BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Cavaliers went to extra innings for the first time this season, but the result went the way of the home team as Virginia (23-21, 9-9 ACC) fell at No. 2 Virginia Tech (32-6, 15-2 ACC) by a score of 5-4 in eight innings on Saturday (April 16). It was the series finale in the Smithfield Commonwealth Clash matchup between the teams.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia struck first for the third straight game, pushing a run home in the second inning when Bailey Winscott singled through the right side to score Reece Holbrook. Holbrook reached on an error before going first to third on a bunt from Arizona Ritchie to set up the scoring chance with the Winscott at bat.
The Cavaliers extended the lead in the third with a two-run home run from Sarah Coon that scored Katie Goldberg.
Virginia Tech got on the board in the fourth with a solo home run to open the bottom of the inning. A bloop single in the fifth with two outs dropped in between three players converging in shallow right center and allowed two runs to come home for the Hokies, tying the game.
Goldberg then put the Cavaliers back on top in the eighth with her solo home run to left only to see Virginia Tech tie it again with a solo shot to open the home half of the inning. The Hokies would then take advantage of an error to put a runner on before coming up with the walk-off single with one out.
Molly Grube (1-3) took the loss, allowing four runs – three of them earned – on six hits in 4.0 innings of relief work. She left the game with a runner on and the game tied in the eighth.
Keely Rochard (18-2) picked up the win, allowing the four runs on nine hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.
NOTES ON THE GAME
• Morgan Murphy made her second start of the season, working 3.0 innings in the outing.
• Sarah Coon’s home run in the third inning was her sixth of the season and gives her 27 RBI on the year.
• Katie Goldberg’s eighth-inning home run was her ninth of the season and gives her 28 RBI.
• The game was the first to go to extra innings for the Cavaliers this season.
SMITHFIELD COMMONWEALTH CLASH
• The Smithfield Commonwealth Clash, originally called the Commonwealth Challenge (2005-2007), has been a part of the UVA-Virginia Tech rivalry since 2014. It is an all-sports points-based program with the Commonwealth Clash trophy presented to the winning school each year for its dominance in head-to-head competitions.
• Virginia Tech picked up one point in the Clash with today’s win to take the series. The Hokies currently lead 10.5-5.5 in the competition.
FROM HEAD COACH JOANNA HARDIN
“What a competitive series. I’m extremely proud of our team and how hard we fought and competed going to extra innings. If the ball bounces this way or that, who knows, but you can always go back and look at what you ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ done. Molly Grube grew up this weekend and threw more innings in a weekend than she’s thrown all weekend for us. I’m proud of her competitiveness and grit. This one stings a little bit as an in-state rivalry, but it’s what we are in the ACC for to play these games. Virginia Tech is a great team and I think we showed we’re a pretty good team too. We have a lot of takeaways from this weekend and we’ll get back to work on Monday. I’m proud of the fight, the competitiveness and the defense. This is Virginia softball.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia will return to action next weekend when the Cavaliers host Pittsburgh in a three-game series at Palmer Park. The series begins on Friday (April 22) with a 4 p.m. first pitch.
Virginia was originally scheduled to play at George Washington on Tuesday (April 19), but health and safety protocols within the George Washington program over the weekend forced a shift in the Colonial’s conference schedule. That shift in the weekend series led to the postponement of the Tuesday game between the Cavaliers and George Washington. No makeup date has been set for the game.