The Georgia Tech softball team takes an 11-game win streak into Tallahassee this weekend for a weekend series with the Florida State Seminoles. The two teams will face off on television all weekend as Sunday’s games, beginning at Noon, will be broadcasted on ESPN3 followed by a Monday night 7 p.m. showdown on ESPNU. Michele Smith and Justin Kutcher are on the call Monday.
Tech has won its last 11 games beginning with a 9-1 (5) thumping of Kennesaw State on March 28. Most recently the Jackets have swept Maryland followed up with a doubleheader sweep of Georgia Southern and a 3-2 victory over Georgia State, Wednesday.
During the win streak Tech has been led by Hope Rush, Kelsi Weseman and Alysha Rudnik at the plate. Rush leads all Jackets with a .417 batting average, 10 hits, nine RBI, a double, two homers and five runs scored while walking 11 times and getting hit by a pitch twice.
Weseman has netted nine hits for a .391 batting average, three of them home runs, seven RBI and has scored 15 runs. Weseman leads the team with 12 bases-on-balls and has been hit three times. Rudnik also has 10 hits and has hit for the cycle with two doubles, a triple and three homers and a slugging percentage of .676. She has driven in seven and scored nine.
Tech is 24-44 all-time against Florida State, but is 12-5 in the Sharon Perkins era including a couple of postseason victories and a 5-2 record over the Seminoles when they are ranked in the polls.
This Season: Florida State started the year off winning its first 16 games before falling to Radford at the Hawaii Classic 3-2. The Seminoles bounced back with a sweep of NC State on their return to Tallahassee and after a couple losses to BIG EAST teams Rutgers and USF, FSU reeled off nine more wins before dropping its first ACC games to North Carolina on April 1. FSU is currently 36-8 on the year and 10-2 in conference play. The Seminoles also dropped one to Virginia Tech.
All-Time Series: The two teams have met 68 times in the past with FSU holding a 44-24 series lead. However, Tech is 12-5 in the Sharon Perkins era against Florida State and has won three of the last four. Tech also holds a 5-2 record over the Seminoles when they are ranked.
Tech Hosts Annual Pink Game
On Sunday, April 8, the Georgia Tech softball team hosted its annual pink game to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Normally the softball team, along with other women’s teams on campus donate the money raised at the Pink Game to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, but this year the Jackets have done something a little different.
This year Tech kicked off a month long campaign at the Georgia game (March 14) to raise money for a former Jacket, Amy Hosier, that was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in the fall and is currently undergoing chemotherapy to battle this disease. Amy made her return to Mewborn Field for alumni day and is doing well.
Entering Pink Weekend, Tech raised over 1,000 dollars for Amy, After Pink Day, Tech has raised over 2,700 and still counting. The Yellow Jackets will auction off all of their game worn jerseys in the upcoming weeks with 100 percent of the profit going to Amy’s Angels. Check back with RamblinWreck.com for more information
The women’s tennis team also decided to join in the cause for its annual pink match, raising over 200 dollars for Amy.
RPI-ing It Up
As announced by the NCAA Monday, the Georgia Tech softball team has stayed at No. 32 in the RPI. The Yellow Jackets were introduced at No.35 in the first RPI completed this season but moved up three slots in the second RPI and have remained there thanks to their 11-game win streak.
Tech has taken on 10 teams ranked in the top-27 this season and holds a 4-7 record against those teams with victories coming over Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona and Oregon State.
Player of the Week
Georgia Tech senior, and reigning Player of the Year, Kelsi Weseman has earned two ACC Player of the Week honors this season, a career high. (Last season Weseman only earned one nod).
Weseman was named Player of the Week for the first time after the week of March 19 where Tech earned four wins via a sweep of Boston College and an upset of No. 8 Georgia. Weseman batted .500 as the Yellow Jackets went 4-1 including a sweep of conference foe Boston College and a 2-0 shutout of in-state rival and eighth-ranked Georgia. Weseman also had five RBIs on six hits and scored five runs. She slugged .833 on the week with a double and a home run, and didn’t strike out in her 12 at-bats.
