GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Virginia Tech softball team split a pair of games with UNC Greensboro Thursday evening at UNCG Softball Park. The Spartans took the opener 5-3 before the Hokies rebounded for an 8-0, five-inning win in the nightcap.
After a rough first game, the Hokies rebounded nicely for the 8-0 win. Jenna Rhodes led off with an infield single and promptly stole both second and third base. She scored on Erin Ota’s single to left and Charisse Mariconda dropped a two-run home run just over the fence in left field to make it 3-0.
In the fourth inning, Mariconda ripped a long single off the wall to drive in Rhodes from second base. With Ota on second and Mariconda on first, Jessica Everhart jacked her fifth home run of the season, a mammoth three-run shot to left field to make it 7-0. An infield single from Kristen Froehlich plated Beth Walker to give Tech an 8-0 lead and cap a five-run inning.
Kenzie Roark (W, 20-16) tossed five solid shutout innings. She allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out four.
Rhodes had two hits and a stolen base in the contest. She now needs four swipes to break the career record of 113 held by her sister, Callie. Ota, Mariconda and Everhart each had two hits while Whitney Davis and Froehlich had one.
In the opener, the Hokies got a run on a bases-loaded walk from Davis, but the Spartans responded with a run on a wild pitch in the second inning.
In the third inning, Mariconda scored on a throwing error and then Walker scored when Davis ripped a single down the right field line to make it 3-1. But freshman pitcher Abbie Rexrode ran into severe trouble in the bottom half of the inning. She gave up two hits, hit a batter and then game up a monstrous grand slam to left-center field to Kaitlin Merkt as the Spartans took a 5-3 lead. That’s the way it ended as the Hokies never threatened a serious rally.
Rhodes picked up a pair of hits and a pair of stolen bases. Everhart had two singles while Mariconda and Davis each had one hit.
Rexrode (L, 4-8) went just 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout. Roark relieved her in the fifth inning and went the final 1.2 innings. She allowed a walk and struck out four.
Tech struggled to come up with the clutch hit when it needed it, leaving the bases loaded in both the first and fourth inning, stranding 10 runners total. UNCG’s Amber Harrell improved 7-12 with the eight-strikeout performance.
Tech (25-26) will wrap up its regular season this weekend with three games at East Carolina University. The Hokies will play Campbell (34-12) on Saturday at 1 o’clock followed by a single game against ECU (38-13) at 5 p.m. On Sunday, the Hokies and Pirates will play one more game, starting at noon.