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May 10, 2012
CHAPEL HILL N.C. (theACC.com) - Third-seeded Georgia Tech connected on three home runs and held off a late rally to beat No. 6 Virginia, 6-4, in the first game of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship at Anderson Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Trailing 6-0 entering the seventh inning, the Cavaliers scored four runs on three hits and two walks before Georgia Tech junior Hope Rush induced a fly out to center with two runners in scoring position to get the win for the Jackets.
With the victory, Georgia Tech improves to 34-21 and advances to the semifinal round where it will face either seventh-seeded NC State or second-seeded Florida State. The Jackets get revenge after being eliminated by Virginia last year, 6-0, in the first round of the ACC Championship in Atlanta, Ga. Virginia falls to 26-25 this season and 29-36 all-time in the tournament.
The Yellow Jackets grabbed the early lead in the first inning. With two outs, Ashley Rudnik hit the scoreboard in left field for her ninth home run of the season, driving in Kate Kuzma from second and giving Tech a 2-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Shannon Bear connected on her ninth home run of the season to lead off the inning and Georgia Tech added two more in the frame to increase the lead to 5-0. Pitcher Hope Rush added an insurance run in the sixth for the Jackets with a deep bomb over the centerfield fence.
In the top of the seventh, Rachel Gillen and Karli Johnson led off the inning with back-to-back home runs to get the Cavaliers on the board, the first career home run for both players. Two walks then came around to cross the plate on a hit and an error to bring the score to 6-4.
Rush threw a complete game, allowing five hits and three earned runs to improve to 23-12 this season. Melanie Mitchell (19-13) recorded the loss for the Cavaliers.
The two teams combined for five home runs, tying for the ACC Championship single-game record. The previous mark was set in 2006, the last time the event was held in Chapel Hill, N.C.