Her second honor came pm April 2nd after a win over Kennesaw State and a sweep of NC State. Weseman hit .625 (5-for-8) and had an on-base percentage of .800 to lead Georgia Tech in both categories. The Hutto, Tex., native hit two home runs, knocked in four, and scored seven runs. She walked five times without striking out as the Jackets improved to 23-16 and 6-3 in ACC play.
Lucky No. 8 … Updated
This year, entering the doubleheader with ULL, the softball team defeated the No. 8 team in the country two different times. First, on the first day of season, the team took out No. 8 Arizona by a 2-1 score. Most recently, the team erased No. 8 Georgia on March 14, shutting out the Dawgs 2-0 at Mewborn Field in Atlanta.
However, the Yellow Jackets fell both times to ULL by 12-11 and 10-2 scores to move to 2-2 on the year against the 8th team in the country. Tech jumped out to a 8-1 lead against the Ragin Cajuns but faltered in the fourth inning giving up eight runs and the lead. The Jackets didn’t stop fighting until the final out as the two teams exchanged leads three times in the final three innings of play.
Some of the GT softball players, and the team as a whole, are ranked in the top-30 of the NCAA.
Rush’s 19 victories this season currently ranks 21st in the country. Eight of her victories were of the shut out variety, which currently ranks 16th in the nation. Her 19 victories this season, combined with her 40 from her first two seasons as a Jacket currently places her in third place on the all-time list with 59 wins. She just over took third from Erin Voeltz who racked up 58 from 2001-04 on Wednesday.
In 33 games, Kelsi Weseman has tallied 28 walks for an average of 0.93 a game which currently ranks 7th in the country. Weseman is the most walked member of the ACC. She did not register an at bat in game two of the series with NC State as the Wolfpack walked her three times and hit her with a pitch in her fourth at bat.
Running Around and Getting Em
The softball team has combined for 83 stolen bases in 46 games for a 1.77 average, 16th in the country. Ashley Thomas leads the team and is 25-for-33 on the year which ranks 40th in the country, followed by Chelsie Thomas (19-for-20, and 66th nationally), Hayley Downs (16-for-17 and 71st nationally), and Kaitlin Kates (8-for-12).
The team has also racked up at least one double play in every two games for an NCAA ranking of 37.
Kate Kuzma is one of the more unselfish players on the Georgia Tech softball team in 2012. The catcher turned left fielder has taken 13 hit by pitches and has walked 23 times this year, including seven games where she was walked multiple times, to put herself on base, and usually in scoring position, for the Jackets.
She is batting .247 this year and has netted 22 hits on the year, eight for extra bases, but her OBP jumps to .464, third on the team behind Weseman and Rush. She has taken advantage of her free passes scoring 26 times.
Kuzma has also laid down nine sacrifice bunts, usually to move Ashley Thomas over, helping her score many of her 36 runs.
Georgia Tech has knocked off four higher-ranked teams in 2012 in six chances, at the Kajikawa Classic, ACC/SEC/Big 12 Challenge, and at Mewborn Field
At the Kajikawa Classic, Tech took down No. 8/8 Arizona 2-1 thanks to a two run single to center by sophomore Alysha Rudnik. On the final day of the tournament, Tech earned a walkoff victory over No. 20/21 Nebraska due in part to a throwing error by the Husker short stop. Tech’s speed on the base paths at the end of the game aided in the victory as freshman Chelsie Thomas came all the way around from first base to score the game winner.
At the ACC/SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Tech took Alabama down to the wire as the two teams battled in what would be a 12-9 victory for the No. 2 team in the country. The nine runs scored were the most any Tech team had ever scored against the Crimson Tide. Following that game, Tech had to turn around immediately and play No. 4 Oklahoma, where it shut out the Sooners, Oklahoma’s first shutout since April 22, 2011, handing OU its first loss of the season.
