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ACC Softball Tournament Preview

The Jackets return to the postseason for the first time since 2014 as the no. 6 seed.

Sliding back into home - for the ACC tournament.
Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

The Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Tournament kicks off on the Flats at 1:00 PM this afternoon. Georgia Tech secured the sixth seed in the bracket, their first appearance in the tournament in four seasons, and host nine other ACC hopefuls the rest of this week at Shirley Clements Mewborn Field.


Postseason play starts today at the corner of Eight and Fowler. In what has been a long time coming, Georgia Tech kicks off their run in the second round tomorrow at 7:30 PM under the lights in Midtown. Tech has not appeared in an ACC tournament since 2014. After wandering in the doldrums the past few years, Tech has already seen a nine-game improvement year-over-year, with opportunity to snag some more wins ahead. In this, Tech alumnae Aileen Morales’ first season on the Flats, Tech takes its first trip to the postseason in recent memory - sending off their seniors with a taste of the tournament. The Jackets can do much more than sample the postseason, though. With how the seeding shook out for the girls in gold, they are in a great position to make a run for their sixth ACC crown, their first since 2012.

First up is third-seeded North Carolina. Less than three weeks ago, the Jackets took the series from the Tar Heels, dropping the opener 4-2, but rallying to sweep a doubleheader the next day, winning 5-2 and 6-5. In the loss to North Carolina, Emily Anderson held the Tar Heels scoreless through three innings, but allowed four in the fourth. The Jackets didn’t have the runners strung together and couldn’t scratch across more than one more run in the effort to come back. The other two games, though, in a nice resilient fashion, Tech scored five unanswered runs to win the first game, and the Yellow Jackets again started the second game in the hole, spotting the Tar Heels three runs. Tech came back, allowed a few more, but, trailing 5-3, Rebecca Prairie sent a rocket into right field, a game tying triple. With the bases loaded, Katie Krzus got just enough of a pitch to knock in the winning run. They’ve beaten this team twice before and look well to do it again.

Tech could face any of Pittsburgh, VPISU, or Duke in the second game. Tech took the series from each of the latter two teams, knocking off the upstart Blue Devils in Durham and taking two of three from the Hokies in Atlanta a little over two weeks ago. The Jackets scored seven while allowing seven against the Hokies, but were just one hit away from sweeping Duke. Again, Tech can beat these team, and has proved it in the past. Pittsburgh, however, is a little more challenging. The Jackets took one on the road from the Panthers, but Pitt is the Coastal champion for a reason - they’re pretty good. The Jackets weren’t blown out in any of the games, but, of course, Pittsburgh would be a tougher opponent than to seventh or tenth seeds.

In the championship, Tech would likely run into the defending conference champion, Florida State, who were also took the regular season title. The Jackets got swept by the Seminoles at home - a daunting team, to be certain, however, that is the beauty of softball, and why we play the games. Anyone can win on any given day. Tech has as good of a chance as ever to play for their sixth ACC championship in this excellent return to postseason form. And, regardless of what happens, it’s an exciting time for the Yellow Jackets, whose trajectory is pointed distinctly upward.


Schedule:

Wednesday:
No. 8 Louisville vs. No. 9 Syracuse
1:00 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)
No. 7 Duke vs. No. 10 VPISU
3:30 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)

Thursday:
No. 1 Florida State vs. winner of Louisville/Syracuse
11:00 AM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)
No. 4 Boston College vs. No. 5 Notre Dame
1:30 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)
No. 2 Pittsburgh vs. winner of Duke/VPISU
5:00 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)
No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Georgia Tech
7:30 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)

Friday: Semifinals
Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4
1:00 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)
Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6
3:30 PM, Mewborn Field, RSNs and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)

Saturday: Championship
Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8
12:00 PM, Mewborn Field, ESPN and ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN)