The Tech softball team hosted UGA on Wednesday, April 7, in front of a full capacity crowd of 1,500 at Melbourne Field. The game featured two teams both ranked in the top 20 in the nation with Tech No. 6 and UGA No. 12. UGA mounted a seventh-inning comeback and came away with the victory, 5-4.
Freshman pitcher Hope Rush started the game for the Jackets and got into trouble early by allowing an infield single to the first batter she faced, UGA center fielder Taylor Schlopy. Rush settled down and got the next two batters to fly out before Schlopy attempted to steal second base. Tech sophomore catcher Kate Kuzma attempted to throw out Schlopy at second, but there was no one covering base and the throw sailed into center field. Schlopy took advantage of Kuzma’s error and raced to third, but a powerful throw might have retired Schlopy had her back not intercepted it, blocking the catch that could have put her out. Schlopy scored and gave UGA a quick 1-0 lead.
Tech wasted no time answering UGA’s early lead as redshirt senior second baseman Jen Yee walked to lead off the bottom of the first. Yee promptly stole second base, and Kuzma bunted her to third. UGA pitcher Sarah McCloud hit sophomore shortstop Kelsi Weseman to give Tech runners on the corners. Weseman decided to steal second and this time, UGA’s catcher made a throwing error to score Yee from third, tying the game at one. Another UGA error loaded the bases, and Rush added an RBI to give Tech a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the second, Rush again got into early trouble with a one-out walk but Rush got out of the jam thanks to an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
In the home half of the second, Yee pulled the ball down the line for a one-out double. Kuzma followed suit with a double of her own scoring Yee from second. Another UGA error allowed Weseman to get to first base, and moved Kuzma over to third.
McCloud then hit another Tech batter with a slow curve ball to load the bases. McCloud was able to settle down as she struck out freshman third baseman Caitlin Jordan, and Rush flied out to end the inning.
Rush started the third inning with a strikeout but then allowed UGA to load the bases. With only one out, UGA looked to take the lead away from the Jackets. However, Rush got out of the inning by recording another strikeout and inducing a fly out.
Tech looked poised to add to their 3-1 lead in the third inning when sophomore third baseman Danielle Dike tripled with only one out. Head Coach Sharon Perkins then took out Dike in favor of freshman pinch runner Kelly Delashmit, but the move proved to be unproductive as Delashmit was thrown out on a fielder’s choice. Yee walked again but Tech was unable to get her home.
The fourth inning passed without any major scoreboard changes but UGA struck for another run in the top of the fifth inning. Rush made a terrific play by stabbing a line drive for out number one, but then gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. A sacrifice fly scored Schlopy for her second run of the game.
Tech could not add to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, and sophomore right fielder Jessica Sinclair made a great diving catch to end the top of the sixth inning.
“[The catch] was amazing. It’s the same catch she makes every day in practice so it was pretty phenomenal,” said Perkins after the game.
Junior center fielder Christy Jones led off the bottom of the sixth inning with an opposite field single and then stole second base to give Tech a runner in scoring position. Yee was then hit by a pitch and Kuzma followed with a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position. Weseman grounded out to first but in doing so scored Jones from third to give Tech the lead at 4-2.
Rush had a two-run cushion going into the seventh, but yet another hit by Schlopy got Rush into trouble to start the inning. Rush walked a batter to bring the go-ahead run to the plate.
The hitter, catcher Ashley Razey, blasted a three-run homer to deep center field to give UGA the lead.
Tech came up to bat in the home half of the inning and they were retired in order to give UGA the victory 5-4.
On April 2 and 3, Tech hosted a series against ACC rival Virginia Tech and swept the Hokies by a combined score of 27-3.
On Friday, the Jackets blasted Virginia Tech in the first game of the day 15-1 and won 3-1 in game two. Junior first baseman Kristine Priebe went 4-6 with a homer and six RBIs. Jones, Yee, and Weseman all had three hits to lead the Jackets to two wins.
In the circle, Rush pitched her second no-hitter of the season in game one and sophomore pitcher Jessica Coan struck out 11 batters in the later game.
Priebe carried over her strong hitting performance on Friday into Saturday’s game. She had two home runs including a grand slam to give the Jackets a 9-1 win, finishing off the sweep.