After a strong opening weekend, Tech won four games at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic from Feb. 19-21 in Las Vegas before dropping the finale against No. 11 California. Tech then returned home for its first game at Mewborn Field in 2010 and took down Kennesaw State 8-3.
On Feb. 19, Tech took on No. 21 Northwestern and overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat the Wildcats 9-6. The Jackets were able to get back into the game in the fifth inning. Down 6-4, Tech loaded the bases on a walk and two singles, including the first collegiate hit for freshman designated player Caitlin Jordan. Sophomore shortstop Kelsi Weseman then hit a grand slam to give the Jackets the lead for good.
Later that day, Tech used three home runs in the fourth inning to defeat BYU 10-9 in eight innings. Sophomore right fielder Jessica Sinclair led off the fourth with a home run, and junior catcher Jessica Weaver and second baseman Jen Yee went deep. BYU came back however, and led 6-5 until Yee hit another homer to give the Jackets a 7-6 lead.
The teams continued to trade runs until freshman pitcher Hope Rush hit an RBI single in the eighth inning to give the Jackets a 10-9 lead. Rush then struck out two batters in the bottom half of the inning to secure the win.
After two easy wins on Saturday, Tech took on No. 11 California on Sunday in what turned out to be a low-scoring game. The game was scoreless until Cal’s Valerie Arioto hit a three-run homerun. Cal added another run in the seventh to make the lead 4-0.
Tech looked like they might mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh when Jordan walked to lead off the inning and junior center fielder Christy Jones singled to move a runner into scoring position. Jen Yee barely missed a homer with the next at bat for Tech’s first out. Weseman then singled to left to score one run, but Jones tried to score as well and was thrown out at the plate. Sinclair popped out later in the inning and Tech lost their first game of the season, 4-1.
On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Jackets hosted Kennesaw State in Tech’s first home game of the season. Sophomore pitcher Jessica Coan struck out two batters in the first inning and Rush hit a two-run homer to center field to give the Jackets an early 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, Jordan hit a double to center field that plated two more runs. Rush then hit her second homer of the game, and the sixth of her career, to give Tech a 5-0 lead. KSU cut into Tech’s lead by scoring three runs, but Yee responded with a three-run homer in the sixth to increase the lead to 8-3. Rush recorded her first collegiate save, closing out the Owls for the last two innings.
The Jackets are now 9-1, but they will continue to be tested early this season. Tech travels to Columbus, Ga. on Feb. 26-28 to face five different opponents including No.18 Louisiana-Lafayette.