No. 11 Virginia Tech Softball Drops 6-5 Heartbreak At No. 5 Duke

Addy Greene and Virginia Tech dropped a heartbreaker on Friday at Duke. (Virginia Tech athletics)

DURHAM, N.C. — In one of its toughest losses of the season, No. 11 Virginia Tech dropped a 6-5 decision to No. 5 Duke Friday night.

The defeat leaves two teams tied at the top of the ACC standings with identical 9-2 records. They will play the third game of the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET (ACC Network Extra).

The Hokies (25-7-1) got off to a strong start Friday evening. After a leadoff triple by Emma Ritter, an error and a fielder’s choice, Bre Peck blasted her ninth home run of the season deep over the right-center field wall to give the Hokies an early 3-0 lead. One batter later, Michelle Chatfield added a solo shot, giving the Hokies a 4-0 lead before the Blue Devils (28-3) came to bat.

However, Duke is ranked fifth in the country for a reason. Preseason All-ACC selection Ana Gold recorded her first of four hits on the night in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run, cutting the margin to two. She later tied the game in the fifth with another two-run blast. The Hokies threatened several times in the middle innings but stranded seven runners on base.

The Blue Devils took the lead in the sixth with a single, a sacrifice bunt and a run-scoring single by Sarah Goddard, which made it 5-4.

Down to their last at-bat, the Hokies tied the game in the seventh with a Peck single followed by a Cori McMillan base hit, which got away from Goddard in right field and allowed Peck to score from first and McMillan to reach second. She then stole third, putting the go-ahead run just 60 feet away from home.

However, she was thrown out at the plate when she tried to score on a short fly ball to left field by Chatfield.

Duke walked things off in the bottom of the seventh when Kelly Torres hit a bases-loaded single off of Hokies starter Lyndsey Grein.

“We played much better and more relaxed than we did last night,” Tech head coach Pete D’Amour told Tech Sideline after the game. “Offensively, we put some runs up early and we made loud outs throughout the game. Lyndsey pitched well and gave us a chance to win.”

D’Amour said he considered taking Grein out of the game in the seventh, but when he looked at the radar gun, her velocity wasn’t dropping much.

Chatfield’s first-inning home run was her 15th of the year, breaking the Virginia Tech record for home runs by a freshman set by Kelsey Bennett in 2019. She has a chance to break the single-season record for home runs of 19 by Caitlyn Nolan, also set in 2019.

“It was a drop that she left up a little bit,” said Chatfield of her homer, quickly giving credit to her teammates for help her with the transition to college. “It’s amazing. Our upperclassmen are the best teammates you could ever ask for. They are great friends and are just great people.”

Junior catcher Kylie Aldridge returned to the Tech lineup and went 2-for-2 while Peck led the Hokies with three hits and three RBI.

Junior Emma Lemley (6-2, 2.58 ERA) is expected to get the start in Saturday’s game.

Box Score: No. 5 Duke 6, No. 11 Virginia Tech 5 

5 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Hi Chip – TY for the write-up! Boxscore says Vega got the 4/4 hit day…fyi…keep up the great fun work!

  2. With the way the team played at Alabama, I thought we would take at least one game from duke. Maybe 2. Thought we had an excellent pitching rotation. Reckon not. Getting swept doesn’t bode well for the remainder of the season as we start playing the better teams in the ACC.

    1. Actually, Duke is, by far, the best team in the ACC. They are deservedly top five in the country.

      The Hokies will be favorites in all of their remaining games, but they have to execute.

  3. Disappointing but great effort. Chip, do you think the tag on short fly ball was too risky with 1 more out to go? Or id it take a great play to nail her at the plate?

    1. That is a tough call and hindsight is always 20/20.

      You had one of the fastest players on the team on third and it took a really, really good throw to get her. It’s two outs and a tie game – I don’t hate the decision, but I obviously don’t love the outcome.

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