CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Thanks to a one of the biggest comebacks in program history, the Virginia Tech softball team salvaged a split of a pair of games with Boston College Saturday afternoon at Shea Field. The Hokies gave up two runs late to drop the first game 5-4 and then rallied from an 8-1 deficit to come back and win the second game, 12-8.
In the first game, the Hokies let a pair of leads slip away in falling to the Eagles 5-4. Lauren Gaskill led off the game with an opposite-field home run. Later in the inning, Dani Anderson drew a bases-loaded hit by pitch and then Kat Banks drew a bases-loaded walk to give Tech an early 3-0 lead.
But Tech starter Jasmin Harrell (L, 19-10) gave it right back as she allowed the Eagles to score three runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning. In the fourth inning, Gaskill drove in another run, this time with a double to plate Bkaye Smith and the Hokies held a 4-3 lead going to the sixth inning. In the sixth inning, Harrell gave up a three hits, including back-to-back doubles to allow the Eagles to take the lead, which they wouldn’t surrender.
Harrell struggled with her control and a tight zone throughout, throwing just 68 strikes in 116 pitches. She allowed five earned runs on seven hits with five walks, a hit batter and five strikeouts. BC’s Amanda Horowitz got the start and lasted just five batters before being pulled without getting an out. She gave up three runs on a hit. Nicole D’Argento recorded all 21 outs in pitching seven innings. She stymied the Hokies, allowing a run on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
In the second game, Boston College picked up where it left off, scoring three runs on a pair of hits in the first inning to put the Hokies in a big hole. In the second inning, Mericka doubled down the line to lead off the inning and was plated on Marra Hvozdovic’s single to left field.
But the Eagles continue to hit Tech’s pitching, scoring five runs in the second inning, capped by a mammoth two-home run. It came after Tech loaded the bases on three walks and a run scored on a passed ball. After a single and an error allowed two more runs to score, Andrea Filler blasted a two-run shot off Harrell to make it 8-1.
Betty Rose drove in McGoldrick with a single in the third inning to make it 8-2, but the Hokies left the bases loaded in the frame, failing to capitalize on the opportunity. Marra Hvozdovic led off the fourth inning with her second home run of the season to ignite a dazzling inning for the Hokies. Gaskill scored on McGoldrick’s single and McGoldrick scored on Courtney Liddle’s double down the line.Courtney Liddle did the trot home after Mericka blasted a two-run shot to right-center field to make it an 8-7 game.
In the sixth inning, Tech completed the comeback with three more runs to take the lead. Courtney Liddle scored on Logan Spaw’s single to right field and then pinch runner Nina Compton scored on Hvozdovic’s suicide squeeze. Pinch runner Laura Wolff scored the final run of the inning on an error to make it 10-8.
In the seventh inning, Courtney Liddle walked to lead off the inning and scored on Rose’s monster home run to left-center field to make it 12-8.
Bailey Liddle got the start, but didn’t last long as she was pulled after walking the leadoff batter in the second inning. She allowed three runs on two hits with two walks, throwing just 18 strikes in 36 pitches. Isabella Corrao didn’t get an out, walking two batters which both scored. After a rough start, Harrell (W, 20-10) settled down and pitched the final six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts to pick up the win in relief.
D’Argento struggled with a cramped thumb on her pitching hand and had to leave the game several times, but returned to the circle each time. She went four total innings, allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on nine hits with two walks and no strikeouts this game. Chelsea Dimon went 1.2 innings, allowing two runs on a hit with a walks and Amanda Horowitz went 1.1 innings, giving up a hit and a walk.
The Hokies had 11 hits in the game, led by three from Hvozdovic, who also had three RBIs. Mericka and Betty Rose both had two hits while Gaskill, McGoldrick, Courtney Liddle and Spaw each had one.
Tech (31-15, 8-5 ACC) and BC (20-17, 2-9 ACC) will wrap up the series on Sunday with the single game which will start at 1 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).