TROY, Ala. (hokiesports.com) - The Virginia Tech softball team rolled to a pair of wins Saturday at the Troy Subway Invitational, downing the host Trojans 10-3 before run-ruling Evansville 10-2 in five innings to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
The Hokies started the day off quickly, going up 4-0 after their first two at bats. After scoring in the first inning, Lauren Gaskill made it a two-run ball game when she forced the Troy pitcher to make a throwing error off a ground ball to score Amanda Ake. Ake reached via a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With Bkaye Smith and Gaskill on third and second, respectively, the third baseman Chandler Griffin charted two errors on the same play, fielding and throwing Logan Spaw’s grounder, to allow the Hokie runners to score and go up 4-0 in the top of the second stanza.
The Trojans responded in the bottom of the second inning with an unearned run for their first run of the game. After two walks and a single to third base to fill the bases, Tech replaced freshman Maggie Tyler with Kelly Heinz to try and get the third out, but she walked Kacie McAllister to score Taylor Smartt. Troy later scored in the bottom of the fourth and the seventh innings, but Tech plated two runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh to pull away.
The Hokies recorded eight hits with Ake leading the way with two. Six other Hokies – Gaskill, Kat Banks, Courtney Liddle, Laura Wolff, Jessica McNamara and Smith – all had one apiece. Gaskill had four of Tech’s 10 runs as she was also walked twice.
Both teams saw three pitchers. Kelly Heinz recorded the win for the Hokies, as the freshman moved to 3-0 on the season. She went 2.1 innings, allowing one run on one hit with three walks and six strikeouts. Freshman Maggie Tyler started in the circle and pitched 1.2 innings, while Bailey Liddle led the Hokies as she pitched the last three innings with four strikeouts.
In the second game of the day, the first of the tournament portion, the top-seeded Hokies got took care of business downing the fourth-seeded Evansville Purple Aces 10-2 in five innings. Tech jumped up 3-0 in the first when Banks’ single to shortstop allowed Gaskill to score off a throwing error. Liddle followed with a double to center field to bring Banks home and later scored off an Evansville wild pitch. Hokies kept the momentum going scoring six more over the next two times at bats, highlighted by Gaskill’s first home run of the season.
The Purple Aces got on board in the top of the second when Kayla Fortner led off with a solo homer to center field and on an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Gaskill finished the win with a single up the middle to score Anderson who was on third to complete the mercy rule.
Tech notched 10 hits with Gaskill leading both squads with two runs off of a career-high four hits. Three Hokies: Kelsey Mericka, Dani Anderson and McNamara each had two hits apiece. Jasmin Harrell (W, 4-0) charted the win as she tossed the first four innings, allowing two runs off of four hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Heinz pitched the fifth inning.
Tech (8-1) will wrap up play in Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Eastern) in the championship game against the winner of the Troy/North Florida game which will be played Saturday night.
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