning the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. over the weekend, beating Florida Atlantic, South Alabama and Texas Tech, before falling to No. 2 Florida in the championship game. The Jackets now sit at 6-2 for the season.
In the first game, the Jackets were able to roll by Florida Atlantic, clipping the Owls 13-2 in five innings. Sophomore pitcher Kristen Adkins picked up her third win of the season. Adkins gave up just three hits and one run in four innings of work and held Florida Atlantic to only 17 at-bats. Freshman pitcher Jessica Coan came in for the fifth to close out the game, giving up the second run of the game for the Owls.
Senior outfielder Blair Shimandle led off the game with a single up the middle. After senior infielder Christy Jones pulled off a sacrifice bunt to move Shimandle to second, senior first baseman Whitney Haller homered, picking up the first two Tech runs of the game. Freshman shortstop Kelsi Weseman also picked up an RBI in the first inning when she picked up a double to bring in junior second baseman Jen Yee.
The Jackets started the offense back up in the third when Yee led off the inning with a double. After Yee advanced to third off a Weseman hit, the second baseman scored off of a wild pitch. Weseman would score later in the inning off a walk. Sophomore catcher Caroline Hilton hit a grand slam later in the inning to cap off the six-run third for the Jackets. The Jackets put the game out of reach for the Owls in the fifth, picking up four more runs off of three hits.
Hilton and Haller led the Jackets with four RBIs apiece. Yee and Weseman each garnered three hit with Yee leading the Jackets with three runs scored.
Tech got its fifth win of the season later on Friday when the Jackets beat South Alabama 5-2 and advanced to 2-0 in the tournament.
Senior pitcher Tiffany Jones won her second game of the season giving up two runs off of four hits. The senior pitched six innings in her outing and knocked three strikeouts. Adkins got the save.
After a slow offensive start for both teams, the game remained scoreless going into the bottom of the second. Weseman reached first off an error to lead off the inning. Sophomore catcher Jessica Weaver then singled down the right-field line. Freshman infielder Shannon Bear came in to pinch run for Weaver. After Bear stole second and Adkins walked, Johnson hit a double into left center off of the first pitch to knock in two runs for the Jackets and break the stalemate.
Two batters later, Jones singled, allowing Adkins to score. Haller’s single during the next at bat brought in Johnson for the final of four runs for the Jackets in the second.
While South Alabama was able to score one run in each of the next two innings, it was not enough as the Jackets added one more run in the fifth to end the game with a three run lead.
Jones led Tech with three hits and Johnson’s two RBIs in the second were the most by any Tech player for the game. Different Jackets scored all five of the runs.
In their third game of the invitational, the Jackets beat the Red Raiders from Texas Tech, 8-1. This was the first time in the 22-year history of Tech softball that the Jackets had ever taken on the Red Raiders.
Adkins got the win from the circle for the Jackets, pitching a complete game. The sophomore gave up only seven hits and one run. Adkins also notched two strikeouts for the day for her fourth win of the season.
As in the second game, both teams got off to a slow offensive start. Tech was the first to get on the board, when, in the top of the third, Shimandle picked up an RBI when Johnson scored from third base. Johnson picked up a triple in the previous at-bat. After Jones bunted to get on base and Haller was hit by a pitch, Yee hit the second triple of the inning to score the two runners and move the score to 3-0. Yee went on to score the fourth run of the inning off of an error.
In the fifth inning the Jackets earned another run when Jones scored off a Weseman sacrifice ground out. Bear would score later in the inning off a wild pitch. In the sixth, freshman third baseman Danielle Dike hit a solo shot over the right field wall to take the score 7-0. The Red raiders scored their only run in the bottom of the sixth, and the Jackets added a late run in the top of the seventh to retake the seven point lead.
Yee had a standout performance for the Jackets with two hits, two runs and two RBIs for the game.
The last game of the tournament did not go as smoothly for the Jackets as the previous three. After Saturday night’s game against Coastal Carolina was rained-out, the Jackets took on No. 2 Florida and were unable to keep up with Gators falling on Sunday, 11-1.
Coan took the loss from the circle for the Jackets in her first start of her college career. She gave up six runs off of six hits in her two innings of work. Johnson also had little success against the Gators giving up six more hits and five more runs. The game was ended early when third baseman Corrie Brooks hit a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting the Jackets down by 10 with less than two innings to play.
The Jackets only run of the game came in the fourth when Johnson knocked in junior outfielder Kelly Eppinger, who was pinch running for Haller.
The Jackets are on the road again this weekend to participate in the Cathedral City Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Tech will play UNLV and Loyola Marymount today, Oregon and Cal Poly tomorrow, and will close out the tournament on Sunday against Oregon State.