SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Virginia Tech softball team split a pair of games Saturday at SU Softball Stadium, dropping the opener 5-4 in eight innings before rebounding for a 10-0, six-inning win in the second game.
In the opener, the Hokies dropped the game in heartbreaking fashion, falling in extra innings. Tech took the lead in the first inning on leadoff solo home run from Lauren Gaskill, but the Orange tied it up with a solo home run of its own in the bottom half of the first inning.
In the third inning, Michelle Prong put down a suicide squeeze to score Amanda Ake and Katey Smith gave Tech a two-run lead in the sixth inning with a solo home run. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Syracuse scored two runs to tie it up. After giving up an RBI single, Maggie Tyler gave up a double that allowed runner Jasmine Watson to advance to third base. But the relay throw in from the outfield hit off the umpire to allow Watson to score on the unfortunate error.
In the eighth inning, Tech took the lead when Ake singled through the left side to allow pinch runner Toni Erwin to score. In the bottom of the eighth, Tyler walked a batter and then hit one to put the winning run on second base. With two strikes and two outs, Tyler appeared to get Danielle Chitkowski looking to end the game, but the umpire called it a ball to the dismay of the Tech dugout. Chitkowski doubled the next pitch to the gap to score both runs and win the game as the Tech staff argued the call vehemently.
Tyler (L, 14-8) tied her career high with nine strikeouts, but gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks and a hit batter.
After rain delayed the start of the second game 30 minutes, the Hokies jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning of game two. Kylie McGoldrick scored on Gonzalez’s double and then she scored on Smith’s single.
Gaskill lifted her second home run of the day when she led off the third inning with a shot to right-center field and then in the fifth inning, Gonzalez crushed the first pitch she saw to make it 5-0. Tech batted around in the sixth inning, scoring five runs to break it open. Ake scored on a groundout and then Gonzalez drove in two more with a double and then Smith made it 10-0 with a single to right field.
Kelly Heinz (W, 18-11) was on in the circle, allowing no runs on just two hits with nine strikeouts.
At the plate, the Hokies banged out 10 hits, led by Gonzalez’s career day. The freshman went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and five RBIs. McGoldrick had three hits as well, including two doubles while Smith had two hits. Ake had the other hit for the Hokies as the top of the order banged out nine hits and scored seven runs and drove in all 10 runs.
With the split, Tech moves to 32-19, 19-8 in the ACC while Syracuse moves to 23-24, 11-12 in the conference. The Cuse did clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament with the win in first game.
Tech will try to take the series and clinch a top-three seed at the ACCs when the two teams wrap up the series on Sunday with a single game starting at noon. It will be the final ACC game for the Hokies this season and their last chance to jockey for seeding at the upcoming ACC Tournament.
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