Hokies Softball’s Hosting Hopes Dashed In Loss To Yellow Jackets

Emma Ritter was the only Virginia Tech player to record a hit on Thursday in Durham. (Virginia Tech athletics)

DURHAM, N.C. — In a reversal of fortunes, No. 6 seed Georgia Tech defeated No. 3 seed Virginia Tech 6-2 Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, dashing any hopes the Hokies had of hosting a NCAA Tournament Regional in Blacksburg.

The Hokies (39-12-1), who have a current RPI of 17, were hoping a run in the ACC Tournament would propel them to one of the 16 regional hosting sites. But such thoughts fell to the wayside due to an anemic offensive display and a home run barrage from the Yellow Jackets (32-22), a team that is fourth in the country in home runs per game.

The same teams had met just three weeks ago in Blacksburg and Virginia Tech swept all three games: 8-4, 10-4 and 11-2. However, it was the Georgia Tech that was in control Thursday night, blasting three home runs and holding the Hokies to just three hits, all by All-ACC First Team pick Emma Ritter.

The Yellow Jackets got on the board in the second inning after stringing together a single, a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a groundout to take a 1-0 lead.

The Hokies tied the game in the third when Ritter tripled to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly from Addy Greene.

Georgia Tech regained the lead in the fourth when Jayden Gailey, who went hitless in Blacksburg, smacked her fifth home run of the year off of Virginia Tech starter Lyndsey Grein. Those were the only two runs that Grein surrendered in her 4 ⅔ innings of work.

Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour told Tech Sideline that he started Grein against Georgia Tech because “it was a good matchup for her” and “we knew we were going to have to win three games this week.”

Grein was replaced by freshman Emma Mazzarone, who got out of a jam in the fifth but then surrendered a three-run pinch-hit home run to Grace Connelly, her first ever collegiate home run. Emma Lemley entered in the sixth but yielded a solo home run in the seventh to Tiffany Dominque.

Trailing 6-1, Ritter hit her 14th home run of the season in the final frame, but it proved to be too little, too late.

However, Ritter’s home run, triple, and single on Thursday set a new Virginia Tech career record of 415 total bases, breaking the previous mark of 412 held by current student assistant Jayme Bailey.

Afterwards, Ritter pointed to her leadership role as a senior.

“We’re still the same team that we’ve always been,” Ritter said. “One game doesn’t determine your skill level. We still have a lot to play for — we’ll be good.”

“No need to push the panic button,” D’Amour added. “We didn’t produce tonight when it mattered, but we also had a poor ACC Tournament in 2021, but then we went to Arizona for regionals and hit the cover off the ball.”

That year, the Hokies fell to Clemson in the conference tournament before sweeping the NCAA Regional in Tempe in three games and outscoring opponents 24-7.

Virginia Tech will find out its postseason destination on the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

 “We’ll go home, practice and see where we’re headed Sunday night,” D’Amour said.

Box Score: Georgia Tech 6, Virginia Tech 2 

11 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Does it seem possible that there is a benefit to losing the quarter-final game? The answer is yes! If the Hokie ladies had won, then there would have been continued pressure and effort to win the ACC Tournament – a trophy, a title and a slight chance to host the NCAA, but also an exhausted pitching staff and team. As it stands now the remaining contenders are overworking their teams while the Hokie ladies’ pitchers and team are rested and fresh for the NCAA tournament.

  2. To win in softball you have to hit! My wife and I were at the game last night in Durham. What a disappointment to see our Lady Hokies flat for the first game. I can’t wrap my head around losing the game last night. We normally hit the cover off the ball. GT pitching was solid last night, but not world beating. Our ladies have to start hitting! It will be a short regionals if our ladies don’t wake up and hit the ball. Our pitching is not the issue, Grien pitched well enough to win, but if you don’t hit you lose! There just wasn’t any fire in the players or coaches last night. We need the seniors to step up and show the leadership to the younger players and set the standard of what is expected out of each player. Fagan was doing that the entire game, talking to the pitchers and encouraging them.

  3. Loved how Coach dressed the part for the game, he must of thought it was casual Thursday.

  4. Well, it’s been 3 weeks and the team isn’t out of it’s funk yet. Absolute worst time to play it’s poorest of the year. Better figure it out quick or it’s gonna be one and done.

    1. More so another example of a team that is good but not elite, and can lose to anyone at anytime.

  5. From host to toast. Coach, You win 3 games this week by winning the FIRST one. Obviously looking past GT was not good.

    1. Wasn’t pitching decision that cost us. It was our complete no show on offense. HE didn’t look past them. Maybe the players did…seemed like each player was trying to score 8 runs every time they came to bat (8 was our LOW total at home vs GT)

      1. Coach said he was looking at the tournament and that “we knew we were going to have to win 3 games this week”.

        Well, no, since you looked past the first one you didn’t win ANY games this week.

        Read the article for the quote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *