Emma Lemley’s 50th Career Win Propels Virginia Tech Softball to LA Regional Victory

Emma Lemley Virginia Tech
Emma Lemley earned her 50th career win in dominant fashion over San Diego State to open the LA Regional. (Virginia Tech Athletics)

Emma Lemley allowed just three hits and no earned runs in a dominant showing against San Diego State on Friday, boosting No. 17 Virginia Tech softball to a 5-1 win and into the winners’ bracket of the Los Angeles Regional.

Lemley tossed the duration — throwing 93 pitches — and her only blemish was an unearned run in the sixth inning. After allowing a two-out single in the first inning, she retired the next 13 consecutive batters. She struck out six and walked none.

“Once you get to the postseason, everyone is good,” Lemley said. “You can’t take any batter lightly at this point. Just really sticking with our one-pitch-at-a-time mindset is really key at this point. You have to take it pitch by pitch, out by out, to put seven innings together. It’s really important.”

Most importantly, she will be relatively fresh going into the rest of the LA Regional.

“Emma threw really well today, got us seven innings, and didn’t look like she labored at all,” said Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour.” That’s good because it means she can come back tomorrow. We’ve got three or four other fresh pitchers because they didn’t throw.”

Friday’s win marked Lemley’s 13th of the season and the 50th of her career.

“I had no clue [about the milestone] until they told me right after the game,” she said. “I have the best team, and the best support staff behind me. My coaches have been nothing but encouraging since I was a freshman here. They’ve wanted nothing but for me to improve, and I think I really have, especially over the last year, improved. I’ve stepped up my game, and I have the best team behind me for those 50 wins.”

Tech (40-12-11) went scoreless into the third inning, until shortstop Annika Rohs singled to lead off the frame and second baseman Cameron Fagan later scored her on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Rohs grounded out to bring in designated player Trinity Martin. In the fifth, right fielder Cori McMillan doubled in left fielder Addy Greene.

Addy Greene Virginia Tech
Addy Greene led the Hokies with three hits (Virginia Tech Athletics)

Nine different Hokies recorded hits, but none more than Greene’s three. Greene hit three singles, including one in the sixth inning to score pinch hitter Maija Louko, raising Tech’s lead to four.

Rohs singled in her first at bat and scored pinch runner Sara McNelly with a groundout in her second. Entering Friday’s game, the freshman was hitting just .215 in her first collegiate season but put together two productive plate appearances in her first NCAA Tournament game.

The Aztecs (31-19) struggled against Lemley, amassing their only run when first baseman Mac Barbara singled in pinch runner Elianna Reyes. Reyes ran in place of second baseman Makena Brocki, who reached base after Lemley committed an error, meaning their one run was unearned.

San Diego State found pitching by committee and had no arm throw more than two innings, splitting time between Allie Light, Dee Dee Hernandez, Cece Cellura and Cassidy West. Light and Cellura each threw two frames and 35 pitches.

The Hokies recorded just one extra base hit — McMillan’s double in the fifth. Despite the lack of longballs, which is uncharacteristic for a team that has 113 home runs this season, they hit 7-for-19 with runners on base, including 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The Hokies didn’t hit homers, but they didn’t need to.

After playing approximately four games per week throughout the season, the Hokies played just one contest since May 1 — a 6-2 loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. That layoff allowed the team to practice more and focus on the rest of the postseason, which D’Amour said helped the team.

“I think it was good for us to get back to practicing hard again,” D’Amour said. “That hard practice gives you preparation to perform. We could rest, we got out here a couple of days early, a little bit tired but we got over that. The last week was really beneficial for us.”

Box Score: Virginia Tech 5, San Diego State 1

Next Game: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA

Virginia Tech vs. UCLA
5:00 PM Eastern
Saturday, May 18

Tech will need to ride its momentum and take it up a notch on Saturday, when it plays No. 6 UCLA at 5 p.m. ET in the winners’ bracket. The game will be televised on ESPN. The winner of that game will advance to the final of the regional on Sunday, while the loser will fight to keep its season alive in the consolation game on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.

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