2007 ACC Softball Championship: Georgia Tech Eliminates Host Florida State
May 12, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Georgia Tech tallied eight hits and a used a first inning three-run home run from senior outfielder Caitlin Lever to eliminate host Florida State, 7-3, in the third day of the 2007 ACC Softball Tournament Saturday at the JoAnne Graf Field. With the victory, the Yellow Jackets advance to Sunday's championship game.
"We did a great job answering back in the bottom of the first inning," said head coach Sharon Perkins. "We had great at bats all the way through the game. We are excited to be in the ACC Championship game now and will try to accomplish one of our regular season goals."
With the victory, the Yellow Jackets improved to a school single-season record 53-13 overall mark, while also extending a school record 19-game win streak. The Seminoles went to 44-23 and await an opportunity for an at-large bid to NCAA Regionals.
Georgia Tech now advances to its third ACC Softball Tournament title game appearance in the last four years and will face either Virginia Tech or North Carolina Sunday at Noon. The Hokies and Tar Heels battle for that coveted spot Saturday afternoon.
Georgia Tech senior pitcher Sarah Wood was credited with the win as she threw for over three innings, facing 16 batters in the contest. Wood owns a 12-1 winning record, while Tiffany Johnson picked up her fifth save of the season for the Jackets.
Sophomore Jennifer Yee, one of eight Tech players to collect hits in the winning effort, extended her hitting streak to a career-high 18 consecutive games, going 1-for-3 on the afternoon.
Florida State got on the board in the top of the first inning as shortstop Yuruby Alicart doubled to center field, sending right fielder Monica Montez across home plate. Montez, who was walked by Georgia Tech starting pitcher Whitney Humphreys, earned the first run of the day and gave the Seminoles a quick one-run advantage.
The Yellow Jackets would not allow the home team to walk away from the first inning without a rally, which was highlighted by Lever's 11th home run of the season. With the homer, the Georgia Tech standout improved her runs batted in count to 60 for 2007. Lever's slugger brought in teammates Savannah Brown and Jennifer Lee and pushed the Yellow Jackets ahead of the Seminoles, 3-1.
Following two innings with four hits and five runners left on base, Georgia Tech extended its lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Leading off the squad was third baseman Brittany Barnes, who singled to left field, while designated player Kristina Hull reached on a hit by pitch. Right fielder Blair Shimandle advanced the pair of Tech runners, despite grabbing an out on first with her sacrifice bunt.
Daisy Paez, pinch hitting for Stephanie Butler, singled to right field and scored Kelly Eppinger, who was pinch running for Barnes. Hull registered the next run for the Yellow Jackets, crossing the plate on Aileen Morales' groundout to short.
Florida State continued to fight and added two more runs, both coming off wild pitches in the fifth and sixth stanzas. Seminole third baseman Michelle Snyder, who walked on base and advanced and scored on a pair of wild pitches, chipped away at the Georgia Tech lead in the top of the fifth inning, while Gilmore did the same in the sixth. Gilmore got on base with a fielder's choice and advanced on teammate and designated player Whitney Buckmon's single.
The bottom of the fifth proved another hot offensive inning for the Jackets as the ball club added two more runs of their own. First baseman Whitney Haller singled to shortstop, followed by catcher Savannah Brown's single up the middle. The Jackets loaded the bases with a walk and then FSU recorded the first out of the inning with a force out at the plate. With one out and the bases loaded, Brown crossed home plate on a walk. Georgia Tech scored another run on a Seminole error.
"We are disappointed to be out of the tournament," FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. "We felt that being home we had a great shot to win. I thought we kept fighting the whole game, we just didn't take advantage of our scoring opportunities. Give credit to Georgia Tech, they got the big hits when they had runners on and that was the difference."
Fans may watch live coverage of this year's ACC Tournament on ACCSelect.com. For more information on the ACC Spring Championships, visit TheACC.com.