Hokies split midweek doubleheader at Western Carolina

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Virginia Tech (18-30) 30220007172
Western Carolina (13-25) 0000000060
  • Catamount SB Complex - 95
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Virginia Tech (18-31) 1040000570
Western Carolina (14-25) 20300016101
  • Catamount SB Complex - 125

CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Freshman Carrie Eberle allowed no earned runs in 7.1 innings pitched and sophomore Lauren Duff went 4-for-9 with a two-run home run over two games as the Virginia Tech softball team split their midweek doubleheader with Western Carolina on Tuesday evening. The Hokies (18-31) won the opener, 7-0, but fell in walk-off fashion in the night cap, 6-5.

Junior Jessie Mehr went 4-for-9 with two RBI and a solo homer and sophomore Emma Strouth also collected four hits. Eberle (8-10) earned the win in game one, set a new career-high with six assists and went 2-for-3 at the plate.

Sophomore Kinsey Johnson hit her first-career home run in the first game and became the 13th different Hokie to hit a roundtripper this season. Also in game one, redshirt sophomore Chelsea Whitcomb made her first appearance in the field since injuring her hand sliding into second base on March 11 against Florida State when she came in to play shortstop in the seventh inning.

GAME ONE

The Hokies had 17 hits in the first game of the twin bill, their second-most hits in a game this season and the most since tallying 18 hits against Virginia on March 4. Tech also had seven players post multi-hit games, including three players with three-hit games.

In the top of the first, the Hokies loaded the bases with no one out before an RBI groundout Mehr gave Tech their first run of the game. Junior Breanna Davenport followed with a RBI single up the middle and another single from Strouth made it 3-0 Hokies.

After Eberle struck out two in the bottom of the second, senior Vanessa Gonzalez worked a one-out walk in the top half of the third. The next batter was Johnson who then sent a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right for her first-career home run that extended the Hokie lead to 5-0.

Eberle worked out a jam in the third to keep the Catamounts off the scoreboard and the Tech offense continued to help her cause. A one out base hit off the bat of Davenport with runners on first and second scored Duff and Strouth, the next batter, rocketed an RBI single that made it a 7-0 lead in favor of the Hokies.

After Eberle retired the side in the bottom of the fifth, senior Elizabeth Birle came on to record the final six outs and complete the combined shutout.

GAME TWO

A double to the right center field from Strouth gave the Hokies an early lead again in the top of the first, 1-0, but Western Carolina countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.

With no outs and sophomore Olivia Lattin on second base, junior Caroline Schoenewald dropped a bunt that was fielded by the pitcher but was thrown away. The error allowed Schoenewald to move to second and Lattin to score the game tying run, 2-2. The Hokies weren’t done there though as a two-run home run from Duff and a solo bomb from Mehr made it 5-2.

Despite the run support, the pesky Catamounts came back with three more runs in the bottom of the third to knot up the score again at 5-5. Eberle came on to make her second appearance of the day in the second game where she didn’t allow an earned run in 2.1 innings of relief.

After retiring five batters in a row, Eberle caught a tough break in the seventh as a two-out single with a runner on second ricocheted off her glove and in between the third baseman and shortstop into the outfield. The runner scored from second and Western Carolina walked off with a 6-5 win.

The Hokies will wrap up the 2017 home slate tomorrow night at 7 p.m. against Radford.

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