No. 2 Virginia Tech softball (39-6, 21-2 ACC) had a productive weekend in Boston, sweeping Boston College and clinching the 2022 ACC regular season title.
The series sweep was the Hokies’ sixth of the season and helped the team set a school record with 21 ACC wins. VT has now won 28 of its last 31 games.
“Winning the regular season means more to me than winning the conference tournament and it always has,” Tech head coach Pete D’Amour told Tech Sideline after Saturday’s game. “You’re looking at a body of work that’s roughly 23/24 games instead of three games. We’ll still give our best effort in the tournament, of course and we’ll do our best to win that one too.”
The Hokies were clicking up north, outscoring Boston College 20-4 over the three games. They registered 27 hits, 11 for extra bases. Cameron Fagan, Emma Ritter and Morgan Overaitis all hit bombs this weekend and Ritter added a Sunday triple.
Keely Rochard, Emma Lemley and Ivy Rosenberry were in shutdown mode all weekend, with the four Eagles runs coming on two Sunday homers when the game was out of reach.
On Friday, it was the Rochard show as the All-American threw a 4-hit shutout. On Saturday, it was Emma Lemley’s turn, pitching a 3-hit shutout while the Hokie bats exploded. Tech posted 10 hits and nine runs in the run-rule win.
On Sunday, Rochard cruised through the first four innings, surrendering only two hits and striking out 10. It appeared the Hokies might pull off another run-rule as they led 8-0 entering the fifth inning.
However, the Eagles’ Kennedy Labshere hit a solo home run to extend the game and Kamryn Warman added a 3-run blast in the sixth. Ivy Rosenberry entered the game in the seventh and retired BC in order to seal the sweep.
“For the first four innings, Keely was unhittable,” D’Amour said. “She was throwing harder than she has the last couple of weeks and commanded her changeup. She may have gotten into a pattern in the fifth. Give credit to BC, they touched her up a little bit.
“It was good to see Ivy come in and throw bullets in the seventh. She had great bite on her drop; she was impressive.”
At the plate, Overaitis, Ritter and Jayme Bailey each registered two hits, with Overaitis blasting this 3-run, monster home run in the second.
— Virginia Tech Softball (@HokiesSoftball) May 1, 2022
“I didn’t realize we swept six series this year,” D’Amour said. “We’re just trying to win games. Any team that wins their respective conference will have a few sweeps.
“There was a major publication that published their ACC predictions this winter and conveniently left us out of their top three for this year. I don’t think we need to have that posted on our bulletin board anymore!”
The Hokies, who are projected to move back to the No. 1 RPI spot on Monday, have just one regular season game remaining – a Tuesday afternoon affair with Liberty. They will then prepare for the ACC Tournament, which is in Pittsburgh from May 12-14, followed by the NCAA tournament.
“After the game, I really stressed the importance of the next month,” D’Amour said. “We need to hit the weight room with purpose, be mindful of our nutrition and get our sleep. The goal is to be as fresh as we can for our last game of the season, whenever that may be. We would essentially be wasting all of the hard work we’ve put in since August if we let our guard down now. The players need to take ownership of that, it can’t come from me.”
Tuesday’s game is slated for 5 p.m. from Tech Softball Park and will be televised on ACC Network Extra.