Tech defeated the No. 8 team in the country for the second time when the Jackets shut out Georgia on Wednesday, March 14 at Mewborn Field by a 2-0 score.
Danielle Dike has filled many roles for the Jackets this season, first base, third base, but is one of the most productive Jackets on the roster, especially as a pinch hitter. Dike is is 3-for-10 in pinch hit opportunities for Tech. All three of her hits have gone for extra bases and have driven in seven runs.
2/11 vs. Cal Poly Two-run double with two outs on the board in the 2nd to give Tech its first lead of the game. Set up a three-run homer by Ashley Thomas
(her first) to break the game wide open.
2/17 vs. Alabama Two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the third. Helped Tech
to regain a 6-5 lead over No. 2 Alabama.
2/19 at Auburn Three-run homer, her first of the season, in the top of the fourth that
gave Tech a brief 5-4 lead over Auburn.
Once again, Tech has demonstrated power in 2012. The team has combined for 39 home runs in 2012 along with 40 doubles and five triples for 191 RBI. In 2011, Tech softball registered an even 100 home runs on the year. Nine different athletes have knocked one out of the park in 2012, led by Kelsi Weseman (9), Hope Rush (7), Alysha Rudnik (7) and Shannon Bear (7). Ashley Thomas had her first career homer against Cal Poly at the Kajikawa Classic, a three run shot, releasing another three-run homer against Elon. (See Chart at left)
Shannon Bear has blasted seven home runs this season. She is currently in second place on the team for roundtrippers, however, Bear has had less opportunity to do so than the other power hitters. In 84 at bats this year, Bear has notched just 13 hits – seven of them home runs. She has also tallied two doubles. Though her batting average is just .155, Bear’s slugging percentage is .429, nearly triple her batting average!
Danielle Dike and Kate Kuzma lead the ACC in hit by pitches this season with 14 and 13 respectively. They also rank 24th and 25th in the NCAA this year. Entering the season Dike had only been hit by a pitch nine times while Kuzma had only been tagged 12 times in three full seasons. The duo has made a game of it and quite often looks at one another when they reach first base to call out the number of times they have been hit. Every Yellow Jacket has been hit at least one time this season … except for Hayley Downs. She has been spared this season, probably a good thing since the last time she was hit she broke her thumb.
ACC Regular Season Champs?
...the ACC coaches think so. The softball team was predicted to win its fourth-straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title, as voted by the league’s head coaches. The Yellow Jackets received five first-place votes and 46 total points. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Jackets are coming off of a 45-12 season where they won the ACC regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight season. Tech heads into 2012 with the return of All-Americans Hope Rush and Kelsi Weseman and All-ACC performer Alysha Rudnik. Tech began the season ranked 23rd in the USA Softball/ESPN poll and was receiving votes in the NFCA/USA today poll.
USA Softball Watch List
Georgia Tech senior shortstop Kelsi Weseman has been selected to the “Watch List” for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announced Wednesday.
Weseman, who is coming off the most productive season of her career, returns to the Tech lineup after batting .424 last spring with 67 hits, 17 doubles, 21 home runs and a slugging percentage of .968, which ranked second nationally.
The Hutto, Texas native earned her first career All-American nod last season, becoming the eighth Tech player to earn the honor and the fifth under the tutelage of head coach Sharon Perkins. Weseman was also named the 2011 ACC Player of the Year, earned All-ACC (first team) accolades for the third-straight season and has been a part of an ACC Championship in each of her three years here on the Flats.
In 2010, former Tech softball player Jen Yee was a finalist for the award while current junior Hope Rush made it to the semi-final round of voting.
The softball team will make at least four appearances on television in 2012. Tech’s home game against Maryland April 8 as well as a Monday night game at Florida State April 16 will be featured on national TV (ESPNU) while the Yellow Jackets’ doubleheader against FSU on April 15 will be broadcast on ESPN3.com