ORLANDO, Fla. – The South Alabama softball squad (18-3) used two, three-run innings and a solid pitching performance to beat Virginia Tech 6-4 in the championship game of the UCF Spring Fling Sunday at the UCF Softball Complex.
The Jaguars got off to a quick start, drawing two walks and then had a runner reach on a fielder’s choice when Tech pitcher Kenzie Roark’s throw to third base didn’t get the lead runner. Christin Crocker then made Roark and the Hokies pay, roping a double to the gap to clear the bases for a 3-0 lead.
Tech cut into the lead in the fourth inning, scoring a run. Dani Anderson singled up the middle and moved to third base on Courtney Liddle’s double off the wall. After fouling off several pitches, Kristen Froehlich lifted a fly ball to right field to drive in Anderson with a sacrifice fly. The Hokies wasted an opportunity in the fifth inning, and then USA broke it open in its half of the fifth, striking for three more runs, using a leadoff walk and three hard hits to make it 6-1.
In the seventh inning, the Hokies tried to make a valiant comeback, but fell short. Marra Hvozdovic and Kelsey Hensel both singled and scored on Kat Banks’ triple to the gap and Anderson drove her in with a single to center, but Tech couldn’t get any more runs across, ending the game.
Hvozdovic and Hensel each had two hits to lead the way while Anderson, Liddle, Froehlich and Kat Banks each had one hit for the Hokies.
In the circle for Tech, Roark (L, 8-3) lasted just one-plus inning, allowing three runs on a hit with three walks and a strikeout before she was relieved by Jasmin Harrell, who went 3.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Roark replaced her in the fifth and pitched the last 1.1 innings, allowing a hit and picking up another strikeout.
Tech (14-5) will have the week off before jumping back into action next Friday at the Diamond Devil Invitational, hosted by nationally ranked Arizona State. The team will open with Weber State on Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern (9 a.m. Mountain) and will then play Florida Gulf Coast at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain).
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).