This weekend the No .9 (ESPN / USA Softball Poll) / No. 8 (USA Today Coaches Poll) Virginia Tech Hokies have been participating in the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational being held at Clearwater, FL. The invitational has seen multiple top-ten ranked programs meet Hokies, including the No. 5 / No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys, the No. 2 / No. 2 UCLA Bruins, and the No. 15 / No. 10 Arizona Wildcats.
After starting the season quickly, jumping out to a 5-0 record, the Hokies collected their first loss of the season against Oklahoma State. A six-run fourth inning put the Cowboys up, 9-3. The Hokies immediately retorted with a three-run fifth inning while blanking OSU during both the fifth and sixth innings. Virginia Tech tied it up, 9-9, and headed into the bottom of the seventh with plans to force extra innings. The Cowboys denied the Hokies the comeback opportunity when Cheyenne Factor scored the winning point off Katie Lott’s double, downing VT with a final of 10-9.
The second game of the day found the Hokies up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. VT took the lead early, 4-1, heading into the bottom of the fourth, but the Cornhusker bats found life and tied the game, 4-4. The Virginia Tech defense locked the ‘Huskers down for the remainder of the game and homers from Kelsey Bennett and Madison Hanson lifted the Hokies to a win with a final of 6-4. Sophomore pitcher, Emma Lemley, struck out five and held Nebraska to 1-for-5 (0.20) with runners in scoring position.
Cam Fagan the fantastic! #NCAASoftball x @HokiesSoftball pic.twitter.com/sVipXMwuHd— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) February 17, 2023
Saturday started off tough when VT faced off against one of the consistently best softball programs in the country. UCLA’s six score first inning was disastrous for the Hokies starting pitcher, Bre Peck. She was replaced by freshmen, Lyndsey Grein, who only gave up two runs and struck out six Bruins, before the Hokies ultimately fell, 8-4.
Another big one for @GreinLyndsey!— Virginia Tech Softball (@HokiesSoftball) February 18, 2023
Ready for a rally. pic.twitter.com/3mHnesFNtT
Virginia Tech’s second Saturday game is something of a frustration. Emma Lemley was back on the mound and struck out a career high 17 batters against the Arizona Wildcats, but she gave up six runs, four of which happened in the final inning. Arizona pitcher, Devyn Netz, also pitched all seven innings, only giving up four hits and two runs. A disappointing Saturday came to a close with another Hokies loss, 6-2.
New career-high in strikeouts with 17 for @Emmmaaclairee!— Virginia Tech Softball (@HokiesSoftball) February 19, 2023
Time for a rally. pic.twitter.com/Fgxk3FGoED
Virginia Tech finish off their time at the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational against the South Florida Bulls. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with a start time of noon on Sunday.