Hokies hit Heels hard, head home happy
Betty Rose hits team-leading sixth home run in 2-1 victory
March 20, 2011
Virginia Tech (19-8) 0200000260
North Carolina (18-11) 0010000152
  • Williams Field - 386

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Hokies wrapped up their ACC opening softball series this weekend with a 2-1 victory over the University of North Carolina Sunday afternoon at Anderson Stadium. Betty Rose smashed a two-run homer in the top of the second to provide all the offense the Hokies would need, and Jasmin Harrell pitched 4.2 shutout innings to claim the victory. The win lifts Tech to 19-8 (1-2 ACC), while the Tar Heels fall to 18-11 (2-1 ACC).

After a scoreless first inning, Courtney Liddle led off the top of the second with a hard-hit single to right center. Betty Rose then hit Tech's first dinger in ACC play, smashing a two-run homer well over the wall in left center to give the Hokies an early 2-0 lead, their first of the weekend.

Kenzie Roark got into some trouble in the bottom of the third inning, which eventually led to her replacement. She began the inning by hitting Kelsey Green with the first pitch. Dani Manko then hit a single to left center, which Richelle McGarva made a great play on and caught pinch runner Chelsey Butler on her way to third. Manko advanced to second on the throw. Roark then walked the next two batters to load the bases, before allowing an RBI single by Ally Blake which chased her from the game. Jasmin Harrell then came in in relief and got a strikeout and a line out to get out of the inning with the Hokies’ lead preserved, 2-1.

In the top of the fourth, Betty Rose got on by an error by the third baseman, and Ashton Ward then connected on a double off the wall in right center. But Manko and Haleigh Dickey put together a perfect relay to get Rose at the plate and save a run.

The Hokies, looking for some insurance runs, put together a threat in the top of the seventh, as Rose and Ward led off with a walk and a hit, but Tech stranded them on second on third to head to the bottom of the final inning, still leading 2-1.

But insurance was not necessary, as Harrell continued her dominance in the circle, retiring the Tar Heels in order in the bottom of the seventh to earn her eighth victory of the season and Tech’s first ACC win in 2011.

Kenzie Roark started for the Hokies, but threw just 2.1 innings, allowing three hits and two walks but only one run while striking out two. Harrell then pitched 4.2 shutout innings in relief, allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out four. The Hokies halted Lori Spingola’s shutout streak in the top of the second, as the Tar Heel starter allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out just two – as compared to yesterday’s nine – in the full seven innings.

Ashton Ward led the Hokies at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double, and Betty Rose notched both of Tech’s RBIs with her team-leading sixth home run of the season. Dani Manko was the lone Tar Heel with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with UNC’s only run.

The Hokies return to action on Wednesday, March 23, when they host Cornell University in Tech’s 2011 home opener. The Hokies will face the Big Red in a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.

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