Hokies take series from UVA with 5-1 victory

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Another three-run home run game and strong pitching from starter Chelsea Whitcomb and Carrie Eberle in relief propelled the Virginia Tech softball team to a 5-1 win over Virginia on Sunday afternoon.

The Hokies (10-6, 2-1 ACC) also pick up a point in the Commonwealth Clash with the series victory over the ‘Hoos (9-10, 1-2 ACC). Tech currently leads the Clash, 9-6.

Whitcomb (2-2) didn’t allow a run and scattered only four hits in 4.0 innings pitched while Eberle gave up one hit in 3.0 innings of work to pick up her first career save. Sophomore Emma Strouth went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a home run and senior Vanessa Gonzalez and sophomore Olivia Lattin also had solo home runs. Tech has hit three or more round trippers as a team in three of the last four games.

On the very first pitch of the game, Gonzalez sent a ball over the left field wall for her team-best fifth home run of the season to the give Tech an early 1-0 lead.

Whitcomb retired the first seven batters she faced before surrendering a walk in the bottom of the third. After she retired the side in that inning, Strouth ripped the first pitch she saw over the fence in center that made it 2-0 Hokies.

After Whitcomb worked another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth, Lattin stepped to the plate with one out. She battled, worked a 3-2 count and drove the next pitch she saw to dead center field to give Tech a 3-0 lead.

The ‘Hoos answered with a run in the home half of the fifth to trim their deficit to two, 3-1, and the Tech bats went down quietly in the top of the sixth. Eberle came on for Whitcomb in the bottom of the sixth and faced a runners on first and second situation with one out. Eberle settled down and responded with back-to-back strikeouts to jeep it a two-run ball game.

The lift from Eberle was what the Hokies needed as Mehr plated junior Caroline Schoenewald on a fielder’s choice and sophomore Caitlyn Nolan doubled in Strouth to extend the Tech lead to 5-1.

The two insurance runs was all Eberle needed as she retired the side in the seventh that completed the nine out save.

The Hokies will next travel south to face Coastal Carolina on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before taking on South Carolina at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

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