March 5, 2016
Tech splits ACC opening day at NC State
Kelsey Mericka slugs a grand slam to secure the Hokies 8-7 win in game two
Virginia Tech (5-11) 0000001143
NC State (8-8) 200000X251
  • Dail Stadium - 331
Virginia Tech (6-11) 01003408110
NC State (8-9) 1401001793
  • Dail Stadium - 286

RALEIGH, N.C. - Despite a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to open the day, the Hokies’ bats came alive in game two, giving Tech the 8-7 comeback win over NC State on Saturday afternoon to open conference play.

Although the Hokies slipped behind early in both games at Dail Softball Stadium, homeruns by Olivia Lattin, Chelsea Whitcomb, and a grand slam by Kelsey Mericka gave the Tech the come-from-behind win in the second game and a fighting chance in the first.

Maggie Tyler threw 14 strikeouts between the two games, walking away with her fourth win of the season and third game with double-figure strikeouts. Both Tech and NC State now sit at 1-1 in ACC play while the Hokies improve to 6-12 and NC State sits at 8-9.

Tech slipped to a 5-1 deficit early on in game two when NC State’s Maggie Hawkins sent a three-RBI double to right center. The Wolfpack added its sixth run in the bottom of the fourth before the Hokies’ bats came alive.

Vanessa Gonzalez and Katey Smith singled to lead off the inning before Whitcomb sent a three-RBI homer to left field. NC State ended the inning on a double play but not before Kinsey Johnson hit her third single from three at-bats. Gonzalez went 3-for-4 on the day, accounting for two runs while Smith crossed the plate once.

A single by Lattin and back-to-back walks set the stage for Mericka as she stepped into the box. The redshirt-senior rocketed a grand slam to right field for her first homer of the season, giving the Hokies an 8-6 lead heading into the seventh inning.

The Wolfpack would not quit as Molly Hutchinson hit a solo-homerun in the final inning before the Hokies retired the side, earning the 8-7 win.

In ACC opener, Lattin’s third homerun of the season was not enough to propel the Hokies over the Wolfpack who took the first win.

NC State began the day by putting two runs on the board in the first but Maggie Tyler responded with 10 strikeouts, keeping the Wolfpack scoreless to close out six remaining innings.

The Hokies showed their fight with back-to-back hits to leadoff the fourth inning. Whitcomb slugged the first one to left as Caitlyn Nolan followed up with another single to the shortstop. However, Tech couldn’t convert throughout the game, leaving nine on base.

Lattin slugged a homerun beyond the left field fence in the top of the seventh, but the Hokies could not come up with the lead as the Wolfpack clinched the ACC opener, 2-1.

After the split decision to open ACC play, Virginia Tech and NC State will face off in the final game of the series Sunday at noon at Dail Softball Stadium.

For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter

HokieSports Shop