#32 Georgia Tech Softball Preview

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
Georgia Tech College Softball Top 44 Team Preview
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Since arriving from Georgia in 2007, head coach Sharon Perkins has had the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on a positive trajectory.  Though they had their lowest win total since 2008 (37) and finished third in ACC regular season, the club managed to win its third ACC Tournament title in the last four years, eventually losing  twice to South Alabama at the Tuscaloosa Regional.  Coach Perkins has lined up a challenging schedule for her experienced team that did lose two of their top hitters to graduation.  The 2013 campaign will have the seven returning starters squaring off against 12 teams that made the NCAA post season in 2012, three reached the Super Regionals.

2012: 37-23, 12-8
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Sharon Perkins, 7th Season

Field Players:
Junior catcher Alysha Rudik played all 60 of her team’s games in 2012, hit .289, was third on the team with nine home runs and made just five errors in 277 chances to tally a .985 fielding percentage. Hayley Downs, a junior outfielder, also started every game, struck out just six times in 114 at bats and stole 17 bases.  Sophomore outfielder Katie Johnsky hit .256 last season and was third on the team with seven doubles.

All-ACC selectee Hope Rush comes back for her senior season after going 26-12 with 40 starts.  Ranked 17 nationally with 10 shutouts, she hurled 31 complete games and struck out 146.  Rush finished with a 2.58 ERA.  At the plate she hit 11 home runs, second on her team and was third with a .309 batting average.  Kylie Kleinschmidt made 24 appearances in the circle with 14 starts.  She fanned 72 batters in 98 innings, throwing 11 complete games.

Who to Watch:
The Yellow Jacket middle infield is one to watch.  Junior shortstop Ashley Thomas and sophomore second baseman Chelsie Thomas were pivotal in Georgia Tech’s 2012 8th ranked finish in double plays nationally.  Together they made just 18 miscues in 455 chances.  At the plate Ashley is what makes Georgia Tech go.  She played all 60 contests from the leadoff spot, where she hit .295, led the team in runs (46), hits (57), triples (2) and steals (31).  Chelsie hit just .276 typically near the bottom of the order.  She managed to score 30 times and steal 24 bases on 26 attempts.

Final Projection:
Coach Perkins will need to get great production from her upper classmen to continue the positive track she set the Yellow Jackets on in 2007.  With the loss of two top hitters from last year’s lineup, the pressure will be on Hope Rush to deliver again in the circle and drive in runs at the plate.  Ashley Thomas must set the table and the rest of the order will need to up their game for Perkins’ crew to challenge for a top spot amongst the ACC’s best.  It is very likely that Georgia Tech will finish near the top of the league and again earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Ashley Thomas, SS, 193
Hits: Ashley Thomas, SS, 57
Home Runs: Hope Rush, P, 11
RBIs: Hope Rush, P, 43
Runs: Ashley Thomas, SS, 46
Stolen Bases: Ashley Thomas, SS, 31

Wins: Hope Rush, P, 26
Innings Pitched: Hope Rush, P, 248
Strikeouts: Hope Rush, P, 146
Saves: Hope Rush, P,1; Kylie Kleinschmidt, P, 1

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#51 Courtney Ziese


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