March 13, 2016
Hokies outlast Panthers in 12-9 comeback win
Virginia Tech sweeps Pitt to open home conference play
Pitt (16-8) 500400973
Virginia Tech (9-14) 22340112101
  • Tech Softball Park - 128

BLACKSBURG – Despite slipping to a five-run deficit in the first inning, the Hokies slugged their way to a 12-9 comeback win over the Panthers before rain ended the game in six innings on Sunday afternoon.

Following the Hokies’ sweep of the Panthers, Tech improves to 9-14 overall with a 4-2 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference while Pitt falls to 16-8, 0-3 in conference play.

“We went back to the basics on Friday at practice,” head coach Scot Thomas said. “There were a lot more quality at-bats in these three games than we had earlier this week. There were a lot of good things from a lot of people this weekend with many multiple-hit games. It was a team effort to get the win.”

Pitt took an early 5-0 lead, opening the game with a homerun by Maggie Sevilla. However, Tech responded with two runs in the bottom of the first off the bats of Katey Smith and Chelsea Whitcomb.

The Hokies momentum continued through the next three innings, totaling 11 runs by the end of the fourth. Two walks and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases as Olivia Lattin drew the RBI-walk and Caitlyn Nolan sent an RBI-single to right.

Tech continued in the third with walks by Lauren Duff and Elizabeth Birle to put runners on the bags. Emma Strouth slugged and RBI-single to left field, bringing Duff home to equalize the game at 5-5. Vanessa Gonzalez batted in the final two runs of the inning, giving the Hokies the 7-5 lead.

The Panthers would not quit as they tacked on four runs to retake the lead in the fourth inning. Three Pitt singles and a throwing error gave the Panthers the 9-7 advantage.

However, the Hokies showed their fight, adding four runs of their own. Tech took the lead in the bottom of the fourth set up by three consecutive singles. Kelsey Mericka stepped up to the plate, sending a double to center to bring home two. Whitney Saunders and Caroline Schoenewald rounded the bases as pinch runners, in addition to Nolan to bring the score to 11-9.

Tech was scoreless for one inning before Duff doubled to right-center as Mericka came home for the final run of the game.

Maggie Tyler picked up her seventh win in 5.2 inning pitched with four strikeouts before the game was called. Lattin started in the circle but picked up the no decision upon taking the lead.

The Hokies 10 hits marked the seventh time this season Tech collected double-digit hits. Smith and Nolan picked up two and three hits, respectively, while both Mericka and Gonzalez had two RBI in the win.

“It was a great win, a huge sweep, for us,” Thomas said. “Any time you sweep in this league, it’s big. Now we have a week to get healthy and use the momentum against Boston College next weekend.”

The Hokies return to Tech Softball Park on Saturday for another ACC series. Tech will play Boston College in a doubleheader, beginning at noon Saturday before closing the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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