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.