8-run inning lifts Tech to 13-5 win over Virginia

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia Tech softball team used an eight-run top of the sixth inning and a key relief appearance freshman Carrie Eberle to top in-state foe Virginia with a 13-5 run rule victory on Friday evening in the Hokies’ ACC opener.

Tech (9-5, 1-0 ACC) saw junior Jessie Mehr go 4-for-4 with two doubles and senior Vanessa Gonzalez and sophomore Olivia Lattin both pick up three hits. It was the first time the Hokies had three players record three or more hits in a game since Ashton Ward, Kristin Graham and Bkaye Smith picked up three hits each against Western Carolina on Feb. 19, 2010. The win gave the Hokies its fourth run-rule victory of the season.

Mehr’s four hits set a new career-high while Gonzalez’s four-hit evening gave her the 30th multi-hit game of her career.

With the Hokies trailing 2-0 entering the top of the second, Tech got on the board on a fielding error by the shortstop that scored sophomore Caitlyn Nolan from third. After starter Aysha Richardson worked a 1-2-3 inning in the home half of the third, Lattin and sophomore Emma Strouth registered back-to-back home runs that gave the Hokies their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Virginia responded with three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-3 lead but a home run off the bat of redshirt sophomore Chelsea Whitcomb that led off the top of the fourth made it made it a one-run ball game, 5-4. After Gonzalez walked and moved to second on a sac bunt from Richardson, Lattin sent her home on a game-tying RBI double that made it 5-5.

Eberle entered the circle in bottom of the fourth and retired the side. She then worked a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth that set stage for Tech’s offensive explosion in the top of the sixth.

Lattin broke the tie with an RBI single that scored Gonzalez and gave the Hokies a 6-5 lead. With no one out, an RBI single up the middle from Strouth plated Lattin and Richardson to extend the lead to 8-5. Another two RBI base knock, this time off the bat of Whitcomb, made it a 10-5 game and Gonzalez, the next batter, put the run rule in effect with a three-run blast that hit the top of the wall and over that made it 13-5.

Despite allowing a lead-off double in the bottom of the sixth, Eberle settled down and retired the next three batters on a strikeout looking and two groundouts to pick up her fourth win of the season.

Tech will be back in action tomorrow for game No. 2 of its three-game series with the ‘Hoos at 1 p.m. The game will not be streamed but live stats will be available on HokieSports.com.

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