CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - It was a long day at the ballpark Saturday as the Virginia Tech softball team split a doubleheader with Boston College at Shea Field. The Hokies won the first game 11-5 in nine innings before allowing the Eagles to battle back for a 7-6 win in the second game. In all, the doubleheader took nearly six hours to play on a gorgeous day in New England.
The Hokies wasted little time in jumping out to a big lead in game one, scoring four runs on six hits in the second inning. Whitney Davis crushed a solo home run to right-center field, her second of the season. Ashton Ward scored on Richelle McGarva’s single and then McGarva and Bkaye Smith executed a perfect double steal as Smith scored from third base. Misty Hall drove in McGarva with a single to conclude the inning’s festivities.
The Eagles clawed back into the game with a four-spot in the fourth inning to tie the game up. In the fifth, pinch hitter Betty Rose drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to plate pinch runner Sarah Ashby to give the Hokies the lead back. The Eagles turned a double steal of their own in the fifth inning to tie the game at 5-5.
The Hokies started the game off blazing at the plate, picking up seven hits in the first two innings. But two pitching changes for the Eagles stymied the Hokies the rest of the way as they got just one hit from the third through eighth innings. But in the ninth, Tech finally broke through as Kristin Graham singled, Davis walked and Ward singled to load the bases with one out. Pinch hitter Kelsey Hensel, making her first plate appearance since breaking her hand on March 24, singled to the gap to plate a run. Smith then blooped a single to center field to Tech a two-run lead. Hall then obliterated a first-pitch offering from Nicole D’Argento for her first career grand slam. It was the senior’s ninth home run of the field as she gave the Hokies an 11-5 lead.
That would be enough for Kenzie Roark (W, 9-18), who pitched well except for one inning. She went a career-long nine innings, allowing five runs on eight hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts.
At the plate, Tech had 13 hits, led by three from Hall, who drove in five runs. Ward and Smith each had two hits while McGarva, Froehlich, Liddle, Graham, Davis and Hensel each had one.
In the second game, Tech got solo home runs in each of the first two innings. In the first inning, Froehlich launched her third home run of the season and then in the second inning, Ward hit her second of the season. BC got on the board when Hensel air mailed a throw to first base, allowing a run to score from third base.
In the fourth inning, Liddle launched her 11th home run of the season, adding to her Tech freshman record, to make it 3-1. Jasmin Harrell couldn’t hold down the Eagles as she allowed two runs in bottom of the fourth and then another in the fifth on a sacrifice fly to allow BC to take its first lead of the day.
The Hokies didn’t give up, and in the sixth inning plated three runs to take the lead back. Kristina Cruz drew a two-out walk and then Smith reached on an infield single. McGarva then ripped a three-run home run to give Tech a 6-4 lead. It was the junior’s fifth of the season. Hall appeared to hit a solo home run down the left field line, but it was ruled foul. That call would be huge in the next inning.
The Eagles weren’t done as pinch hitter Danielle Pandolfo hit a solo home run to bring them back within one and forcing a pitching change. But Roark couldn’t get the job done as she promptly gave up a two-run home run in blowing the lead.
Harrell went five innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts. She was in line for the win, but instead Roark picked up the loss to drop her record to 8-19. Roark went an inning, giving up a run on that home run.
McGarva had two hits and three RBI while Froehlich and Smith both had two hits. Davis, Ward and Liddle each had one.
Boston College came into the game with an 0-16 mark in the ACC. The loss all but locks up the No. 7 seed for the Hokies at the upcoming ACC Championship, where they will face No. 2 seed Virginia on Friday, May 14 at 2:30 p.m.
The two teams will wrap up the three-game series on Sunday with a single game starting at noon.