LEXINGTON, Ky. (hokiesports.com) - Virginia Tech rallied for three runs in the fifth inning to complete a comeback and defeat second-seeded Notre Dame Friday evening on the first day of the NCAA Tournament, being held at John Cropp Stadium on the campus of the University of Kentucky.
Tech struck first in the third inning when junior Kat Banks connected on a solo home run - her third of the season - to give Tech a 1-0 lead. The Irish rebounded, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. After an RBI single to tie it up, Banks committed an error in right field to allow the Irish to take a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, right after giving up the three runs, the Hokies clawed their way back into it. Lauren Gaskill was hit by a pitch and then Dani Anderson singled up the middle. After Courtney Liddle reached on a fielder’s choice where Gaskill was put out at third base, Kylie McGoldrick was also hit by a pitch to load the bases for Banks.
The sophomore came through with a single to plate Anderson and Liddle, but on the play, the throw home to try and get Liddle scooted away from the catcher and McGoldrick slid home under the tag to give Tech the lead.
Notre Dame got a two-out double in the sixth inning, but Heinz got a foul out to escape that jam and then in the seventh inning, the Irish got two one-out singles and then moved the tying run to third base on a fly out. Up stepped Laura Winter, the Big East Player of the Year and her 17 home runs. After going 3-2 in the count, Winter fouled off two pitches before Heinz blew one by her for strike three to end the game.
Jasmin Harrell got the start and went 3.2 innings in the no decision. She allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Kelly Heinz (W, 16-7) got the win in relief, allowing no runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Tech (36-19) now advances to Saturday’s winner’s bracket, where it will face the winner of the Kentucky/Marshall game. The tournament is a double elimination format.
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