LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After a relatively quiet weekend at the plate, despite winning two games Friday and Saturday, No. 19/16 Virginia Tech softball got back to its ways and outhit Louisville 10-1 on Sunday to win 8-0 in five innings and claim the series at Ulmer Stadium.
Three Hokies had two hits in the final bout, with designated player Cana Davis (.355 BA, 8 RBIs) and first baseman Jayme Bailey (.380 BA, 26 RBIs) both hitting home runs and outfielder Kelsey Brown (.423 BA, 15 SBs) getting two singles.
In the circle, pitcher Keely Rochard (15-2, 0.84 ERA) threw a one-hitter and tossed her ninth shutout of the season behind six strikeouts and just one walk. Over the weekend, the Williamsburg, Virginia native pitched 20.0 innings, allowed just eight hits and two runs and racked up 37 strikeouts.
QUOTING TECH COACH PETE D’AMOUR
On the team not having its bats the first three games and still finding ways to win, and what made the team have its A-game today at the plate:
“We have a lot of team speed, which means we have a chance to manufacture runs when our bats aren’t ‘on’ so to speak,” Tech coach Pete D’Amour said. “We skipped BP (batting practice) today and just went back to basic fundamental drills. We’re halfway or so through the season and we don’t have much time to practice and keep our skills sharp. So, we may stick with what we did today.”
On pitcher Keely Rochard putting yesterday behind her and being lights out today:
“Keely plays pitch to pitch,” D’Amour said. “That’s why she’s one of the best pitchers in the country. Yesterday didn’t factor into what she did today. And then I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Ozzy’s (Mackenzie Osborne) performance yesterday. She gave us a chance to win Game 3.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Tech (19-5, 13-5 ACC) struck first versus the Cardinals (10-14, 4-9), scoring in the top of the first inning. Shortstop Addy Greene, hitting in the two-spot, singled to left and advanced to third on a double to left by Bailey. Greene would score on the next at-bat, as third baseman Kelsey Bennett earned a sacrifice fly to center.
Another homer would occur in the top of the third – the lead off variety – when Bailey capitalized on a 3-1 count and sent one over the left-field fence for her fourth home run of the season.
Louisville put the pressure on Rochard in the bottom of the third, getting a player on via a hit by pitch and a Tech fielding error. With runners on second and third, a failed bunt attempt by Louisville happened and then its runner on second was greedy and tried to steal third immediately after, but a tremendous throw by catcher Alexa Milius from her knees and a heads-up play by Greene to cover third got the runner out. Then Rochard would get the next out via a strikeout swinging to keep UofL at bay.
In the fifth, Tech exploded for four runs, with second baseman Morgan Overaitis starting it off with a leadoff single through the right side. She would later score on a single to center by Ritter.
Mackenzie Lawter, who came in to catch halfway through the game, earned a six-pitch walk, Davis singled to the shortstop and Brown reached on a fielding error by UofL’s first baseman to score Lawter. Another fielding error by the first baseman allowed pinch runner Maddy Federico and Brown to score to cap a four-run inning and put the run-rule possibility on at 8-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Rochard, as she did all weekend, was steady and turned in another three up, three down frame to seal it via a flyout, strikeout and groundout.
– On the weekend, Ritter had a team-high batting average of .455, registering five hits, and also had an RBI, scored two runs and swiped two bases.
– From a multi-hit perspective, Davis totaled her second multi-hit game of the season, Bailey her seventh and Brown her ninth.
– With the 10 hits versus the Cards, Tech has now had nine games this season of hitting the 10-hit plateau and is a perfect 9-0 in those instances.
– When the Hokies drop a game, they sure don’t let it happen again as they are 5-0 following a loss and the margin of victory is pretty astounding (42-3).
– Tech will continue its road swing and will play at in-state rival Virginia (8-16, 4-13) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET at Palmer Park on ACC Network Extra.