The Virginia Tech softball team returned home on Sunday from the warmer air of Florida and its season-opening tournament at Jacksonville University with a winning record of 3-1.
The Hokies nearly won all four of their games in their first weekend of action, defeating Bethune-Cookman, Drexel and UNC Greensboro, while falling to just the host team, 7-11 Saturday.
Helping the Hokies accomplish this early success were three new starters, including freshmen Courtney Liddle, Bkaye Smith and junior Kristina Cruz. Each of the three made their presence known in their debut games as starters for head coach Scot Thomas.
Against Bethune-Cookman University, Liddle homered to left field in the top of the third to push the Hokies ahead by four early on.
“Coach Thomas in our pregame talk talked specifically to the freshmen about how we wanted to present ourselves for our first game — how we wanted to be remembered for that first game, like really go out there and get it,” Liddle said.
“That was the mindset I had going into there,” Liddle said. “I saw the pitcher, you know she wasn’t amazing, and I told myself, ‘Hey, you can do your best off of this.’
“I just had that confidence and really went into thinking have fun. The first couple of weeks going into it, I was kind of nervous because it’s (Division I) ball, but you go into it and you’re just like, ‘I’ve been playing this game since I was six years old.’”
Liddle went to finish the game with two hits, one run and one RBI in her debut for the Hokies.
“It was kind of cool,” Liddle said. “I got the ball. It was my first collegiate homerun ball, and I gave it to my parents with a little note. My mom cried. It was awesome.”
“I thought that Courtney handled herself really well,” Thomas said. “At the plate, she did a great job taking care of business — got a couple homeruns, hit the ball solid at times. She hit some purpose hits putting runners in scoring position and threw a couple runners out, too.”