RALEIGH, N.C. - Karley Wester’s walk-off triple was a difference maker in the final quarterfinal of the 2016 ACC Softball Championship at NC State’s Dail Softball Stadium.
Karley Wester led off for Notre Dame in the bottom of the seventh and hit a triple and ran home for the go-ahead score on a Hokie throwing error.
Rachel Nasland (14-13) earned the win for the Irish while K. Wester shined at the plate going 3-for-4 with three runs.
With the win, Notre Dame (40-10) advances to the today’s semifinals, where it will face No. 2 seed Louisville at 3:30 p.m.
The Fighting Irish went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first and before a lighting delay that halted the game at 8 p.m. The game resumed at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.
In the bottom of the first, after K. Wester led off with a single, Ali Wester put down a bunt single and got caught in a run down after Carly rounded third and went home on a throwing error.
With the game resuming under clearer skies, Notre Dame went ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the third on another Wester-Wester combination. Karley singled and Ali doubled in the next at bat to drive her sister home.
Virginia Tech got on the board with a Kelsey Mericka lead-off home run in the top of the fourth inning.
The Hokies scored three in the top of the fifth to go ahead 4-2. Chelsea Whitcomb homered to left center to lead off the inning. Breanna Davenport followed with a double leading to an Irish pitching change with Rachel Nasland relieving Allie Rhodes. The Hokies added two more to the scoreboard when Davenport, who advanced to third following a Katey Smith single and a Lauren Duff walk, scored on a wild pitch. Mericka then drove in Kinsey Johnson, who was pinch running for Smith, to make it 4-2 Hokies.
Notre Dame threatened in the bottom of the fifth after Bigler singled and advanced to second after Karley Wester fouled out. Bigler was stranded when Ali Wester lined out to end the inning.
The Irish rallied in the bottom of the sixth and tied the score 4-4 when Sullivan hit a two-run homer. The Irish threated to add more to the ledger as Morgan Reed walked and Casey Africano singled but both were left on when Tyler struck out Bigler and White to end the inning.
Maggie Tyler (23-18) threw all 6.0 innings in the circle for Virginia Tech (29-28) in the loss.
ACC fans will be able to watch all seven games of the championship as Thursday’s and Friday’s contests will be televised by the league’s Regional Sports Networks, and Saturday’s title game will be carried live on ESPN.
Daily tickets are available for $5 for adults and $3 for youth 18 and under. Students from an ACC school can enter for free with valid student identification. Tickets can be purchased online: http://theacc.co/sb16tix.
Parking for the 2016 ACC Softball Championship is free and available in the Coliseum Deck located on Cates Avenue across the street from the Derr Track & the Soccer Field. Patrons will need to park on the second level of the deck or higher by entering off Jeter Drive or Jensen Drive.