BLACKSBURG – A solo home run in the sixth inning would prove to be enough as the NC State softball team defeated Virginia Tech 3-0 Friday night in the first game of the ACC series at Tech Softball Park.
The game was a pitcher’s duel through five innings as neither team could string together enough hits to get a rally going. The Hokies got two hits in the fourth inning, but Kristina Cruz was thrown out at third base to end the inning and NCSU got a runner to third base in the fifth inning, but a groundout ended that threat.
Landon Warren broke the game open in the sixth inning with a one-out, solo home run down the line to make it 1-0. The round tripper was the 21st Tech starter Jasmin Harrell has given up, setting a new school record for home runs given up in a season. After walking a batter and giving up a single later in the inning, Caitlin Dent doubled to the gap to drive in two runs and all but seal the game.
Courtney Liddle led off with a single in the sixth inning and was pinch runner Sarah Ashby was doubled off on a soft line drive to third base by Betty Rose to quickly extinguish a chance at a comeback.
That run would be enough for NC State pitcher Kayla Cox, who shut down the Hokies’ offense, allowing no runs on four hits with nine strikeouts. The hits came from Liddle (two), Stephanie Kujawa and Cruz.
Harrell (L, 15-7) went 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Kenzie Roark went the final 1.1 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
The two teams will wrap up the series on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).