CLERMONT, Fla. - Behind a no-hitter from freshman Kelly Heinz, the Virginia Tech softball team beat Southern Illinois 9-0 in six innings Sunday to wrap up the Dot Richardson National Collegiate Softball Invitational at the National Training Center.
Heinz, from Mechanicsville, Va., became the first Tech player in program history to throw a no-hitter in her first collegiate start. She stuck out a career-high 11 batters and walked three in the victory. She needed only 97 pitches in the game, tossing 64 for strikes. The game was shortened to six innings because of the Mercy Rule (eight runs or more ahead after five innings).
After threatening early on, Tech finally got on the board in the second inning when Lauren Gaskill beat out an infield single by sliding head first into first base to allow pinch runner Nina Compton to score. In the third inning, Logan Spaw put down a squeeze bunt to score Courtney Liddle, and later in the inning, Kat Banks drove in Betty Rose and Spaw with a single up the middle.
In the sixth inning, Banks scored on a fielding error and then Bkaye Smith scored on another error to make it 6-0. Liddle drove in Gaskill with a single to left field and then Rose plated Jessica McNamara with a ground out. Tech’s final run came when Spaw doubled to the gap to drive in Liddle.
The sixth inning had some drama as Heinz walked a batter and then a ball was hit in the 5-6 hole, but McNamara, playing shortstop, went and got it and got the close out at second base. The game ended with Kat Banks making a nice sliding catch on a tailing line drive to right field to preserve the no-hitter.
Tech pounded out 11 hits in the shortened game, led by two from Gaskill, Spaw, Dani Anderson and Banks. Liddle, Rose and Smith also had one.
Heinz threw 12.2 innings this weekend, picking up a win and a save. She didn’t allow a run, walked four and struck out 21. She pitched the final 4.2 innings against Fordham Saturday night, not allowing a hit, and got the last two outs of the Chattanooga win, so she’s thrown 11.1 straight innings without allowing a hit.
Tech (4-1) will be back in action next weekend, travelling to Troy, Ala., for the Troy Subway Invitational featuring Evansville, North Florida, Troy and Tech. The Hokies will open on Friday at 11 a.m. against North Florida.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).