No. 1 Seed Georgia Tech No-Hits No. 4 Seed North Carolina in ACC Softball Semifinal

May 15, 2010

BLACKSBURG, Va.— ACC Freshman of the Year Hope Rush threw a no-hitter and hit her second home run in two days to lead No. 1 seed Georgia Tech to an 8-0 win over No. 4 seed North Carolina in five innings this afternoon in the second semifinal game of the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship at Tech Softball Park in Blacksburg, Va. The no-hitter was the second of the year for Rush, 16th in the ACC this season, and the fifth no-hitter in championship history.

Freshman designated player Caitlin Jordan hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run, her seventh big fly of the season, in the bottom of the fifth inning to lift Georgia Tech to victory.

The Yellow Jackets improve to 48-9 (19-2 ACC) and advance to tomorrow’s championship game where it will play No. 3 Florida State, which defeated No. 7 seed Virginia Tech, 5-3 in come-from-behind fashion, earlier this afternoon. North Carolina falls to 40-18 (11-10 ACC).

“We didn’t expect it to be a five-inning game,” said ACC Coach of the Year Sharon Perkins of Georgia Tech. “We had a game plan and we stuck to that plan, and the hitters did a good job of swinging at good pitches.”

Rush got all the support she needed in the first inning, including a two-run home run off her own bat, as Georgia Tech tacked on four runs in the opening frame. Following sophomore second-team All-ACC catcher Kate Kuzma’s hit-by-pitch, sophomore first-team All-ACC shortstop Kesli Weseman hit a two-run homer, her 12th of the season. Weseman also doubled in a 2-for-3 day. Rush helped her own cause by driving home junior first-team All-ACC first baseman Kristine Priebe with another two-run long ball, her 20th of the season.

Following a single from Priebe and a walk by Rush, Jordan ended the game with a three-run homer in a pinch hit for junior designated player Kristen Adkins.

Rush walked just one batter en route to her league-leading 27th win of the season.

ACC Pitcher of the Year Danielle Spaulding, who came within one out of throwing a no-hitter in last night’s first round game against NC State, started for North Carolina and gave up eight runs (all earned) on five hits over 4.2 innings. Spaulding fell to 19-4.

The Yellow Jackets, who are making their second straight and seventh overall appearance in the championship game, will face Florida State at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 16. The championship game will be a rematch of the 2009 title contest, in which Georgia Tech defeated the Seminoles, 3-1. The teams also met in the championship game in 1995 and 2004. Florida State holds a 2-1 advantage in such games.

The game will be televised live by CSN Mid-Atlantic, SportsSouth, and FS Carolina, on delay at 4:30 p.m. by FS Florida, and on delay at 5:30 p.m. by NESN. USA Softball Assistant Coach Barbara Jordan and Mike Hogewood have the call.

2010 ACC Softball Championship Semifinals
#4 North Carolina vs. #1 Georgia Tech
Postgame Quotes

Georgia Tech head coach Sharon Perkins

Opening Statement: “We didn’t expect it to be a five-inning game. “We had a game plan and we stuck to that plan, and the hitters did a good job of swinging at good pitches.”

On playing Florida State in the championship game for the second consecutive season: “We played them just a few weeks ago so they’re still pretty fresh in our minds.”

Georgia Tech freshman pitcher Hope Rush

On her performance in the first two games of the championship: “I’m really excited. I’m excited to be here.

“Florida State is a great team and we just have to play our game.”

North Carolina head coach Donna J. Papa

Opening Statement: “Georgia Tech is an incredible team. They have a tremendous amount of power, and [Georgia Tech freshman pitcher] Hope Rush is just phenomenal.”

2010 ACC Softball Championship Semifinals
#4 North Carolina vs. #1 Georgia Tech
Postgame Notes

Georgia Tech… …improves to 48-9 (19-2 ACC), 28-26 all-time against North Carolina, 7-2 against the Tar Heels in the championship, and 29-28 in the championship. …freshman pitcher Hope Rush threw the fifth no-hitter in championship history, and first since current North Carolina senior pitcher Danielle Spaulding did it in 2008. It was the second no-hitter for Rush and the 16th in the ACC this season. …Rush also hit her 20th home run of the season and earned her league-leading 27th victory (27-6). …sophomore shortstop Kelsi Weseman hit her 12th home run of the season. …freshman Caitlin Jordan hit her seventh home run of the season. …advances to the championship game for the seventh time in school history. …will play Florida State in the championship game for the second consecutive year and fourth time overall (1995, 2004). …is 1-2 against Florida State in the championship game.

North Carolina… …falls to 40-18 (11-10 ACC), 26-28 all-time against Georgia Tech, 2-7 against the Yellow Jackets in the championship, and 21-33 all-time in the championship. …we no-hit for the first time in the championship. …senior pitcher Danielle Spaulding was tagged with the loss to fall to 19-4.