Georgia Tech eliminated from NCAA softball regionals

Georgia Tech catcher Emma Kauf hits against Wisconsin on Sunday in Gainesville, Fla. Tech lost 7-6 and was eliminated from the regional in the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. (Georgia Tech Athletics)

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Georgia Tech catcher Emma Kauf hits against Wisconsin on Sunday in Gainesville, Fla. Tech lost 7-6 and was eliminated from the regional in the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. (Georgia Tech Athletics)

A breakthrough season came to an agonizing conclusion Sunday for Georgia Tech’s softball team at its NCAA regional in Gainesville, Fla. Needing a win to stay alive in a losers bracket game, the Yellow Jackets fell 7-6 to Wisconsin after leading 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth.

Wisconsin came up with five runs in its final two turns at bat, including three in the bottom of the seventh, to eliminate the Jackets, who made the NCAA field for the first time since 2012.

No. 1 seed and regional host Florida went on to beat Wisconsin 11-0 later Sunday in a mercy-rule game to win the regional and move to the super-regional round.

Tech finished its season 38-18, the Jackets’ most wins since the 2011 season. In the regional, Tech defeated Wisconsin 2-1 on Friday behind Blake Neleman’s complete-game three-hitter to advance to a winners bracket game Saturday against Florida. In a game delayed twice by rain delays that together nearly lasted four hours, clutch hits by Florida led the way to a 7-1 win for the Gators, which dropped the Jackets into the losers bracket in the double-elimination event. All of Florida’s seven runs were scored with two outs.

In Sunday’s elimination game, the Jackets took their 6-2 lead with six runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Emma Minghini drove in three of the runs on two singles. Wisconsin answered with two in the bottom of the sixth with a run-scoring single and then a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 6-4. In the bottom of the seventh, the Badgers scored three more, the game-winning run scored on a two-out bases-loaded walk. Three walks, a hit batsman and an infield hit contributed to Wisconsin’s rally.

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