BLACKSBURG – Holding onto the lead in Game 1, 4-3, and cruising to a 10-4 victory in Game 2 for No. 15/14 Virginia Tech softball was how it went down versus Georgia Tech on Saturday at Tech Softball Park.
Second baseman Addy Greene (.358 BA, 14 RBIs) and left fielder Kelsey Brown (.421 BA, 44 Rs) stole the show at the plate for the Hokies (27-7, 18-7 ACC), combining for nine hits, six RBIs and five runs on the day versus the Yellow Jackets (13-22, 7-18). Then shortstop Kelsey Bennett (.284 BA, 25 RBIs) made two great plays defensively, turning a couple of double plays with the stepping on second and firing to first variety, and also hit a low-firing missile for a three-run home run that was barely 15 feet off the ground to left center.
Pitchers Ivy Rosenberry (6-3, 3.07 ERA), who had a no-hitter through 4 1/3 innings, and Mackenzie Osborne (2-0, 2.91 ERA) won the first and second games in the circle. Keely Rochard (19-4, 1.13 ERA) came in for relief of Osborne in the sixth and seventh of Game 2, allowing just one baserunner.
QUOTING SECOND BASEMAN ADDY GREENE
On why she was so successful turning in five hits Saturday:
“I was able to just see the ball really well today,” Greene said. “And I also felt very relaxed in the box.”
On her opposite field home run:
“I just took the ball where it was pitched,” Green said, “and went with what I got.”
QUOTING PITCHER IVY ROSENBERRY
On going the distance and the stamina it took to do so:
“Today was very exciting on my personal behalf,” Rosenberry said. “I had one thing in mind and it was to stay focused and spin my pitches. My stamina has been ready and I give a lot of credit to coach Doug [Gillis] from the long bullpens and also lifting in the weight room and continuing to get stronger.”
On losing the no-hitter and if that got to her:
“The no hitter wasn’t quite a thought, if I’m being honest,” Rosenberry said. “I was doing my job for my team and trying to have the most effective pitch for each batters’ new count. I also knew my team had my back, like they always do with amazing defense. The no-hitters or shut outs will come. All timing is not in my hands in reality. It’s the big man’s upstairs.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Rosenberry came out clicking on all cylinders, getting two ground outs and a swinging strike out to begin the game. In the bottom half, Brown started it off with a slow roller to third that she beat out. She would earn a steal then be brought home by third baseman Alexa Milius off a double to left, her third of the year. Then another double would take place at the next at-bat, as designated player Cana Davis struck one to left center on the eighth pitch of the AB to score Milius and make it 2-0.
Virginia Tech would add on another run in the bottom of the second, following a three up, three down stanza from Rosenberry, with Greene going oppo and hitting a solo home run to left center. It would tack on one more in the bottom of the fourth, with first baseman Jayme Bailey beginning the frame with a single up the middle. Bennett would walk and Greene would lay down a sac bunt, getting Bailey to third, who would later score on a sac fly from center fielder Darby Trull to make it 4-0 heading into the fifth.
In the top of the fifth, Rosenberry got a fly out to center, but the next at-bat five-hitter Emma Kauf, who homered twice Friday, broke up the no-hit bid with a double to right field. The next batter would reach on a borderline runner interference that was tabbed a fielding error, getting two on for the Yellow Jackets. But Rosenberry stood unphased and got a double play by Bennett to get out of it unscathed.
Georgia Tech would go down in order in the sixth, but would put Hokie Faithful on the edge of their set in the top of the seventh. It began with two singles to center and an RBI double to right center to make it 4-1 with no outs and two on. Rosenberry would induce a fly out on the next batter, which was a sac fly to make it 4-2, and then got a strikeout. Georgia Tech got an RBI single next to cut the deficit to one, 4-3, but Rosenberry fired three straight strikes to end it on a backwards K for the final out.
The second contest of the day was a little different, with the Hokies exploding for 10 runs and getting eight of those in just two frames. Bennett started it with a three-run bomb in the bottom of the second on the first pitch she saw, knocking in catcher Mackenzie Lawter and right fielder Emma Ritter.
After the Yellow Jackets got one in the third, off a single down the right-field line, the Hokies responded with five runs alone in the bottom half, beginning with Bennett doing it again, scoring the first run of the frame with a single to center to score Ritter. Trull followed with a double to center to score Lawter, and Brown hit a bases-clearing, two-run standup triple to right center to make it 8-1. Greene would then score Brown with a single that hit off the second baseman’s glove.
Georgia Tech would chip away at the deficit, scoring on a groundout to third in the fourth, and got an RBI double in the fifth and a sac fly to center in the fifth to make it 9-4. Virginia Tech got the game’s final run in the bottom of the fifth, with Brown stealing third and then reaching home on a fielding error by the third baseman from the catcher’s throw to make it 10-4.
Rochard entered in the sixth and didn’t give the Yellow Jackets really a sniff of anything, retiring six of the seven batters she faced to end it.
– The Hokies scored 10 or more runs for the fifth time this season and did so versus an ACC opponent for the first time since March 14 at NC State.
– Brown, who had four steals Saturday, had three steals alone in the second game, marking the first time a Hokie has done so in a decade (3 steals – Kat Banks, March 27, 2011 vs. Boston College). She fell one short of the program record for most in a game (4).
– Bennett finished Game 2 with four RBIs, marking the fifth time of her storied career that she has had four or more RBIs in a game. The last time she did so was when she went off at NC State on March 14, turning in a career-high seven RBIs.
– Rosenberry went the distance, marking her first time throwing a complete game against an ACC opponent and was her first time throwing seven innings since opening weekend (Feb. 13 at Kennesaw State).
– The Hokies will wrap up the four-game series with Georgia Tech on Sunday at noon ET on ACC Network Extra at Tech Softball Park.