April 18, 2015
Hokies pick up big sweep of Panthers on the diamond
Mericka hits three home runs to close in on school record
Virginia Tech (31-12) 1010000103680
Pitt (29-15) 00000021003101
  • Vartabedian Field
Virginia Tech (32-12) 0000014591
Pitt (29-16) 2000000243
  • Vartabedian Field - 223

Kelsey Mericka hit her 13th, 14th and 15th home runs of the season

Kelly Heinz picked up her 12th win of the season in the opener

Lauren Gaskill had four hits on the day

PITTSBURGH - The Virginia Tech softball team won both ends of an ACC doubleheader with Pitt Saturday afternoon at Vartabedian Field, winning the first game 6-3 In 10 innings before rallying in a big way to win the second contest, 2-1.

The Hokies took little time in getting on the board in the first game when Katey Smith lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Breanna Davenport. In the third inning, Smith's rope down the line drove In Caroline Schoenewald to give the Hokies a 2-0 lead.

Leading 2-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, Pitt strung together three doubles to tie up the game, but left the bases loaded to send the game to extra innings.

In the eighth inning, Kylie McGoldrick and Smith both drew walks and then McGoldrick scampered home on Michelle Prong's single just inside the third base bag to give Tech the lead back. The Panthers manufactured a run to tie it back up to send it to the ninth inning, but the Hokies finally broke through in the 10th inning. Lauren Gaskill scored on Smith's single and then Kelsey Mericka launcher her 13th home run of the season to give the Hokies a 6-3 lead.

At the plate, the Hokies had eight hits, led by two from both Smith and Gaskill, along with one apiece from Mericka, Prong, Schoenewald and Jessie Mehr.

Maggie Tyler pitched into the seventh inning before giving up a leadoff double. She went six plus innings, allowing a run on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Kelly Heinz (W, 12-1) gave up three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in four innings of work.

Pittsburgh jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the second game, using three hits score in the first inning. The Hokies squandered several scoring opportunities, but finally cashed in when Mericka crushed a solo home run to right field to lead off the sixth inning, her 14th of the season. The Hokies had two runners on with no outs, but hit into a double play and struck out to end the threat.

The Hokies refused to give up, mounting an epic comeback in the seventh inning. With Gaskill on, McGoldrick reach on an error on what could have been a game-ending double play. Instead, it injected life into the team as Smith singled and then, Mericka crushed her third home run of the day, a grand slam down the line to give Tech a 5-2 lead.

For Mericka, she now has 15 home runs on the season, just one shy of tying the school record of 16 set by Megan Evans in 2005. She finished the game with a career-high five RBIs and three hits.

Mikaela Aiken (W, 6-3) pitched well for the second game in a row, but got the win this time. She went the distance, allowing two runs on just four hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

Tech had nine hits in the game, led by Mericka's big game. The lineup also got two hits from Gaskill and Davenport and one from both McGoldrick and Smith.

With the sweep, the Hokies move to 32-12, 8-8 in the ACC while the Panthers fall to 29-16, 9-11 in the conference.

The two teams will wrap up the series on Sunday with a single game slated for noon to determine the series winner.

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