2007 ACC Softball Championship: Georgia Tech Tops Maryland 5-1 in Tournament Opener
May 10, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Georgia Tech used a pair of two-run innings and an early home run to down Maryland 5-1 in the first game of the 2007 ACC Softball Tournament at the JoAnne Graf Field on the campus of the Florida State University.
"Our offense came out and set the tone early," said Georgia Tech head coach Sharon Perkins. "We did all three phases of the game well today, offense, defense and pitching. Sarah (Wood) pitched a great game and I'm proud of our team's effort."
Sophomore Whitney Haller led off the offensive action in this year's ACC tournament for Georgia Tech as the first baseman struck a home run to right center field in the bottom of the first inning. The 2007 ESPN.com Preseason All American tallied her 15th homer of the season and 39th of her career. With the hit, Haller, who broke the single-season ACC record for home runs as a freshman last season, tied for second in league history for career home runs.
Leftfielder Stephanie Butler started the bottom of the third for the Jackets as the freshman singled to third, beating the toss off a bunt. Teammate and shortstop Aileen Morales then reached on a fielder's choice, while Butler was sent to the dugout from Terps' second baseman Keri Lounge. Morales picked up the second out for Georgia Tech, leaving the base early, yet second baseman Jennifer Yee singled to left field and stole second.
With Haller at bat, Yee's single opened a two-run inning as the first baseman singled, advanced to second and eventually third on an error by Maryland centerfielder Alex Schultz. Bringing home Yee, Haller tabbed her 62nd RBI of the season and 134th of her career. Rounding out the scoring drive for the Jackets and two outs showing on the board, was catcher Savannah Brown, who singled up the middle, sending Haller to the plate.
The Jackets continued to dominate the first game of the four-day tournament, tallying another two-run effort in the bottom of the sixth. Leading off the inning, designated hitter Kristina Hull doubled to centerfield, followed by right fielder Blair Shimandle, who grounded out to short stop, advancing Hull to third.
Perkins inserted pinch hitter Daisy Paez, who took an on-base effort by balls. Yet it was Niagara sophomore transfer Yee, who doubled down the right field line en route to Hull scoring and improving the Jackets' advantage to 4-0. With two runners on base and two outs showing, Maryland pitcher Meredith Nelles threw a wild pitch, advancing Yee and sending Butler, who returned to play for DH Paez, across the plate.
Closing the scoring drought for the Terrapins was catcher Jennifer Wellborn, who walked and was sent to second off of teammate and third baseman Brittany Bessho's single. With a wild pitch from Sarah Wood, who registered six solid innings of work, put designated hitter Sarde Steward on base and sent Wellborn to third. Leftfielder Devon Williams grounded out; however, Wellborn put the Terps on the scoreboard.
Of note, Georgia Tech reliever Tiffany Johnson picked up her fourth save of the season.
Wood improves to 11-1 on the season for the Yellow Jackets, which bettered their season mark to 51-13, while Maryland falls to 32-25. Georgia Tech advances to face the winner of the No. 7 seed Boston College and No. 2 seed NC State, tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET. Maryland will play consolation tonight at 8 p.m., against the runner-up of the Eagles/Wolfpack match-up.