May 8, 2014
Hokies pull away from Orange in ACC Championship
Smith's grand slam keys big 10-4 victory
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (theACC.com) – With sixth-seeded Syracuse lurking dangerously close, Virginia Tech’s Katey Smith literally slammed the door in Thursday evening’s final Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship quarterfinal game.
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Smith’s two-out grand slam capped a five-run bottom of the sixth inning that sealed a 10-4 victory for the third-seeded Hokies and sent them into Friday’s 3:30 p.m. semifinal game against second-seeded Notre Dame.
Smith’s ninth home run of the season down the left field line, coupled with Lauren Gaskill’s RBI single earlier in the frame, allowed Virginia Tech (35-20) to exhale after the Orange (24-25) scored twice in the top of the sixth to close within 5-4.
The win could prove to be key for head coach Scot Thomas’ Hokies, who entered the ACC Championship with an RPI of 46 and hopes of improving their NCAA tournament resume. Virginia Tech will try to further bolster its NCAA chances against a Notre Dame team from which it took two of three in the team’s regular-season ACC series in mid-March at Blacksburg, Virginia.
Smith finished with five RBIs on the night, and Gaskill had two of Virginia Tech’s six hits. The Hokies made the most of eight walks and picked up an unearned run on a Syracuse error in the bottom of the fourth to go up 3-2 after the Orange had tied the score with a pair of runs in the top of the inning.
Michelle Prong joined Smith in going deep for Virginia Tech, with her second home run of the season accounting for the game’s first run in the bottom of the third.
Corinne Ozanne and Julie Wambold each hit solo shots for the Orange, and Danielle Chitkowkski finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
Virginia Tech starter Kelly Heinz (20-12) allowed five hits and all four Syracuse runs in six innings while picking up the win. She walked three batters and struck out seven.
Syracuse starter Sydney O’Hara (16-12) took the loss. O’Hara worked four innings and yielded five runs (four earned) on four hits. She walked four batters and struck out two.
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