GREENSBORO, N.C. – Behind 20 runs from the offense and two stellar pitching performances, the Virginia Tech softball team took a pair of games from North Carolina A&T Thursday afternoon at Lady Aggies Softball Field. Tech won the first game 9-0 and then used a huge sixth inning to capture game two, 11-2 in six innings.
In the opener, Tech got a complete game one-hit shutout from sophomore Kenzie Roark en route to the easy win. The Hokies scored in the first inning when Jessica Everhart drove in Erin Ota with a double. In the third, Charisse Mariconda led off with a triple and scored on Everhart’s single. Leading 2-0, two more runs scored when Everhart reached on a fielding error. That’s the way it stood until the sixth inning when the Hokies scored three more runs. Ota scored when Everhart reached on another error and then Kristen Froehlich drove in two runs with a single to left field. The final run scored in the top of the seventh when Jenna Rhodes scored on a sacrifice fly by Everhart.
The story of the game though was Roark, who flirted with a perfect game. She allowed just one hit, which came in the second inning on a ground ball that was just out of the reach of Froehlich at second base. That would be the only runner to reach base as Roark struck out five.
The second game was a close one for five innings before the Hokies broke through for nine runs in the sixth inning. Tech scored in the top of the first inning when Mariconda doubled in Rhodes, but the Lady Aggies got an unearned run in the bottom half of the inning to tie it up. A&T would score another unearned run in the fourth to make things interesting for the Hokies.
In the fifth, another sacrifice fly from Everhart drove in Rhodes to tie the game up. Tech sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning and picked up nine runs on eight hits. Whitney Davis led off with a single and moved to third on a double play ground out. Amber Walker drew a walk and Rhodes drove in Davis with an infield single. Ota reached on an error to allow pinch runner Marra Hvozdovic to score. Rhodes scored on Mariconda’s single and Ota scored on Everhart’s double. Mariconda and Everhart scored on Beth Walker’s double off the fence and Walker scored on Davis’ second hit of the inning, a double to center. Jalm picked up her second hit of the inning with a monster two-run home run to straight-away center to make it 11-2. Jalm now has four hits, including two home runs and six RBI, in the last three games.
Mariconda had three hits and three RBI while Rhodes and Davis had three hits and an RBI each. Everhart and Jalm each had two hits and two RBI while Beth Walker had a hit.
Abbie Rexrode pitched well in her four innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Roark (W, 17-14) pitched the final two innings to pick up the win. She allowed just one hit while striking out three.
For the two games, Mariconda hit .714 (5-for-7) with a double, triple, four RBI and three stolen bases. Everhart had four hits, including three doubles and five RBI while Rhodes had four hits and three stolen bases. Roark picked up two wins, throwing nine shutout innings while allowing just two hits with eight strikeouts.
Tech will be back in action this weekend for a huge series with the University of Maryland. The two teams are tied for fourth place in the ACC and are battling for seeding and possible NCAA postseason play. The doubleheader will be played Saturday starting at noon at Tech Softball Park around the Spring Football Game. On Sunday, Tech’s six seniors will be honored before the 1 o’clock game.