No. 2 Virginia Tech Softball Defeats Syracuse 2-1 In ACC Tournament

Virginia Tech third baseman Bre Peck rounds the bases after homering in the fourth, the game-winning run. (David Hague)

The legend of Enter Sandman and the No. 2 Virginia Tech softball team got a new chapter Thursday.

Almost 14 years to the day that a rain delay rendition of Metallica’s signature song sparked the 2008 Hokies to a Super Regional berth, the same tune boosted the 2022 team to an ACC semifinal appearance.

Freshman Bre Peck heard the tune in the middle of the fourth inning of the 1-1 game and knew she “had to do something.” She promptly blasted her 11th home run of the season over the center field fence in the fourth inning to propel Virginia Tech to a 2-1 win in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.

“It was probably not the best pitch,” Peck said after the game. “It was low and outside, but I was able to get the barrel of the bat on it.”

“All that matters is wins,” Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour said after the victory. “You expect to see this in the post-season, but just win and advance. Tomorrow is a new day.”

ACC Pitcher of the Year Keely Rochard got the start for the Hokies and struggled a bit to start, giving up three hits in the first inning. One of those was a Neli Casares-Maher solo home run that gave Syracuse an early 1-0 lead.

After a slow start, Keely Rochard got a handle on the game in the later innings, looking like her usual self. (David Hague)

However, the Orange could not get the key hit they needed to create some breathing room throughout the rest of the contest, leaving two runners on base in each of the first four innings. And, in spite of her struggles, D’Amour never seriously considered taking Rochard out. 

“She’s our workhorse,” he said after the game, “so we ride her. She’s earned the right to stay out there.”

Rochard rewarded her coach’s faith, holding Syracuse scoreless after the first inning, and retired the side in the seventh on just eight pitches. She ended the day with 10 strikeouts.

“It was just a matter of figuring out what they were doing during their at bats,” Rochard said. “Mac [catcher Mackenzie Lawter] and I were noticing little things and adjusting. By the end of the game, we were fine.”

The Hokies tied the game in the third inning on this RBI single by Morgan Overaitis, which scored sliding Jayme Bailey.

The No. 1 seed Hokies will now play No. 5 seed Clemson on Friday at 1 p.m. in the ACC Tournament semifinals on the ACC Network. The Tigers beat No. 4 seed Notre Dame 7-3 on Thursday to advance.

Tech opened ACC play against at Clemson in early March and swept the Tigers by scores of 6-1, 4-0 and 4-2. Here’s the recap of those games.

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  1. I didn’t get to see Tincher enough to form a lasting opinion (although the no-hit shutout win over the Olympic team was very memorable to say the least) but I’ve watched the majority of every single pitch Keely has thrown in her career. What a warrior!! It doesn’t matter how many she throws in the dirt, over their heads, or how many go for hits, etc. Her focus is on the next pitch and even after a beautiful perfectly thrown rise ball that they swing at over their head for the strikeout, her focus goes right back to the next pitch. I just sit and marvel watching her perfection of her craft. It is my humble opinion, no matter what happens the rest of the way, that her number should be put on the fence right next to Tincher’s.

    1. Pretty much agree. Tincher’s number is, hopefully, retired. Keely’s jersey needs to be retired.

      Kinda like they’ve done with football numbers and jerseys.

  2. Solid start to the postseason. Let’s just keep grinding out wins .. one game at a time.

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