5/20 softball

No. 24 Virginia Tech softball (39–19) played a doubleheader on Saturday in the Athens Regional, falling to No. 14 Georgia, 8–3, before defeating No. 25 Boston University, 9–0. Their loss to the Bulldogs (41–13) sent the Hokies into the loser’s bracket, while their win against the Terriers (52–10) kept their season alive for at least another day.=

The matchup between Virginia Tech and Georgia was set up to be a pitcher’s duel. The Bulldogs’ pitching staff threw a combined no-hitter against North Carolina Central the day before, which included Saturday’s starter, Madison Kerpics, throwing one of those innings. Emma Lemley, Tech’s starter, only allowed one hit in five innings the day before.

Lemley, Virginia Tech’s ace, struggled more on Saturday than she had the day before, allowing seven runs and six hits in 4.2 innings, throwing 77 pitches. She struck out four batters.

The fourth and fifth innings were trouble for the Hokies. Entering the fourth up 2–1, their lead vanished in the blink of an eye. The Bulldogs’ second baseman Sydney Kuma doubled to right-center field, scoring pinch runner Hayley Eaton. Then, designated player Sydney Chambley hit a three-run homer to left field, scoring Kuma and third baseman Sara Mosley. 

In the fifth, right fielder Jayda Kearney launched a home run over the center-field bleachers, which scored center fielder Dallis Goodnight. Adding to their lead, Mosley hit a solo home run later in the frame.

Despite designated player Emma Ritter’s best efforts, driving in all three of the Hokies’ runs batted in, Tech lost to Georgia by five runs. Ritter’s fourth-inning home run gave Tech their 98th of the season, most in the country, setting a single-season program record.

Boston University, after knocking off North Carolina Central, rematched the Hokies later in the evening. Because Tech led by more than eight runs after five innings, the game ended.

Lyndsey Grein pitched all five innings of the shortened game, allowing no runs and five hits across 84 pitches. She struck out four batters and walked two. 

Tech reached the scoreboard early when right fielder Addy Greene doubled to right-center field, scoring left fielder Kelsey Brown in the first inning.

Then, the Hokies scored five runs in the fourth. Ritter homered to left field, notching her fourth RBI in two games on Saturday. Catcher Kylie Aldridge hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring center fielder Bre Peck. They tacked on three more runs in the frame on a single and a two-run error.

They solidified the run-rule victory in the fifth, when third baseman Kelsey Bennett doubled to score Ritter, and Aldridge doubled to score two more runners.

On Sunday, the Hokies will rematch Georgia. If Georgia wins the first game, they will advance to the superregional round. If the Hokies win the first game, they will need to defeat the Bulldogs again afterwards to advance past the Athens Regional.

The Hokies and Bulldogs will continue the regional on Sunday at 12 p.m.

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