No. 12 Virginia Tech Softball Shows Resilience In 8-4 Win Over Pitt

Maija Louko had a crucial homer in the fourth against Pitt on Saturday. (Virginia Tech athletics)

No. 12 Virginia Tech softball showed resilience on Saturday against Pitt, stumbling in the sixth inning before adding insurance runs in its 8-4 win.

Lyndsey Grein was nearly perfect for five innings as the Hokies (20-4-1, 8-0 ACC) built a 5-0 lead; her only blemish was a two-out walk. In the sixth, though, the first three runners reached base, before Panthers (8-17, 0-5 ACC) right fielder Kylie Griggs knocked a grand slam.

In the bottom of the frame, Tech worked four walks and third baseman Bre Peck scored two with a single, which put the game away.

“No game is ever perfect,” Grein told Tech Sideline after the game. “It’s a game of failure, but our team really knows how to punch back, and I wouldn’t want anyone else in their shoes.”

In the first few innings, the Hokies built a solid cushion on three home runs. First baseman Michelle Chatfield hit a leadoff homer in the second inning to jumpstart things, then designated player Maija Louko and center fielder Emma Ritter followed with knocks of their own in the fourth.

When a potential no-hitter quickly unfolded into a narrow lead, the Hokies never panicked. They remained poised, in control and built up their lead more.

“When you get punched in the nose in the sixth, then come back to score three, that’s the sign of a good team,” Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour said.

Grein struck out 10 batters, marking the fourth time this season she has reached that total. Saturday was the first time in Grein’s career that she reached double-digits in ACC play. Six of those strikeouts came during her first time through Pitt’s batting order. She mixed her pitches effectively, preventing the Panthers from timing their swings.

“I made a plan with my coach and my catcher to use all three speeds today,” Grein said. “[I wanted] to give them a different look with my riseball and that was the plan. We toyed around with it here and there, but it worked out OK.”

Louko’s two-run homer in the fourth tripled Tech’s lead. In the senior’s first four career starts in the past week, she has six hits and five runs. Her home run on Saturday was her second career blast, after a pinch-hit knock against Notre Dame on March 3.

“I was trying to see the ball; I wasn’t trying to do anything too special,” Louko said. “I knew [Panthers starting pitcher Adriana Romano] was gonna throw it there, so I was making sure that I was ready to swing.”

After Pitt employed four arms in Tech’s 18-0 win on Friday, it used three on Saturday — using Kendall Brown and Kyra Pittman on consecutive days. While Romano went 3 ⅔ innings, no other arm made it more than a frame.

Until Grein allowed her first walk, many at Tech Softball Park spent the afternoon anticipating a perfect game — including those in the dugout. Louko said she was aware of the potential accomplishment but didn’t want to mention it and jinx it.

On the other hand, Grein focused on each individual pitch rather than the big picture.

“It’s like eating a whole cheeseburger all at once — if you try to do that, you’re gonna choke,” Grein said. “It’s the same thing with the game: if you try to play all seven innings at once, you’re gonna choke.”

The Hokies aren’t choking, despite some losses in their record, and are playing like the ranked team that they are. They are the only ACC team with an undefeated conference record since Florida State and Georgia Tech lost on Saturday.

Tech will look to build on its undefeated conference record in the last game of the series on Sunday at noon.

Box Score: No. 12 Virginia Tech 8, Pitt 4 

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. This team has all the elements: pitching, defense, offense, and rock solid coaching! Gonna be a fun year! Go Hokies!

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