Softball wins seven straight over spring break

Tech’s offense prepares for action ahead of a pitch at home. The Jackets got hot over spring break, winning seven of eight games and earning two ACC series wins. // Photo courtesy of GT Athletics

The Institute’s softball team racked up wins during the quiet spring break on campus, beginning with a road series in Louisville.

The first game was a high scoring affair where the Jackets accumulated nine hits including two home runs. Sophomore infielder Jin Sileo led the day for Tech going 3–4 with a double on the day and the Jackets managed to score six runs in the first four innings. The Cardinals responded by scoring 11 runs of their own in the fifth and sixth innings, putting the Jackets into a five run deficit. The Jackets only scored two more runs in the seventh, resulting in an 11-8 loss in game one.

The middle game featured dominant performances by junior catcher Emma Kauf and freshman outfielder Ella Edgmon. The two Jackets combined for six hits and five RBIs, including two doubles and an Edgmon home run. The Cardinals again had explosive fifth and sixth innings, scoring five runs, but it was not enough to keep pace with Tech. The Jackets blew the Cardinals out in game two winning 17–5.

The final Louisville matchup for Tech was far more defensive than the prior games. The Jackets struck first in the game when senior infielder Tricia Awald hit a home run in the fourth inning to give the Jackets a 1–0 lead. Tech scored a run on an error to extend the lead to two runs in the seventh. Louisville was able to score in the bottom of the seventh inning with a home run of their own, but freshman pitcher Sophia Voyles shut the Cardinals down in the rest of the frame to earn herself a victory and earn Tech the series win. 

The Jackets then returned home on Tuesday, March 22 to face Dartmouth in a weeknight doubleheader. The first game was one with two dominant pitching performances. Junior Chandler Dennis pitched all 7 innings and only allowed 2 hits, forced 9 strikeouts, and held the Big Green scoreless in the game. Dartmouth pitcher Rachel McCarroll was also on point and the game was scoreless going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore catcher Sarah Beth Allen came to the plate with the Jackets down to their final out and extra innings looming. After accumulating two strikes, Allen was able to knock a hit into center field off the wall and secure the game-winning RBI. 

In the following game, Tech took a 3–0 lead early after an Awald homer and two more runs off Dartmouth errors. Dartmouth responded in the fourth inning by scoring a run of their own. In the fifth inning the Jackets were able to force three walks and hit three singles to score six runs in the inning which was enough to force a 9–1 run-rule victory for the Jackets in the final game of the doubleheader. 

Tech continued ACC play against Syracuse during their weekend series starting Friday, March 25 and through the first four innings it was a scoreless affair. Syracuse scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning and the Jackets responded with two runs of their own off a double by sophomore infielder Mallorie Black. In the following inning Tech took a 4–2 lead after another Black RBI and an RBI driven in by Edgmon. Dennis was able to maintain the lead and give the Jackets a 4–2 win in game one of the series. 

In the series’ second game the Jackets took the lead by scoring three runs across the third and fourth innings. The Orange brought the game back within one after two solo shot home runs, but freshman outfielder Auburn Dupree responded by driving in a run to extend the Tech lead to two runs. Junior pitcher Blake Neleman closed out the game for the Jackets, notching a save and finishing the second 4–2 victory over Syracuse. 

Game three took place on Sunday, March 27 and the Jackets found themselves in a battle. Syracuse scored in the fifth inning on an RBI single after a Tech error. The Jackets responded in the seventh when they were able to tie the game in the final frame 1–1 after a Dupree single and a fielding error to bring the game into extra innings. After going scoreless in the eighth, the Jackets were able to walk off the Orange for the series sweep after loading the bases and having senior outfielder Kennedy Cowden steal home on a wild pitch for the win. 

The Jackets currently find themselves in the middle of the pack in the ACC but went on a seven game winning streak over the final stretch of spring break. Tech received four votes in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll. The next series for the Institute comes on April 1–3 when the team travels to South Bend, Ind. to face Notre Dame.