Kathryn Sandercock got the nod for her squad, as she worked a scoreless first half inning. Her offense went up against Keely Rochard for the Hokies, who returned the favor and kept the ‘Noles off the board.
The game flew through 3 and a half innings of scoreless softball, until FSU opened it up in the bottom of the 4th. Kaley Mudge reached on her second lead off walk of the game, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She was followed by Sydney Sherrill, who hit her 74th career double to bring home Mudge. A passed ball put Sherrill on third as Mack Leonard struck out and Michaela Edenfield walked. Runners on the corners brought up Devyn Flaherty, who reached on the error and allowed Sherrill to score, pushing the FSU lead to 2-0.
Virginia Tech responded in the top of the 5th, starting off by getting Jayme Bailey on base via the error. Meredith Slaw followed with a 2 run homerun to left field, which tied the game at 2.
The battle of All-American pitchers continued to the 8th inning. With Slaw leading off, she took the 1-2 count to left field again on the solo home run. Sandercock gave up one more single but worked around it as she got the three outs needed to give her team a chance with the bats.
Rochard secured the first two outs of the inning as Edenfield stepped to the plate. She hit her first pitch in to play, grounding to the third baseman. The overthrow to first base allowed Edenfield to advance to third, and another error allowed her to score and tie the game up again. A triple by Flaherty, that was inches off the centerfield wall from being the game winning run, was stranded at third as Rochard responded with a strikeout.
In the 9th, Sandercock secured the first out, but walked Emma Ritter. With a baserunner on, Darby Trull took her 2-0 pitch deep off of Sandercock, putting the Hokies back in the lead 5-3. With one out, Emma Wilson came in to replace Sandercock. After putting runners on via the hit by pitch and single, Wilson got the second out and brought Addy Greene to the plate. As the pinch hitter, Greene singled into right field, bringing home a Hokie. As the game was sent to the bottom of the 9th, Virginia Tech led 6-3.
Rochard continued her outing as she faced the bottom part of the FSU order. She gave up the double to Jahni Kerr, but left her on base as the Hokies took the series opener 6-3.
This loss is FSU’s first ranked loss, and their first loss in extra innings. The team now sits at 36-3 overall and 10-3 in the ACC.
In addition to the work of Sandercock in the circle to keep the game in reach, the defense for FSU made a statement. In the 2nd inning, after the leadoff walk, the line drive to Devyn Flaherty got two outs for the ‘Noles as she flipped the ball to first to catch the runner off the base.
In the 4th inning, with two outs, a hot shot was sent Sydney Sherrill’s way. After a quick bobble, she was able to gun it down to first to end the inning.
Josie Muffley was a highlight reel by herself the entire game. A line drive layout saved a single, and she followed it up with a quick throw to end the top of the 5th. Muffley also added to her list of Sportscenter Top 10 moments by tracking down a ball hit deep into left field, and laying out for the catch and the out.
The series will continue Saturday at 1 p.m on ACCNX, and Sunday at 12 p.m. on ACCN