April 6, 2014
THE FLATS – The Virginia Tech softball team (22-16, 11-6 ACC) pushed the go-ahead run across the plate in the top of the seventh inning to edge Georgia Tech (19-15, 8-11) Sunday, 6-5, and sweep the three-game series.
“We’ve got to find a way to play the entire game,” head coach Shelly Hoerner said. “I thought we battled better than we have been and we hit throughout the lineup. We’ve got to come through in key situations and get some clutch hits.”
Kanani Cabrales went 2-for-4 with four RBI, and her first collegiate home run to lead Georgia Tech. Ashley Thomas added two hits on three at bats with a pair of runs, and Hayley Downs contributed a hit and a run.
In a back and forth battle, the Hokies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening frame and the Jackets retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the third thanks to a two-RBI single off the bat of Cabrales to plate Ashley Thomas and Downs.
Virginia Tech regained the lead, 5-2, with two runs in the fourth and a single run in the fifth inning.
A three-run Georgia Tech fifth inning knotted the score 5-5. Maddie Lionberger singled to kick off the inning and moved to second on bunt single from Ashley Thomas. Downs moved the runners ahead on her ACC-leading 13th sacrifice bunt this season, putting Lionberger in position to score on Alysha Rudnik’s fly out to right.
With two outs and Ashley Thomas on third, Cabrales stepped to the plate and blasted her first home run as a Yellow Jacket over the centerfield wall.
A leadoff double in the top of the seventh and an RBI-single from Katey Smith was all the Hokies needed, as Virginia Tech pitcher Kelly Heinz retired the Jackets in order in the bottom of the inning to claim the win.
Heinz (12-11) pitched 3.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits. Cabrales (7-7) absorbed the loss and relieved Georgia Tech starter Kylie Kleinschmidt in the fourth inning. Cabrales surrendered two runs on two hits with three strikeouts.
The Jackets are back in action in a Tuesday tilt against Georgia State at Mewborn Field. Action begins at 6 p.m.