Georgia Tech Softball: Jackets Split in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The Georgia Tech Softball team won two of their last three games of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, splitting their challenge against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Iowa Hawekyes.

After dropping their weekend opener to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Friday night, the Georgia Tech softball team finished off their weekend strong.

The Yellow Jackets won two of their last three games of the weekend, including sweeping a doubleheader of Nebraska and Iowa on Saturday.

During that doubleheader, the Yellow Jackets pitching staff really shined, allowing just one run over 12 innings pitched. Against Nebraska on Saturday afternoon, Morgan Bruce had her best start of the season, pitching a complete game and allowing one run. She only allowed six hits over her seven innings of work while also allowing two walks while striking out three.

Against Nebraska offensively, centerfielder Cameron Stanford was once again the Jackets star. The junior picked up two more RBI against the Cornhuskers going 2-for-3 at the plate while also walking once. Freshman catcher Emma Kauf also was solid going 2-for-4 with two RBI while also hitting her second career home run. The Jackets took down Nebraska early on Saturday 7-1.

In Saturday’s second game against Iowa, freshman Blake Neleman had a stellar start pitching her first complete game and throwing her first shutout as a Yellow Jacket. Neleman was nearly unhittable on Saturday evening, allowing just one hit over five innings of work. She allowed just two base runners total, with just one walk on the evening. She also struck out eight in the complete game effort. At the plate against Iowa on Saturday, the Jackets carried over their hot bats from their first game of the day, collecting seven hits on their way to eight runs, they also walked six times in the process. Emma Kauf picked up her second home run of the day and third of the season while senior Crosby Huckabay picked up three RBI in the game. Tech would win game two easily, by a final score of 8-0.

After a strong Saturday, their best day of the season by far, the Yellow Jackets suffered as setback on Sunday against Iowa. The Yellow Jackets would be on the receiving end of a strong pitching performance. Despite getting six hits and walking three times, the Jackets were not able to push any runs across the plate. On the mound, sophomore Lexi Ray got the start and allowed four hits and one run in two innings pitched. Freshman Palmer Pinholster got hit around in her two innings of work following Ray, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. Senior Brooke Barfield was the last pitcher on the mound for the Jackets on Sunday, pitching two innings herself. She pitched well in those pair of innings, allowing just a walk. The Jackets would fall 5-0 to the Hawkeyes to end their weekend.

Overall, splitting the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is a good start for the Yellow Jackets in order to get some momentum as the season goes on. Their opening weekend was definitely a disappointment and losing to Nebraska to start the Challenge was tough as well, moving their record to 1-4 on the season. Picking up two wins on Saturday got the Jackets some momentum and while you would’ve liked to see them take the final three games, going .500 is respectable over the entire weekend is respectable.

The Yellow Jackets will look to get back in the win column and improve to 4-5 on Wednesday evening. The Jackets will be going on the road for a quick trip to take on crosstown rival, the Georgia State Panthers. First pitch for the game is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.. It will be the first of six games that the Yellow Jackets have scheduled for this week and weekend.