This past weekend the Virginia Tech Hokies opened their softball season at the Sportco Kick Off Classic in Las Vegas, NV.
The Fighting Gobblers started their season with a 4-3 victory over Indiana State. The Hokies trailed, 0-1, for the first four innings, but came alive during the fifth when Aysha Richardson, Olivia Lattin, and Breanna Davenport combined for three runs. Vanessa Gonzalez crushed her 17th career home run, at the top of the sixth, to put the Hokies up 4-1. At the bottom of the seventh Indiana returned to the scoreboard with two runs, and came within one score of tying the game. Senior, Aysha Richardson, replaced Freshmen, Carrie Eberle, on the mound, and earned her first career save.
For their second game of the day the Hokies faced UNLV. The Rebels dominated the game from start to finish, jumping out to a 0-4 lead after the first two innings. VT reduced the deficit to three with two runs at the top of the fifth, making the score 2-4. Las Vegas was having none of it and immediately answered at the bottom of the fifth with five runs of their own. After a scoreless sixth for the Hokies and another score by the Rebels the game was called early with UNLV winning, 2-10.
Virginia Tech shrugged of the disappointing loss to the Rebels and crushed Southern Utah, 7-1, after weather postponed the game. Lauren Duff showed that her 2016 ACC Freshmen of the Year award was not misplaced when she scored twice. (Go Hawks! Ms. Duff and I share the same high school in Chesapeake, VA). Chelsea Whitcomb tallied multiple strike outs, from the mound, and scored a run. Davenport, Jessie Mehr, Gonzalez, and Emma Strouth all added to the scoreboard. It was a dominating performance from the Hokies and rising stars Whitcomb and Duff.
To finish the Sportco Tournament, the Fighting Gobblers faced CSU Bakersfield. The Hokies accelerated quickly, scoring three runs during the bottom of the first. The Roadrunners were never able to score without a Hokie response. CSUB scored only during the top of the second and the top of the fourth. The Hokies responded with one run and then two runs at the bottom of those respective innings. The Hokies finished the tournament with a 6-2 win over the Roadrunners.
The opening performance of VT is certainly more inspiring than their start to the 2016 season when they went 1-3 during the first four games of last year, which kicked off eight straight losses.
The Fighting Gobblers start the season 3-1 after their first tournament. This coming weekend the Hokies will travel to Atlanta, Georgia and will participate in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge where they will face both Iowa and Penn State.
Great start to the year Hokies!