Softball tops Owls, falls to No. 7 FSU

Senior center Emma Kauf goes up to bat against the Kennesaw Owls. Kauf earned two doubles, bringing her closer to Tech’s record for all-time leader for career doubles. // Photo courtesy of GTAA

Tech softball took to the mound four times in the past week, first on Tuesday, March 28 for an in-state square off against Kennesaw State and then for a weekend series against the seventh best team in the country: Florida State. The Jackets traveled to Kennesaw to take on the Owls for a midweek battle where the team secured its fourth mercy-rule victory of the year: 8-0 in the sixth inning. 

The team came into the game riding a rough sweep of losses from battling No. 5 Clemson the week prior, so a bounceback win was important. Senior center Emma Kauf led the way for Tech as she went 3-4 from the plate, including two doubles and four RBIs. Kauf also advanced up in the Tech record books as she took another step closer to becoming the Tech all-time leader for career doubles. She stood tied for fifth with 44 doubles all time after this game. 

Senior pitcher Blake Neleman also went off, pitching the whole game and successfully securing a shutout. She only allowed two hits and joined the 100 strikeouts club for the season, putting forward seven strikeouts in the game and bringing her season total to 101 KOs. 

The Jackets’ successful night from the field thrust them into a big weekend series in Tallahassee, Fla. as the team readied for a big face off with the No. 7 Florida State Seminoles. Looking to knock off one of the best teams in the ACC and find some rhythm in conference play, the team tried their best, but fell just short with a 6-4 loss in the end. In a game that sat with Florida State up 2-0 until the fifth inning, the Jackets found some fight off a three-run bomb from junior slugger Sara Beth Allen. This was Allen’s eighth home run of the season, which leads the team. Tech ran one more home in the inning and held a short but sweet 4-2 lead going into the bottom half of the fifth inning. Florida State responded to the Jackets’ attack and hit home two runs in the next pair of innings, sealing the game at 6-4 in favor of the Seminoles.

The Jackets scared Florida State on their own field and the Seminoles responded to this by not allowing Tech to see the seventh and final inning for the rest of the series. Saturday saw an 8-0 game called in the fifth inning. Sophomore second baseman Grace Connelly was the only player to get a hit on the day as Tech could not find much going from the plate or the mound. The next day proved a similar result as Tech was run-ruled in the sixth inning by a score of 9-1. The Jackets showed fight at the start with an RBI in the top of the second that made the score 2-1. Florida State quickly responded to this though with a three-run bottom of the second performance that put them at a comfortable 5-1 lead. They added on some more runs and finalized the game in the sixth with a shot off the back wall of the stadium that gave them the 9-1 mercy rule edge. 

Tech continues to struggle in ACC play, pushing to a 2-10 record; however, this could be expected with back-to-back-to-back series against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State: the three top teams in the ACC. The team holds a 17-18 overall record and looks to add to the win column this coming week. The Jackets return to Mewborn Field on April 7 at 6 p.m. after a long hiatus for a series with Boston College. The Eagles are a competitive group, but if the Jackets get the bats hot and the pitching going, they should have no problem.