Over the next few weeks we'll count down the Top 10 moments in Virginia Tech sports in the 2010-11 sports season. Only one moment per sport is eligible for the countdown, otherwise this would just be seven or eight football moments and then it might as well have just been the football Top 10 and done in January. And since I was too lazy to do that and there isn't anything going on during the summer we're doing this. Hope you enjoy.
We begin our countdown with the zenith of Hokies softball season when the team went into Tallahassee and came away with a crucial series win. At the time, it seemed like a turning point that would lead to a successful season for the young team. Instead, it turned out to be the lone bright spot from Tech's ACC season.
The Hokies went into their series at Florida State April 2-3 on an eight-game winning streak. They started their season by winning tournaments in Charlotte and Charleston and with strong showings in Conway, SC, Orlando and Tempe. They started ACC play with a hard-fought series in Chapel Hill that saw them take one of three followed by a three-game sweep of Boston College in Blacksburg.
Then came the trip to FSU. Throughout the season, the Hokies had received solid pitching from Jasmin Harrell and Kenzie Roark. What had eluded them in their losses, most of which were close, was clutch hitting. After the first game against the Seminoles, it seemed like that trend would continue.
Tech lost the opener of its series in Tallahassee, 1-0, with Harrell the hard luck loser. The Hokies managed just three hits and left three runners in scoring position. The lone FSU run came on a solo home run in the bottom of the 6th.
Game 2 was more of the same for six innings as Tech went into the seventh down 1-0 with just three hits behind Roark. The Hokies finally got something going three outs away from losing the series Dani Anderson doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a rare two-out hit by Ashton Ward.
The score remained tied at one until the 10th inning when Tech received another leadoff double, this time from Ward. She advanced to third on an error and scored two batters later on a fielder's choice. Tech managed to load the bases with two out, but couldn't scratch across any insurance runs.
Roark gave up an infield single in the bottom half of the inning, but got the final out to even up the series. She gave up one unearned run on six hits in 10 IP.
The rubber match was another one-run, extra-inning game. It was a slugfest compared to the previous two games and saw the Hokies cough up a 3-0 lead. In the eighth, Ward led off with a single and after a pair of sacrifice bunt attempts was driven in by Laura Wolff.
Roark, who pitched the final 3.2 innings in relief, shut the door in the bottom of the either and gave Tech the series win and a 6-3 ACC record.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, it would be their final ACC series win. Though the end of the season was full of disappointments, there were some young players who came through during the season that the future of the team looks bright. The fight the team showed on the road in Tallahassee and the key hits they got from young players like Wolff and Anderson show the best is yet to come from this group.
Other Highlights from the Softball Season:
- Winning the 49er Round Robin Feb. 12-13.
- Winning the Buccaneer Invite Feb. 18-19.
- Going 4-1 at the Diamond Devil Invitational March 11-12.
- Sweeping Boston College March 26-27.
- Upsetting ACC champion Georgia Tech April 9.