ACC Freshmen of the Year, Emma Lemley, started on the pitcher’s mound and was immediately plagued by the illegal pitching issue that troubled her last week during the Blacksburg Regional. Unlike the international softball rules, the NCAA does not allow a pitcher’s feet to leave the earth through the motion of the pitch. Emma’s power pitching technique often results in her feet leaving ground which leaves her vulnerable to having strikes turned into balls when the illegal pitch is enforced.
In addition to the pitching woes the Hokies were largely unsuccessful getting runners across Homeplate. Florida freshmen pitcher, Lexie Delbrey, was a ball factory. One of Virginia Tech’s runs was a walked score, due to Delbrey’s difficulty finding the strike zone. In the end, the Hokies left too many players on bases and didn’t capitalize on a multitude of scoring opportunities.
Virginia Tech held a brief 2-1 lead after the top of the fifth inning. Then disaster struck. Florida’s bats figured out how to hit Lemley. The Gators took the lead, 3-2, after a double. Lemley’s next pitch hit the Florida batter and ended a frustrating day for Hokie freshmen. With villain runners in scoring position and no outs, Keely Rochard took to the field, in hopes of possibly saving a bad situation from getting worse. It didn’t pan out and Florida put up two more runs before Rochard and company got them out of the batter’s box. Florida also made a pitching change, bringing in veteran, Natalie Lugo. The change-up worked well, for the Gators, with Lugo striking out several Hokies and not allowing any further VT points.
Down 5-2, at the bottom of the sixth, Ivy Rosenberry, came out to throw for VT. Considering the staleness of the Hokie offense, saving Rochard for a likely elimination game tomorrow became the priority. Rosenberry throws quite the quick softball, but those Gators were on one and looking to avenge the drubbing they received earlier, scoring two times. During Virginia Tech’s final at bat, Lugo struck out Slaw and Trull while Peck flied out.
Tomorrow will be the final game of the Blacksburg Super Regional. Whichever team walks away will be headed to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series.