The Virginia Tech softball team was not able to close out No. 2 UCLA Friday night in Los Angeles, and consequently there will be a Game 3 between the two teams Saturday night. The Bruins and sophomore Pitcher Megan Faraimo shut down the VT hitters 2-0 in Friday’s game, forcing a winner-take-all game Saturday night with a trip to the College World Series on the line.
On Friday night, UCLA started Faraimo, an All Pac-12 Pitcher, and she dominated the Hokies, allowing just one hit and striking out 11 batters. Cameron Fagan was the lone Hokie baserunner of the night, drawing two walks and registering VT’s only hit, an infield single in the 4th inning. Virginia Tech did not advance a runner past first base all night long.
“I don’t think we’ve faced a kid throwing like that since I’ve been here,” said Hokie Coach Pete D’Amour. “She was throwing hard, going up and down, and was deceptively quick…She was getting swings and misses left and right – just getting us out. Sometimes you just give credit to their pitcher and move on.”
The Hokies’ Keely Rochard had another solid performance limiting the Bruins to two solo home runs that proved to be the difference. She registered eight strikeouts and no walks. Rochard has now struck out 20 Bruins in the two games. Her stat line was remarkably similar to Thursday night’s:
Keely Rochard last night: 7 innings, 87 pitches, 61 strikes, 12 Ks, 2 runs, 2 earned runs.
Keely Rochard tonight: 7 innings, 83 pitches, 61 strikes, 8 Ks, 2 runs, 2 earned runs.
VT still trails 2-0 as we go to the bottom of the 7th. #Hokies last chance.
— Tech Sideline (@TechSideline) May 29, 2021
“They got four hits tonight,” said D’Amour. “It’s not like they beat Keely up. It was two pitches here or there and it’s a different game.”
There’s little doubt that Rochard will get the ball in the deciding game on Saturday. The more difficult decision will be in the opposing dugout where UCLA Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez will have to decide between Faraimo and two time NCAA Player of the Year Rachel Garcia. Faraimo has now thrown nine innings against the Hokies and given up two hits and struck out 15. The Hokies scored four earned runs off of Garcia Thursday night, but his will be her final opportunity in front of the home fans.
Regardless of who is in the circle for UCLA, D’Amour and Rochard feel the Hokies will bounce back.
This is the Super Regionals,” said Rochard. “It’s not supposed to be easy…We’re really resilient and that’s important to any team.”
“We’re one game away,” added D’Amour. “We don’t have to beat them twice. We have to win one game. We’re a good team – we’ve proven that we belong here.”
Game time is once again 9:30 Eastern and the game is scheduled to be shown on ESPN2.
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I have become a girl’s softball fan. Win or lose I am very proud of these exceptional student athletes and their coaches and support staff. Wake up those bats and I expect these Hokies to win tonight.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see UCLA start Rachel Garcia tonight despite Megan Faraimo’s dominant start last evening since Inouye-Perez is very loyal to her All-American and Olympic team bound senior. I think the first signs of struggle and Faraimo comes in. Tech just needs to avoid the rise ball. They need to make her work. Whatever Fagan did, the rest of the team should follow. I thought Tech was getting better contact in the last few innings (they actually had one ball leave the infield). I don’t know if D’Amour should replace Milius/Chavez with Cana Davis or someone else if Faraimo is pitching. Keely pitched a very good game last night. I though she got better in the later innings.
I think your question about giving Cana Davis a look is a legitimate one. I respect coach D’Amour for giving Chavez some at bats since she’s from the southwest, but her BA is very low and she’s been at the plate in two very clutch situations. I’d like to see something different this evening.
Why do they water the infield down except from home to first. The rest is to slow us down on the basepaths’
Another factor I always look at and a lot of fans don’t like: UCLA is loaded with Sr. starters and VT starts: 3 Fr/ 4 Soph/ 3 Jr
Youth and speed will concur thy beast from the west and kill thine bear!!!
UCLA is a fairly young team as well if you look at their starting lineup.
Both teams have had a chance to see plenty of the opposing pitchers. Which team’s hitters are better able to make adjustments, lay off pitches out of the strike zone, etc.? This is high-quality playoff softball. So glad the Hokies are a part of it!
I’ll take the same pitching by Keely tonight as she did the last 2 nights, she’s got the goods. I just want the bats to wake up and be similar to last Thursday. Can I offer the bats some espresso? Just get a few hits in a row. The team has done it before and it will do it tonight.
See the ball, be the ball, crush the ball!!!
Great article Chip! Tonight is what it is all about and win or lose, I obviously hope win, the VT program benefits in the long term from the experience. Big time players come up big when the lights are the brightest. Go Hokies!
Gotta love Rochard “It’s not supposed to be easy” You want to play teams that can beat you, you want that challenge.
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