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June 11, 2013

Tech softball team wins three in regional, falls to Kentucky to end season

By: Jimmy Robertson

For softball fanatics – and Virginia Tech fans – the action and the play at the NCAA Lexington Regional was hard to beat.

Unfortunately, the Hokies came up a run short of advancing to the super regional round.

Despite getting great pitching from senior Jasmin Harrell, the Hokies couldn’t get a run across the plate and fell to Kentucky 1-0 in the championship game on May 19 in Lexington, Ky. Tech had beaten the Wildcats 2-0 earlier in the day to force a second game in the double-elimination format.

With the loss, the Hokies’ season ended with a 38-21 record.

“We did what we needed to do to compete and try to move on, and obviously I thought, coming into this regional, we matched up well with Kentucky,” Tech head coach Scot Thomas said in a release by the Tech athletics communications staff. “I think we proved that today (May 19). Hats off to them, and hats off to my team for battling all last night (a 13-inning game against Marshall) and battling all day today (on May 19). I am proud of our bunch for sure.”

Coming off a 13-inning win the previous evening against Marshall, the Hokies needed to beat Kentucky twice to advance to the super regional. In the first game, freshman Kelly Heinz pitched near-perfect ball, giving up just three hits in a 2-0 shutout of the Wildcats.

In the second game, Kentucky got an RBI single from Lauren Cumbess in the fifth inning that scored Sylver Samuel and made it stand. Harrell gave up eight hits for the Hokies, but only the unearned run, as Samuel had reached on an error by Kylie McGoldrick.

Harrell sets record

Tech staved off elimination on the second day of the regional when it used great pitching from Harrell and a timely hit by Bkaye Smith to beat Marshall 3-2 in 13 innings. The game marked the second-longest game in school history (a 2005 Tech-Florida State game went 14 innings).

In the bottom of the 13th inning, Smith’s two-out single scored Amanda Ake with the game-winning run.

Harrell went all 13 innings and struck out 13. She broke the school record for innings pitched in a game, snapping the mark of 12.2 set by Angela Tincher in Tech’s 3-2 win over the Seminoles in that 14-inning game. Her 13 strikeouts mark a new career high as well. She had struck out 12 in a game on two occasions, with the most recent time coming in the season opener against Southern Illinois in February.

McGoldrick, Liddle named All-ACC

McGoldrick and Courtney Liddle both received All-ACC recognition for their play this past season.

McGoldrick, a sophomore from Stratford, N.J., earned a spot on the first team after leading the Hokies with 11 home runs. She started 50 games at second base and hit .344, with 33 RBIs and 28 runs.

Liddle, a senior from Haymarket, Va., made the second team and became Tech’s third three-time all-conference player. She started all 59 games (first base and catcher) and led Tech with a .347 average. She hit seven homers and drove in a team-leading 37.

Liddle finished her career ranked first in school history in career on-base percentage (.467), career walks (146) and career hit by pitches (26).