No. 11 Hokies Fight Past Scrappy Mocs, Sweep Weekend Series

The Hokies had a successful weekend in Blacksburg, sweeping Chattanooga. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

As the March air continued to warm up, so too did the bats for the No. 11 Hokies, who delivered a doubleheader defeat to the visiting Mocs, 4-1 and 9-5.

To assure a series victory against Chattanooga (14-13), Virginia Tech (25-6) pitched Emma Lemley to kick off the doubleheader and the result was as expected.

After giving up just two hits in three relief innings the evening prior, Lemley (15-2) was still in her element, blowing the ball past hitters and evading swinging bats with ease.

In fact, she allowed just three base runners through the first six innings, courtesy of two singles and a walk, while striking out 11.

Meanwhile, the Mocs had also cleaned up defensively, as Peja Goold (4-5) had far better luck in inducing outs and pitching strikes, though she still had some difficulty, creating five walks.

Nonetheless, Goold managed to keep Tech hitless for the first three innings. But she put the visitors under heavy pressure after loading the bases with just one out recorded. However, the defense tightened up, with Emily Coltharp throwing out Maija Louko as she headed home in the fourth. Teagan Thrunk struck out after that, stranding all three runners.

The Hokies finally broke through in the fifth.

Grace Chavez’s inclusion in the DP spot on Saturday provided dividends, as she comfortably pulled a slider tailing away from her over the left field wall to score her and Jayme Bailey on second.

Grace Chaves played a huge role in the Hokies’ Saturday victories. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Even though the Hokies got in front 2-0 with the long ball, they doubled up their lead by fitting balls through the infield gaps. After Addy Greene worked a walk to lead off the sixth inning, Emma Ritter and Cameron Fagan backed her up with singles, batting her around the base path.

Madison Hanson pinch-hit for Thrunk and managed a sacrifice fly to left field at advanced Ritter to third before Kylie Aldridge got her second hit of the day, an RBI single up the middle.

With Tech ahead 4-0 and barely anything going in favor of Chattanooga offensively, the mountain was just too steep to climb. A couple of walks and singles in the seventh made it interesting for the Mocs, but Lemley shut the door on them to preserve the victory and clinch the series.

In order to complete the sweep, Pete D’Amour turned to Molly Jacobson (3-1) in the third game of the weekend. She was given an early cushion, too.

After just a single in the first by Chattanooga, Tech got two baserunners on when Ritter was hit by a pitch and Fagan singled off Taylor Long (4-3). A wild pitch advanced the runners 60 feet and Chavez struck once again with a sac fly into shallow right field that allowed Ritter to score.

The Hokies doubled up on the next at-bat as Bailey flew a ball into shallow right center that just managed to drop down. An error by Acelynn Sellers allowed Fagan to score as well, putting the home squad up 2-0.

Jacobson surrendered singles in the second and fourth innings, and would’ve escaped the third as well had it not been for two uncharacteristic fielding errors from Fagan and Thrunk.

Greene extended Tech’s lead with a two-run shot in the fourth that contributed to the end of Long’s day, pushing the lead to 4-0. Izzy Alley came in to relieve Long but had a tough task in front of her. Bre Peck had already singled off Long and she advanced to third during the next at-bat off a wayward throw from Presley Williamson behind the dish.

Aldridge, who continued her great weekend, struck the ball firmly into center field, sacrificing herself for Peck to score and make it 5-0.

Pete D’Amour showed his faith in Molly Jacobson, and she closed out Saturday’s doubleheader. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Jacobson began losing her way in the fifth inning as the frame kicked off with a solo shot from Adison Keylon. Another error from Fagan and a trio of singles added a second run for the Mocs and kept the bases loaded with one out.

In this challenging situation, D’Amour backed his sophomore and his faith was repaid. Jacobson induced a lineout in which Bailey made a remarkable diving effort to snag it out of the air before turning around to tag first base and complete the double play.

In response to Chattanooga bringing the deficit back to three, 5-2, the Hokies exploited a familiar problem for the Mocs this weekend: walks.

The Mocs had immense difficulty locating the zone Friday, walking 15 batters, which broke Tech’s program record. In the bottom of the fifth, that strain returned as Chavez, Kelsey Bennett and Greene all drew free passes to load up the bases.

Peck cashed in, rocketing a line drive grand slam into left field that put the Hokies up 9-2 and in striking distance of a run-rule victory. They were unable to finish the deed, however, as Jacobson worked herself into similar trouble in the next inning.

After a groundout by Williamson on the first pitch, the Mocs hit three consecutive singles. Coltharp bat in a runner on a fielder’s choice, removing the runner on second, but a walk put Tech right back in the same position. A single by Kaili Phillips that appeared to skip off of Bennett’s glove into left field scored two and had the Mocs trailing 9-5.

From there, the offense died down and Jacobson managed to get out of the inning. Alyssa Lavdis shut the Hokies down in relief, and Lemley relieved Jacobson for the final inning, ending Chattanooga’s hope of an incredible comeback.

Tech continues its home stand with a midweek clash on Tuesday against Liberty at 6 p.m.

Box Score: Chattanooga 1, No. 11 Virginia Tech 4
Box Score: Chattanooga 5, No. 11 Virginia Tech 9 

1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Seems like a different offensive philosophy for the Hokies in recent games advancing runners surgically. Necessity or coach’s choice I wonder. Is coach still tweaking and learning about this team? Either case, as they say, “just win, baby!”

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