FULLERTON, Calif. (hokiesports.com) - The 21st-ranked Virginia Tech softball team pulled off a pair of upsets on the opening day of the Judi Garman Classic on the campus of Cal State Fullerton Thursday, downing No. 19 Arizona 9-2 in the first game before beating No. 14 Michigan in the second game, 3-2.
In the opener, Tech broke out the bats with 11 hits as it rolled past perennial power Arizona. Tech took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single from Kat Banks and then opened the lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run from Kelsey Mericka. Arizona cut into the lead with a run before Tech responded with two runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by Lauren Gaskill’s leadoff home run. The Hokies put up a four spot in the sixth inning with Courtney Liddle’s two-run home run capping the scoring.
Five Tech players each had two hits to lead the way: Gaskill, Kylie McGoldrick, Banks, Mericka and Smith. Liddle had a hit for Tech. Gaskill, Liddle, Banks and Mericka each had two RBIs.
In the circle, freshman Kelly Heinz (W, 8-0) shut down the high-powered offense of Arizona. She allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with six walks and five strikeouts.
The competition cranked up a notch in the second game as Tech took on No. 14 Michigan, but like earlier in the day, the Hokies prevailed.
The game was a scoreless pitcher’s dual through four innings before Tech got on the board first. Smith continued her hot start to the season with an RBI single through the right side to drive in Banks. Logan Spaw came through in the clutch with a two-RBI double in the sixth inning to plate Amanda Ake and Banks to make it 3-0.
The Wolverines clawed their way back into it, loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning, but could only get a sacrifice fly to plate one run. In the bottom of the seventh, a one-out walk and a two-out double to the gap made it a 3-2 game, but Heinz induced a foul out to the catch to end the game.
Senior Jasmin Harrell (W, 7-1) threw one of the best games of her career in picking up the win. The Irvine, Calif., native allowed one run on just three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Heinz (S, 3) came in and got the final five outs, giving up a run on a hit with a walk.
Tech (17-2) will be back in action on Friday, taking on No. 2 Arizona State at 3 p.m. local (6 p.m. Eastern).
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).