May 16, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Freshman Jessica Sallinger struck out 13 and allowed only one run over 10 innings pitched to lead fifth-seeded Georgia Tech to a 3-1 victory over second-seeded Alabama in the first round of the NCAA Region 8 Softball Tournament. The Yellow Jackets scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning to gain the victory. The teams played to a scoreless tie through the first seven regulation innings and each team scored once in their respective half of the eighth inning.
Georgia Tech advances to play the winner of Thursday’s Florida State vs. Auburn game Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Crimson Tide faces top-seeded Florida Atlantic in a Thursday night elimination game. Florida Atlantic lost to Chattanooga, 3-0, in Thursday’s first game.
Sallinger’s 13 strikeouts were one shy of her career-high of 14 that she has accomplished four times this season. The ACC Rookie of the Year, Sallinger earned her 30th complete game (in 32 starts) and struck out double figures batters for the 12th time this season.
Georgia Tech freshman first baseman Katie Donovan landed the big hit of the tenth inning – a two RBI single that scored third baseman Jamie Frost and left fielder Kirin Kumar. Frost led off the inning with a single to left field and Kumar reached base on a throwing error by Tide first baseman Jackie McClain. Donovan was stranded at second base as junior catcher Lindsay Wood lined into a double play to end the inning.
Alabama did not go quietly in the bottom of the tenth. Freshman center fielder Jackie Wilkins began the inning with a single to left. After second baseman Suzanne Olcott flied out to right field, McClain laced a double to right to put runners at second and third. Sallinger then struck out freshman right fielder Ashley Courtney and got junior catcher Lacy Prejean to pop to short to end the game.
Alabama nearly won the game in the bottom of the eighth inning after tying the game at one on a run scoring double by Olcott. The Crimson Tide loaded the bases on Olcott’s double and two walks when Prejean came to the plate with one out. Prejean took an inside pitch and was initially awarded first baseman as a hit batsman. After a lengthy discussion amongst the umpiring crew, it was determined that the pitch struck Prejean’s bat before hitting her hand and it was ruled a foul ball. She then grounded into a fielder’s choice and Olcott was called out at home.
“From what I saw, I thought it hit her, and she took her base,” said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. She (the home plate umpire) asked for help and went to the base umpires and they determined it hit her bat and hit her arm. So when she (Prejean) came back, I said ‘Lacy, tell me the truth’ and she said it hit my bat and hit my arm. I said ‘OK, good call, blue.’ And that’s all we needed.”