In the last series of the regular season, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (19-25, 11-19 ACC) took all four games from the Virginia Cavaliers softball team (15-33, 10-27 ACC).
Georgia Tech won game one of the series by a score of 7-1, taking advantage of two different three-run innings. UVA got on the board in the first when Arizona Ritchie doubled and Katie Goldberg hit an RBI-single, but that would be the only run the Hoos would score as Georgia Tech’s Blake Neleman pitched a complete game and struck out eight in the win. Kennedy Cowden hit a three-run homer off of losing pitcher Molly Grube in the bottom of the second inning, and then Mallorie Black hit an RBI single and Breanna Roper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth off of Mackenzie Wooten. Kennedy Cowden led the way for her team, going 3-3 with two runs scored and four RBI.
After a low scoring affair to start the game, Georgia Tech piled on six runs in the bottom of the fifth to earn a run-rule 8-0 victory. Mikayla Houge gave up four runs in four innings and took the loss, and Clare Zureich gave up four runs in relief. Morgan Bruce led the Yellow Jackets to victory in a scoreless outing. Breanna Roper hit a two-run homer in her second straight game to put Georgia Tech up in the third inning. The Hoos had runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings, but couldn’t capitalize. Then, the bottom of the fifth came and featured a grand slam from Tricia Awald, four walks, and an error to score the winning run.
Blake Neleman helped Georgia Tech to a 6-2 victory in game three by pitching six innings and giving up just two hits and one run. Aly Rayle took the loss for UVA after allowing three runs, and Mackenzie Wooten, Molly Grube, and Madison Harris pitched in relief. Once again, the Yellow Jackets managed to put up crooked numbers in different innings, scoring three runs in the third and three in the fifth. The third inning featured an RBI double from Breanna Roper and a two-run homer from Emma Kauf, and the fifth had a single from Emma Kauf again and a fielding error that let two runs cross the plate. UVA managed to score in the sixth and seventh innings with a sacrifice fly from Katie Goldberg and a bases-loaded walk earned by Arizona Ritchie, but the six-run deficit was too much to overcome in the late innings.
UVA couldn’t hold the Georgia Tech offense back in game four and fell 6-3 in the series finale. The Yellow Jackets scored two runs on an RBI single from Cameron Stanford, capitalizing on two infield errors. The Hoos were able to bounce back with a two-out rally in the second stringing together a Kate Covington solo homer, a Mikaila Fox single, a Bailey Winscott single, and an Arizona Ritchie two-run double to pull ahead 3-2. The lead was short lived as Georgia Tech tied it up with a sac fly in the bottom of the second and pulled ahead with a Tricia Awald solo homer in the third. Later, they tacked on two insurance runs off of RBI singles from Bianca Mora and Mallorie Black. Mikayla Houge took the loss in 3.1 innings of work and was responsible for four runs. UVA was able to do some damage against Georgia Tech’s Blake Neleman, who had previously dominated during the series, scoring three runs in two innings. However, Morgan Bruce came in to pitch five innings of relief and gave up just one hit to earn the victory.
A major story in this series was the effect of the long ball on the Hoos. Georgia Tech hit a total of six home runs in the series, and they often came with runners on base. 14 of the Yellow Jackets 27 runs came via the long ball, accounting for over half of their run production. Both UVA and Georgia Tech will head into the ACC Tournament next week hoping to extend their seasons as long as possible.