No. 10 Softball victorious in six straight at home

After their disappointing home loss to UGA, the Tech softball team hosted a weekend series against ACC rival Virginia. Tech swept the series and in doing so, won their fourteenth consecutive ACC series dating back to last season.

On Saturday April 10, No. 10/6 Tech hosted two games against the Cavaliers and won the first game 5-2.

Game one turned out to be a pitcher’s duel as both teams elected to start their freshmen pitchers. Freshmen Hope Rush (19-4) for Tech and Melanie Mitchell for UVA silenced their opponent’s bats until the fifth inning.

In the fifth, junior center fielder Christy Jones got on base with a one-out slap single. Jones then stole second base, which opened up first base for UVA to walk redshirt senior second baseman Jen Yee. Sophomore catcher Kate Kuzma followed by hitting a sacrifice fly that allowed Jones to hustle to third base. With second base open, Yee stole second to get Tech two runners in scoring position for junior first baseman Kristine Priebe. Priebe hit the first pitch she saw into left field scoring two runs for the Jackets. Rush plated Priebe with a two-out double to give Tech a 3-0 lead heading into the sixth inning.

UVA scored two runs in the sixth inning to trim Tech’s lead to one, but Tech managed to get the runs back in the bottom of the inning. In the sixth, sophomore right fielder Jessica Sinclair led off with a triple, and Jones hit a sac fly to score her form third. With the bases cleared, UVA decided to pitch to Yee and she made them pay with her twentieth homer of the season.

In Saturday’s game two, Tech struck first when Rush hit her 12th homer of the season to give the Jackets a 1-0 lead after two innings.

Tech continued to score in the third inning. Yee led off with a single and proceeded to steal second base. Kuzma followed her with an RBI double that gave Tech a 2-0 cushion.

Junior pitcher Kristen Adkins threw five scoreless innings for the Jackets, but struggled in the sixth inning. With already two runners on base and nobody out, Adkins walked the next batter she faced on four pitches to load the bases. Adkins could not find the zone with the next batter she faced and also walked her on four pitches to score UVA’s first run.

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Coan relieved Adkins and did her best to minimize the damage. UVA scored two runs off of Coan to take their first lead of the series 3-2.

Down a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Yee led off with her 21st homer of the season to tie the game at three. After a quick out, sophomore shortstop Kelsi Weseman doubled and Priebe hit a game-winning homer to clinch the series with one game still left to play.

On Sunday April 11, Tech wrapped up the series with UVA with a 8-0 win.

In the first inning, Yee led off with a walk and advanced to third on a steal and a sac bunt by Kuzma. Weseman plated Yee with a double, and Priebe followed with her 11th homer of the season to give the Jackets an early 3-0 lead.

The Jackets continued to hit well early in the game when Kuzma hit a three-run homer to give Tech a 6-0 lead.

The lead would be enough for starter Coan. She pitched a gem: five innings, zero runs, two hits, and six strikeouts.

On Tuesday April 13, Tech wrapped up its home stand with a double-header against Georgia Southern. Tech pounded the Eagles 14-2 in the first game and needed late inning heroics to win game two 5-4.

In game one, Coan added to her impressive pitching resume with four perfect innings before being relieved by freshman pitcher Rachel Glazebrook. Coan’s performance was exceptional considering that she did not have to be perfect in order to get the victory.

Tech jumped out to a quick 11-0 lead in the first inning. Tech had their ideal start to the frame as Yee singled, stole second, and Priebe doubled to give Tech an early lead. Later in the inning, Rush walked to load the bases and sophomore third baseman Danielle Dike was hit by a pitch to score another run. After a few more RBI singles and hit batters, Rush hit a three-run double to cap off the big inning.

The Jackets added two runs in the second and Yee hit a homer in the fourth inning to put the score at 14-2.

In the second game, both pitchers threw the ball well and the game was scoreless until the third inning. Yee hit a double that just missed being a homer by a few feet and Weseman drove her home with a single.

The Jackets did not have lead for long as GSU struck for three runs in the fourth inning. A couple of Tech errors and weak singles gave GSU a 3-1 lead.

Rush entered the game in relief and gave up one run in the fifth inning to give GSU a three-run cushion.

In the bottom of the fifth, Jones led off with a single and promptly stole second base. GSU elected to walk Yee and Kuzma bunted both runners up 90 feet. Weseman hit a single to score both runners but Tech was unable to tie the game and had to settle with a 4-3 deficit.

Just like the fifth, Jones led off the seventh with a single, followed by a Yee walk, and a Kuzma sacrifice. Weseman was walked setting up a force at any base, but Priebe was hit by a pitch to tie the game at four.

Rush came up to bat with a chance to end the game, and a single to left field gave the Jackets a 5-4 victory.

On April 14, Tech traveled to Kennesaw State for a non-conference game and won their sixth game in a row 7-3.

The game started off slow as both pitchers were in control of their pitches. Rush would not allow a run until the fifth inning but by that time it was too late for Kennesaw.

Tech scored their first run in the fourth inning when Kuzma drew a walk to lead off the inning. Rush was then intentionally walked to put Kuzma at second base and Sinclair homered to give Tech a 3-0 lead.

Tech continued scoring runs in the fifth inning. Yee led off with a single and Kuzma was hit by a pitch moving Yee to second. Priebe singled to load the bases and Rush hit a grand slam to help herself to a 7-0 lead.

Rush would allow three runs in the bottom of the fifth to trim Tech’s lead to four but Tech was able to hang on for the win.

Rush finished the game with three hits allowed, only one earned run, and five strikeouts.