The UNC softball team (16-11, 2-2 ACC) was mercy-ruled by No. 6 Virginia Tech (19-3, 7-0 ACC) in a 10-0 shutout on Friday night in Blacksburg.
After striking out UNC’s first three batters to start the game, Virginia Tech’s offense got to work immediately in the bottom of the first inning. After a stand-up triple from leadoff hitter Kelsey Brown, sophomore infielder Cameron Fagan walked to put runners on the corners for the Hokies. A sacrifice fly from sophomore outfielder Emma Ritter scored Brown, putting the Hokies up 1-0 after the first inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, the flood gates were opened. Virginia Tech scored six runs on six hits, the most notable of those being a a grand slam from Brown and an RBI single from junior infielder Kelsey Bennett. Ritter tacked on the sixth run of the inning as she crossed the plate on a passed ball, putting the Hokies up 7-0 heading into the third inning.
Virginia Tech continued to pile on runs in the next inning, scoring three runs off of two hits in the bottom of the third. After graduate outfielder Darby Trull scored on a fielder’s choice to first base, Brown scored on a groundout by graduate infielder Ally Repko. A single from Ritter scored Fagan for the tenth run of the game, and gave the Hokies what would end up being their final score of 10-0.
Who stood out?
Virginia Tech’s ace, senior pitcher Keely Rochard, was dominant from the start of Friday’s game, striking out UNC’s first eight batters. Rochard’s spin rate and range of pitches proved to be a problem for the Tar Heels, as her change-up and riseball were a lethal combination throughout the game. She pitched the entire game, and held the Tar Heels scoreless with 12 strikeouts and two hits allowed.
For North Carolina, junior third baseman Destiny Middleton and sophomore middle infielder Skyler Brooks were the clear standouts. Both players singled, in the third and fourth innings respectively, and recorded the only hits on the game for the Tar Heels.