BLACKSBURG - Behind two stellar performances in the circle from Kelly Heinz and Maggie Tyler, the Virginia Tech softball team swept a pair of games from the University of Pittsburgh Wednesday at Tech Softball Park in ACC action. In the opener, the Hokies held on for a 3-2 win and then pitched a 2-0 shutout in the second game to complete the sweep.
In the opener, Tech got off to a fast start, scoring three runs in the first inning. Vanessa Gonzalez blasted a two-run home run to right-center field and then Dani Anderson plated Katey Smith with a double to the gap. That would be the only runs the Hokies would score, but it would be enough for Heinz.
The Panthers scored a pair of unearned runs in the sixth inning, but couldn’t get the tying run across as Heinz shut the door. The sophomore allowed two unearned runs on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts in improving to 13-11.
In the second game, Pitt pitcher Savannah King kept the Hokies at bay for the first half of the game, but Tech finally broke through in the fifth inning. Amanda Ake picked up Tech’s first hit of the game to lead off the inning and pinch runner Laura Wolff moved to third base on Spaw’s single up the middle. Wolff then scored on a passed ball, which also allowed pinch runner Toni Erwin to move to third base, and she scored on Bailey Liddle’s sacrifice fly to give Tech a 2-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, the Panthers recorded three singles to load up the bases with just one out. Tyler got a shallow fly ball to left field for the second out and then Gaskill made the play of the day to save at least two runs. Pitt’s Maggie Sevilla tattooed an 0-2 pitch up the middle, but Gaskill laid out to her left and just snagged the line drive before it hit the dirt, recording the spectacular snow cone catch to end the inning.
The Hokies had just the two hits in the fifth inning to account for their offense. Tyler (W, 11-5) tossed a four-hit shutout, walking none while striking out seven.
With the wins, the Hokies stretched their ACC winning streak to eight games, the second-longest in program history. Tech won 10 straight ACC games in 2008. Tech is now 24-16 overall, 13-6 in the ACC while Pitt fell to 13-19, 4-9 in the conference.
The games were played without Tech pitching coach Angela Tincher O’Brien, who gave birth to her first child Wednesday morning, William Cooper.
The Hokies will now host in-state rival Virginia (6-32, 1-16 ACC) this weekend for a three-game set. The two will play the doubleheader on Saturday at noon and then will play the single game, which will serve as Senior Day, on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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