FULLERTON, Calif. (hokiesports.com) - The 21st-ranked Virginia Tech softball team wrapped up play Saturday at the Judi Garman Classic on the campus of Cal State Fullerton with a split, downing Pacific 5-1 before falling to the host Titans 7-3.
In the first game of the day, Tech wasted little time jumping out to a big lead as Courtney Liddle drove in Lauren Gaskill with a single in the first inning before Kelsey Mericka blasted a three-run home run to quickly make it 4-0. In the fifth inning, Mericka doubled down the left field line to plate Amanda Ake. Pacific plated a harmless run in the bottom half of the inning, but could muster no more against Kelly Heinz.
Heinz (W, 9-0) scattered seven hits over seven innings, all singles. She walked one and struck out four in the complete-game win. At the plate, Tech banged out nine hits, led by two apiece from Liddle and Mericka. Mericka had four RBIs to lead the way. Ake, Kat Banks, Logan Spaw and Dani Anderson each had one.
In the second game of the day, Tech jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on a wild pitch and on an RBI single from Mericka. But the Titans capitalized on several mental errors by the Hokies in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs of their own. In the third inning, Tech tied it up on an RBI ground out from Anderson, but Fullerton scored a run in the bottom of the third and three more in the fifth to pull away.
Tech out-hit Fullerton, led by Liddle’s four hits. Her four hits tie her career high for hits in a game, equalling the four she had against Buffalo last year. Mericka and Banks each had two hits while Betty Rose had one.
Jasmin Harrell (L, 7-3) pitched three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits with four walks and a strikeout while Heinz pitched three innings, allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Tech (18-4) will now head back home after a 13-day Spring Break trip that saw the Hokies go 6-3 with wins over No. 9 UCLA, No. 14 Michigan and No. 19 Arizona among others. The Hokies will now have a week off before beginning a five-game homestand at Tech Softball Park. The Hokies will start by hosting NC State on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 in a three-game series to open their home slate. The two will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon and then the single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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