Tech’s Season Ends With Loss to #1 Florida

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Virginia Tech’s trip to the 2008 Women’s College World Series has come to an end. #1 Florida scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to knock off the Hokies 2-0 in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon. It was the final game in the careers of Tech seniors Angela Tincher, Kelsey Hoffman and Caroline Stolle.

Angela Tincher pitched all nine innings, striking out 19 of the 33 batters she faced. She finished her career with 2,149 strikeouts.

Tincher got into some trouble in the first inning, when Florida’s first two batters got on base on infield hits. However, she was able to get out of the early jam by striking out the next three batters. He also struck out the first two batters in the second inning, giving her five consecutive strikeouts at one point.

Except for Tincher’s strikeouts, there wasn’t much action in the game until the bottom of the seventh inning. That’s when the Hokies missed a golden opportunity to win the game. It was gift wrapped from the #1 Gators, but Tech didn’t take advantage.

Eric Ota led of the inning by nailing a liner into the gap in the outfield. The Florida center fielder was able to get there in time, but she misjudged the ball, and it fell to the ground behind her and rolled to the warning track. Hustling all the way, Ota made it to third base, with no outs. Florida intentionally walked Charisse Mariconda and Misty Hall so they could set up a force play at home plate.

With no outs and the bases loaded, Kelsey Hoffman hit a soft grounder to third base. Florida turned the double play, getting Ota at the plate and Hoffman at first base. Jessica Everhart then grounded out to end the inning. It was a missed opportunity, and the game went to extra innings.

Things were sailing along smoothly for Tincher until there were two outs in the top of the ninth. She gave up a chopping single up the middle, and then a bloop to center field dropped in for another single. The Gators had runners at first and second with two outs.

Tiffany DeFelice came to bat, and she was made famous by a 21 pitch at bat in Florida’s first game against Louisiana Lafayette. She fouled off numerous pitches to stay alive. She did the same against Tincher, taking the count to 3-2. The faced 18 pitches total, and eventually she was hit by a pitch when it slipped out of Tincher’ hand and bounced about 10 feet in front of the base. It bounced up and hit DeFelice, and the bases were loaded.

That brought Mary Ratliff to the plate, who was 0-3 with three strikeouts so far against Tincher. That didn’t stop her from delivering in extra innings though. She took a ball on the outside part of the plate and drove it the opposite way, between shortstop Misty Hall and second base. Two runners scored, and the Hokies were down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Tech’s hitters could only manage two hits all day, and that was no different in the ninth inning. Florida went on to win 2-0.

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