No. 7 Seed Hokies Outlast No. 2 Seed Virginia, 1-0 in Eight Innings, in ACC Softball Championship First Round

May 14, 2010

BLACKSBURG, Va.-- Junior pitcher/utility player Ashton Ward provided a two-out, game winning run batted-in in the top of the eighth inning to send No. 7 seed Virginia Tech to a 1-0 victory over No. 2 Virginia in the first round of the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship today at Tech Softball Park in Blacksburg, Va.

The victory improves the Hokies to 25-32 (8-13 ACC) and advances them to tomorrow's first semifinal game where they will play No. 3 seed Florida State, which beat No. 6 seed Maryland, 3-0, earlier today. Virginia falls to 33-21 (13-7 ACC).

"We've been hurt all year and we had quite a few injuries the first time we played Virginia," said Virginia Tech head coach Scot Thomas. "We're finally healthy and we're playing consistent right now."

Hits came few and far between early on, as Virginia freshman first-team All-ACC pitcher Melanie Mitchell and Virginia Tech junior pitcher Kenzie Roark dueled in an offensive struggle.

The Cavaliers threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning when, with two runners in scoring position, Roark coaxed sophomore shortstop Clara Kendall into a groundout to first base.

In the top of the eighth inning, Hokie freshman third baseman Ella Miller pinch ran for senior outfielder Whitney Davis, who got on third base via a throwing error from the Virginia second baseman. Miller advanced to second after a walk to the following batter, then came around to score on Ward's two-out, RBI single.

Roark started and worked all 8.0 innings, allowed only five hits, and fanned four batters. She improved to 10-19 this season. Mitchell, who entered the game with a league-high-tying 26 wins, pitched 8.0 innings, allowing an unearned run on six hits, and struck out three, but fell to 26-16.

Virginia Tech, which has won six of its last seven games and three straight at Tech Softball Park, plays No. 3 seed Florida State tomorrow, Saturday, May 15 at 1 p.m. The game will be video-streamed live via ACC Select on theACC.com. USA Softball Assistant Coach Barbara Jordan and Jerry Massey have the call.

2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship
Tech Softball Park; Blacksburg, Va.
#7 Virginia Tech vs. #2 Virginia Postgame Quotes

Virginia Tech head coach Scot Thomas

Opening Statement: "We've been hurt all year and we had quite a few injuries the first time we played Virginia. We're finally healthy and we're playing consistent right now.

On playing Florida State in tomorrow's first semifinal game: "The ACC, second place through seventh place, is very balanced. That middle part of the conference is pretty much the same."

Virginia Tech junior pitcher/utility player Ashton Ward

On her pinch-hit,game-winning RBI: "When you're in a situation like that it's a lot of fun. The defense and pitching leading up to it fires you up for the opportunity. I was glad it was me that got the opportunity."

Virginia head coach Eileen Schmidt Opening Statement: "You have to give [credit] to Virginia Tech. They played a great game. They came up with big defensive plays, had a big pitching performance from [junior pitcher Kenzie] Roark, and they had the timely hit."

On Virginia's potential to receive its first selection to the NCAA Softball Championship: "I think it will be hard not to take us. We were second in the ACC after having finished eighth the last three years."

2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Softball Championship
Softball Park; Blacksburg, Va.
#7 Virginia Tech vs. #2 Virginia Postgame Notes

  • The game marked the first time an ACC Softball Championship contest went into extra innings since 2005.
  • The 1-0 score ties with 13 other championship games as the lowest scoring in ACC history.
  • #7 seeds are 5-9 all-time in the championship

Virginia Tech... ...improves to 25-32 (8-13 ACC). ...improves to 23-16 all-time against Virginia Tech. ...improves to 3-2 against Virginia in the championship. ...junior pitcher Kenzie Roark earned the win and improved to 10-19. ...played in its first extra-inning game in the championship since 2005. ...has won six of its last seven games. ...has won three straight games at Tech Softball Park. Starting Lineup: 1. Richelle McGarva, dp; 2. Misty Hall, ss; 3. Whitney Davis, rf; 4. Courtney Liddle, c; 5. Kristen Froehlich, lf; 6. Ashton Ward, cf; 7. Kristin Graham, 1b; 8. Kristina Cruz, 3b; 9. Bkaye Smith, 2b.

Virginia... ...falls to 33-21 (13-7 ACC). ...falls to 16-23 all-time against Virginia Tech. ...falls to 2-3 against Virginia Tech in the championship. ...falls to 3-2 in extra inning games and 9-4 in one-run games this season. ...freshman first-team All-ACC pitcher Melanie Mitchell suffered the loss and fell to 26-16. ...played in its first extra-inning game in the championship since 1994. Starting Lineup: 1. Alex Skinkis, 2b; 2. Lauren McCaskey, 1b; 3. Nicole Koren, dp; 4. Sarah Tacke, rf; 5. Giannina Cipolloni, cf; 6. Clara Kendall, ss; 7. Alison Pittman, c; 8. Abby Snyder, 3b; 9. Taylor Williams, lf.