On Friday, Feb. 11, the Tech softball team traveled to Clermont, Fla. for a three-day tournament against three teams. The tournament marked the first games for the defending ACC champions, and the Jackets returned home boasting a 5-0 record.
Tech looked rusty in the team’s first game of the day on Friday, but still managed to defeat Florida Atlantic, 3-2. The Jackets used their momentum from the first game to defeat Chattanooga 6-1 in the day’s second game.
The big story for the Jackets on Friday was the play of true freshman third baseman Alysha Rudnik. Rudnik went three-for-three including two doubles in her first collegiate game of her career and followed that performance with a two-for-four performance.
Rudnik hit from the all-important three spot in Tech’s lineup in both games, but the freshman showed her versatility in the field when she started game two from behind home plate.
“I was pretty excited to get out there. We had a whole month of practice, and that can get pretty boring after a while. I was just looking to get some good at-bats… some good contact, and it just worked out really well,” Rudnik said.
Tech’s first game looked to be a high-scoring affair as the teams combined for three runs in the first inning of the game. Down one run in the third inning, Rudnik and senior first baseman Kristene Preibe homered in back-to-back at bats to give Tech the lead for good.
Priebe finished the game one-for-two with two RBIs, and she finished the day with three RBIs.
Tech got defensive support from sophomore pitcher Hope Rush who hurled a complete game with only two earned runs. Rush struck out three of her last six batters faced to give the Jackets’ their first win of the season.
Junior shortstop Kelsi Weseman and junior third baseman Danielle Dike led the Jackets in their Friday night game as both players hit homeruns and combined to drive in four runs.
Senior pitcher Kristen Adkins had a strong showing in her first game of the season pitching six innings of two-hit ball.
Tech also might have found a potential third starter as freshman Lindsey Anderson came in during the seventh inning to preserve a 6-1 win.
The two pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts and only three walks.
Day two went just as well, if not better, for the Jackets who beat Fordham and Chattanooga by a combined score of 12-1.
Tech’s offense led the way on Saturday as Tech bats combined for 23 hits and 10 extra-base hits. By comparison, Tech’s two opponents on the day managed just nine hits against Tech’s trio of Rush, Adkins and Anderson.
Tech’s three pitchers threw 15 strikeouts on the day as Rush got her second win of the season and Anderson got her first collegiate win. Adkins came in out of the bullpen in both games and recorded her first save of the season against Chattanooga.
Rudnik drove in three runs in Tech’s first win of the day against Fordham, and Dike added her second home run of the season in the rout.
Tech led 3-0 in game two versus Chattanooga until the Mocs scored their first run of the game in the fifth inning.
Tech answered in the sixth when Rush hit a homer and freshman second baseman Ashley Thomas hit a triple to extend Tech’s lead to 6-1.
In the tournament’s final game, Tech scored three runs in the game’s first three innings but failed to score for the remainder of the game. The Jackets did not need the run support as Adkins threw five shutout innings and Anderson closed the game out with a two-inning save.
Tech’s offense was held in check for most of the game, but Tech got most of its run support in the third inning when Rudnik led off the inning with a single. Priebe homered to plate two runs in what would be the difference in the game as the Jackets hung on, 3-1, to win the tournament.
The Jackets stay in Fla. for next weekend’s Felsberg Memorial Tournament against four teams, including host school Florida International.
Tech finishes with its tournament schedule after they return home from Miami to face off in two road games against Kennesaw State and Georgia State. Tech’s first home game is March 2 against Niagara.