The Virginia Tech softball team split a pair of games Saturday with the University of Virginia, falling 1-0 in eight innings before taking the second game, 4-2, in front of a season-high crowd of 1,363 fans at Tech Softball Park.
The first game was a pitcher's duel between UVa's Melanie Mitchell and Tech's Jasmin Harrell, but Mitchell came out on top after limiting the Hokies to just two hits as the Cavs picked up the extra-inning win.
The two teams were scoreless through seven before UVa executed a hit-and-run as pinch runner Heidi Velk scored from first base on Giannina Cipolloni's double.
Tech had just two hits, one from Logan Spaw and one from Kelsey Mericka. Harrell (L, 21-11) went all eight innings, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. Mitchell shut down the Hokies, allowing just the two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
In the second game, Tech jumped all of UVa starter Rachel Gillen, scoring four runs in the first inning. Courtney Liddle drove in Lauren Gaskill with a single and then Mericka crushed the first pitch she saw over the fence for a two-run home run to make it 3-0. Tech scored a fourth run when UVa committed its third error of the inning.
After a rain delay of nearly 90 minutes, the Cavs came back and scored a run in the second inning, but got nothing else before a lightning delay cleared the field just moments after Tech got the final out in the top of the fifth inning to make the game official. After a nearly three-hour delay, the two teams took the field again, and while UVa got a run on a home run, and then put two runners on in the seventh inning, the Hokies held on for the win.
Lauren Gaskill and Logan Spaw each had two hits to lead the way while Courtney Liddle, Bkaye Smith and Mericka (2 RBIs) each had one.
Bailey Liddle pitched the first two innings, allowing a run on two hits with a walk in the no decision. Harrell (W, 22-11) pitched the final five innings, giving up a run on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Gillen (L, 5-10) took the loss for UVa, going just over an inning. She allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with two strikeouts. Mitchell pitched the final five innings, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out seven more.
Tech (33-16, 10-5 ACC) and UVa (21-22, 6-11 ACC) are scheduled to play the third and final game of the series Sunday at 1 p.m., but rain is in the forecast. Be sure to check back here and on Twitter for updates on potential changes.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).