CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Big fifth innings propelled Georgia Tech softball (14-7, 3-0 ACC) to a series sweep of Virginia (8-17, 0-3 ACC) on Saturday, capturing both wins of the doubleheader. The Jackets took game one in five innings at 18-9 before sealing the sweep with an 8-5 win of the series finale.
The Jackets clinched the series with the win in game one, the first time since 2013 that Tech has opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with a series win, also against Virginia. The run-rule victory in game one was the Jackets’ fourth of the season, tying the total from last season. The last ACC series sweep for the Jackets was at Virginia in 2015 and the last time the Jackets opened ACC play with a series sweep was against NC State in 2011.
The Jackets totaled 15 runs in the fifth inning on Saturday to take the win.
Head coach Aileen Morales says:
“This was a great way to open conference play and I am proud of the fight we showed all weekend. Throughout the lineup we had hitters execute in pressure situations and were able to come from behind to close out the last game.”
Game 1: GT 18, UVA 9 (5)
The Jackets made it onto the board first. Freshman Breanna Roper drew a walk to lead off the game. Freshman Cameron Stanford followed up with a walk as well, advancing Roper to second. A passed ball sent Roper to third and an error by the catcher on the same play brought her home giving Tech the first lead of the game at 1-0.
Left-handed pitcher freshman Naomi Dickerson got the start in the circle. She gave up two singles to land runners at first and second. A double from Virginia scored the runner from second, tying the game at 1-1. With a runner on second and third, another single plated another and the Cavaliers took over the lead at 2-1.
The Cavaliers added another to their tally in the second, using a single and a double to make the score 3-1.
The Jackets responded in the third. Back at the top of the order, Roper led off with another walk, her fifth straight having walked four times on Friday. Stanford reached on a fielder’s choice with Roper out at second on the play. Senior Draven Sonnon sent her third home run of the season over center field, scoring Stanford and tying the game at 3-3.
The White and Gold took back the lead in the top of the fourth after holding the score at 3-3 through the third. Junior Kaylee Ellebracht doubled to left center and advanced to third on an infield single from Roper. A wild pitch during Stanford’s at bat, brought in Ellebracht and moved Roper to second, retaking the lead at 4-3. Stanford singled to advance Roper to third. Sonnon tripled to right center to score Roper and Stanford, pushing the lead to 6-3. Junior Katie Krzus reached on an error, plating Sonnon from third. Freshman Lilly Hooper singled to left field, moving Krzus to second. The Cavaliers made a pitching change and sophomore Crosby Huckabay singled to left field to plate Krzus for the Jackets’ eighth tally. Tech would take the field leading 8-3.
The Cavaliers responded in the next frame, adding three off a double and a single to bring the score to 8-6.
Despite the sub-40 temperatures, Tech’s bats stayed hot in the fifth. Sophomore Rebecca Prairie led off the inning with a single through the left side. Senior Kelsey Chisholm drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Roper sent a triple up the middle, plating Prairie and Chisholm to bring the tally to 10-6. Stanford doubled to right center, bringing home Roper. With Stanford at second, Krzus singled to center field to plate Stanford and bring the score to 12-6. Hooper took a pitch to the body to reach base and Huckabay drew her second-straight walk to load the bases. In her second at bat of the inning, Prairie drew a walk, bringing in Krzus. Ellebracht singled through the left side, driving home Hooper to make the score 14-6. Chisholm came up to the plate and with the bases loaded and a full count, hit a grand slam over left center to plate Huckabay, Prairie and Ellebracht. It was Chisholm’s second career grand slam. Her first came in 2015 against Nebraska. Tech put up 10 in the fifth to take the field with the score at 18-6.
The Cavaliers added three in the bottom of the fifth but Tech held on for the run-rule win at 18-9. Dickerson came away with the win, pitching a complete game in the circle for the Jackets.
Game 2: GT 8, UVA 5
Virginia got on the board first. Senior Emily Anderson gave up a double and a single to let the Cavaliers on the board at 1-0 in the bottom of the first. The Cavaliers plated three unearned runs in the bottom of the second to go up 4-0 on the Jackets through two.
Unable to get on the board through three, Tech made some changes on defense. Senior Malea Bell came in at second in the seven spot, moving Hooper to third and sending Huckabay to the designated player slot. The adjustments seemed to help and the Jackets made their way onto the board in the fourth. Krzus drew a walk to lead off the inning. Hooper and Huckabay hit back-to-back singles to right field to load the bases. Ellebracht drew a walk, bringing in Krzus from third to make the score 4-1.
The Cavaliers responded, adding a fifth to their tally in the bottom of the fourth off a double and a single.
The Jackets had another big fifth inning, knocking out two home runs and putting five on the board. Trailing 5-1, Stanford led off the inning with a solo shot over center field for her fourth home run of the season. Sonnon singled up the middle to reach base. Back-to-back errors by the Cavaliers plated Sonnon and landed Hooper and Krzus at second and third, respectively. With two runners on, Huckabay sent the second pitch she saw over left center for a three-run home run, taking the lead for the Jackets at 6-5.
Tech held onto the 6-5 lead going into the seventh. Bell drew a walk to reach base, advancing to third on a ground-rule double off the bat of Ellebracht. Chisholm loaded the bases with a walk and sophomore Sydney Stavro entered at first to pinch run. Back-to-back walks from Roper and Stanford, brought in Bell and Ellebracht to push Tech’s lead to 8-5.
Anderson held off the Cavaliers in the bottom half of the seventh for the win, her 10th of the season.
Tech returns to The Flats to host No. 13 Alabama in for a midweek matchup on Wednesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.