No. 15 Hokies Softball Fends Off UVa to Earn Commonwealth Clash Point

The Hokies swept Virginia in the Commonwealth Clash on Tuesday. (Virginia Tech athletics)

Production from the bottom of the lineup — with a couple homers along the way — boosted the No. 15 Hokies past Virginia in a 6-1 win on Tuesday in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech (36-9-1) has won its last 10 games.

In the second inning, shortstop Annika Rohs hit a two-RBI bloop single to get Tech on the board. A true freshman playing in place of Rachel Castine, who is out indefinitely with a broken hand, Rohs entered Tuesday with a .222 batting average, but has three hits and three RBI in her past two games.

 “I was just excited to get ahead early in the game,” Rohs told Tech Sideline after the game. “It was good that I knew I was rolling the lineup over to Emma Ritter. I knew that she was going to come in and do something good, too.”

Designated player Trinity Martin worked her way into the starting lineup after blasting a pinch-hit homer on Saturday against Georgia Tech. In her two games in the eight spot, she has hit two doubles and a homer — the latter being a solo blast in the fourth inning on Tuesday.

“It just makes our lineup deeper,” Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour said. “We’re comfortable one through nine. Actually, I shouldn’t say one through nine; it’s one through everybody in our lineup. Everybody on our bench can hit, so they’re just keeping it up.”

That’s almost burying the lede. Cori McMillan’s second-inning homer was Tech’s 101st of the season, breaking the program record set last year in 13 fewer games. The junior transfer from Radford has 16 home runs this season, blowing past her season totals at her previous school.

“The fact that we’re not even done with the regular season and we’re surpassing that record, I think it says a lot about the team and how much work they put in to do that,” Hokies starting pitcher Emma Lemley said.

The Hokies quickly went up 4-0 in the second inning on Tuesday after Rohs’ aforementioned two-RBI single, which scored Kylie Aldridge and Bre Peck. Addy Greene followed that up with a two-run double that scored Emma Ritter and Rohs. McMillan and Martin closed the door on the Cavaliers (30-16) with solo homers in the third and fourth innings, respectively.

Lemley threw all seven innings against UVa, amassing 116 pitches. She allowed just four hits, one run — a third-inning home to Bella Cabral, which made it 4-1 in Tech’s favor — and one walk while striking out eight batters. 

This came a week after Lemley pitched the duration of the first matchup between the in-state rivals, a 6-0 win last Tuesday in Charlottesville. In that game, she allowed two hits and also struck out eight.

“It’s hard to give up just one run in 14 innings against the same team, so she threw well,” D’Amour said.

Tossing 205 pitches against the same team in a week can allow the opposition to become familiar and learn how to attack. To combat this, Lemley was able to utilize a mix of options.

“I don’t have to rely on the rise ball for a 10-pitch at-bat anymore,” Lemley said. “It’s nice to have that drop ball, that off-speed changeup, and that has really helped me.”

Eden Bigham, the two-time reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week, started for the Cavaliers. But after throwing 198 pitches in two games last weekend against Duke, she was on a pitch count; the Hokies limited her to 1 ⅔ innings. Bigham allowed five hits, four runs and one walk while she amassed two strikeouts.

“We just went up and thought that Bigham was going to throw,” D’Amour said. “We prepared for it and, just like everything else, we just prepared one game at a time.”

Courtney Layne relieved Bigham for 2 ⅔ frames and allowed three hits and two runs. Maddison Harris ate the last 1 ⅔ shutout innings and gave up one hit.

The Hokies will face Marshall in another non-conference midweek game on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET. After that, they will travel up I-81 for their last conference series of the regular season against Syracuse.

Box Score: No. 15 Virginia Tech 6, Virginia 1 

6 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It’s good to get the point for the Commonwealth clash but I believe UVA already has that wrapped up.

  2. Gotta love those complete games. Last year was a lost year developmentally for Lemley what with the foot rule and no pitching coach. One year later and a new tool the drop ball must really be helping her game.

      1. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, as I believe it is still achievable. The 2022 softball and baseball regionals and super regionals were among the most enjoyable sporting events I have attended at VT. An encore would be great.

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