ATLANTA — Sophomore Jessica Coan improved to 15-1 with four innings of two-hit relief as the No. 8 Georgia Tech softball team (51-10) defeated Auburn (31-26), 4-1, in an elimination game of the NCAA Atlanta regional on Saturday at Mewborn Field.
The Yellow Jackets will now play No. 24 Oregon at 1 p.m. today in the regional final. The Yellow Jackets, who lost to the Ducks 11-2 earlier on Saturday, would need to win twice in order to secure a spot in next weekend’s Super Regional.
Coan came into the game in relief of Adkins in the fourth inning of a 2-1 game and proceeded to throw four innings of two-hit ball. She walked three and struck out seven. Jen Yee was 3-for-4 and hit a two-run home run, her 28th of the year.
Georgia Tech broke through first with a run in the top of the second inning against Auburn pitcher Angel Bunner. Freshman Hope Rush walked on four pitches to lead off the inning and then senior pinch runner Kelly Eppinger went to second base on an illegal pitch and came around to score on a RBI double to the alley in right-center field by sophomore Danielle Dike.
Georgia Tech added another run in the top of the third inning as Bunner was chased from the game. Yee led off with a single, her second of the game, and scored later in the inning on a RBI single by Rush. Jenee Loree relieved Bunner with runners at the corners and two outs, but Dike struck out to end the inning.
Auburn got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning as Kyndall White led off with her 14th home run of the season. After a base hit followed, sophomore Jessica Coan came in to relieve Adkins. Coan allowed a walk, but got two strikeouts and a deep fly out to escape a two-on and no out jam as the Yellow Jackets took their slim 2-1 lead into the fifth inning.
Georgia Tech did not get a hit against Loree until a two-out, infield single by Adkins in the sixth inning as she completely shut down the Jackets and kept Auburn in the game.
Coan was also solid in relief for the Yellow Jackets. After striking out the first two Tiger hitters of the sixth inning, a hit and a walk put two on with two out. Coan came back to strike out Kelley Smiley and end the threat.
Tech took that momentum into the top of the seventh inning as it got some breathing room for Coan. After junior Christy Jones led off with a walk, Yee followed with a two-run home run to right-center field on a 3-2 pitch. The 28th home run of the season for Yee gave the Yellow Jackets a 4-1 lead.