May 29, 2008
Tech drops first game of World Series, falls 1-0 to Texas A&M
Hokies to face Florida on Saturday
(16) Virginia Tech (49-18) 0000000051
(4) Texas A&M (55-7) 000001X122
  • Oklahoma City, OK - 6,240

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Despite limiting Texas A&M to two hits - its lowest total of the season - the Virginia Tech softball team fell 1-0 to the Aggies in its opening game of the Women's College World Series on Thursday at Hall of Fame Stadium.

One of Texas A&M's (55-7) two hits came in the sixth inning, and combined with a timely Hokie error, was enough to secure the game's only run. The Aggies' Rhiannon Kliesing delivered a one-out base knock to right center field before being lifted for pinch runner Andrea Tovar, who moved to second on a sac bunt by Natalie Villareal. Megan Gibson followed with grounder to Tech third baseman Charisse Mariconda, who had to hurry on the play and ended up making an errant throw that got past first baseman Beth Walker. Tovar scrambled home to score and give the Aggies what proved to be the game-winning tally.

Offensively for Tech, Mariconda accounted for two of the Hokies' five hits and reached base one other time on a Texas A&M error. Catcher Kelsey Hoffman, center fielder Jessica Everhart and left fielder Caroline Stolle all each recorded a hit for the Hokies (49-18), but none of Tech's runners got past second base in the game.

"We found a way to get five hits but we couldn't get anyone over to third," Tech head coach Scot Thomas said. "I thought we were trying to bunt pitches that were out of the zone and we weren't very patient in taking care of those things. But I'm not worried about our team," Thomas continued. "We're going to find a way to score runs."

Tech's showdown with the Aggies started a little late after a marathon contest between Florida and Louisiana-Lafayette that featured 15 hits, but this one was all about the pitchers and Player of the Year candidates - the Hokies' Angela Tincher and the Aggies' Megan Gibson.

Both struck out nine batters apiece and neither issued a walk. Gibson allowed five hits and Tincher hit one batter, but neither ace allowed an earned run in a contest that could've went either way.

"I think any time you've got two Players of the Year going at each other, you're probably going to be in a scenario where whoever makes the fewest mistakes has a good chance of winning," Thomas said. "But in this case, [Texas A&M, which had two errors and three fewer hits] made more mistakes than we did and we still lost. When you've got two kids like Anglea Tincher and Megan Gibson going at it, one mistake could make a difference."

Before the deciding bottom of the sixth, Tincher and the Hokies were only tested once, escaping a scare in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Villareal ended Tincher's no-hit bid with a leadoff single through the right side, she moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gibson and to third on a passed ball. Tincher countered with some 70-mph heat, though, to strike out the next two batters and end the threat.

"I felt like everything was working well for me today," Tincher (38-9) said. "I threw a lot of rise balls and I only had to throw one change-up. Kelsey [Hoffman] called a good game today."

Louisiana-Lafayette upset Florida 3-2 in the World Series' first game of the day, so the Hokies will try to stave off elimination against the top-seeded Gators on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET). That contest will be broadcast by ESPN.

"We've got a formidable task with Florida coming up next," Thomas said. "But that's what this team has been about - battling back and doing what we have to do to try and find runs. And we'll find them - it's just a matter of re-focusing and going up there with the mindset of making things happen."

"We're anxious to get out and play again - we're here to win a national championship," Mariconda finished.

For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).

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