CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Seven runs across the sixth and seventh innings led No. 19 Virginia Tech (19-4, 3-0 ACC) to a 7-0 victory over Virginia (8-12, 0-6 ACC) on Sunday (March 8) afternoon at Palmer Park.
The score line hides a gem of a pitchers’ duel as Virginia’s Aly Rayle (Herndon, Va.) and Virginia Tech’s Keely Rochard went toe-to-toe in the circle.
Rayle (5-4) was spectacular for the Cavaliers, limiting the Hokies to just two hits in 5 1/3 innings. She took the loss, however, after being charged with three runs, two earned, in the sixth. The Cavalier bullpen surrendered four runs in the seventh.
Rochard, meanwhile, tossed her third complete game in as many days, this one a no-hitter. The Hokie ace fanned 11 in the game.
Virginia Tech finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the top of the sixth. Two walks put a pair aboard before Jayme Bailey doubled to left field to put the Hokies on the board. A ground out from Meredith Slaw made it 2-0 before an error allowed the Hokies to score another run and build a 3-0 advantage.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The pitchers dominated the first five innings, with just one hit between the two sides. Two walks in the Hokie half of the sixth were followed by a double to break the scoreless tie.
Virginia Tech then added four runs on three hits in the seventh to pull away. A bloop single, infield single and fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out. Bailey drove one home with a sacrifice fly before Slaw launched a three-run home run for her fourth RBI of the afternoon.
Rochard held Virginia in check all afternoon with the only blemish on her line an error. The pitcher dropped a pop-up in the second inning, marking the only time a Cavalier reached base safely.
ON THE LINES
• Rayle struck out four while allowing just two hits in her start.
• Molly Grube (Chesterfield, Va.) worked 2/3 of an inning without allowing a hit in relief.
THE COMMONWEALTH CLASH
• With the series win, Virginia Tech takes the Commonwealth Clash point for softball. Virginia leads this year’s Clash 7.5-6.5.
• The Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529 is a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams at Virginia and Virginia Tech.
• The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 22 individual event points on the line. The school that accumulates 11.5 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Commonwealth Clash trophy presented by Virginia529.
Virginia continues its homestand with a doubleheader against Bucknell on Tuesday (March 10). First pitch is scheduled for noon at Palmer Park.