LEESBURG, Fla. – The big inning haunted No. 19 Kentucky as the No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies put up a five-spot in the top of the sixth inning to beat the Wildcats 6-1 on Sunday in the weekend finale of the Northern Lights/Southern Nights Invitational.
Kentucky got its only run of the game from fifth-year Lauren Johnson, who pelted her third triple of the weekend into right field in the bottom of the sixth inning to score Margaret Tobias, who led off the inning with a single to the left side.
UK is now 4-1 on the year with the loss, suffering its first defeat of the season Sunday afternoon. Virginia Tech, a team who advanced to the 2021 NCAA Super Regionals, improves to 5-0 after a perfect opening weekend for the Hokies.
Kentucky will play in the Hillenbrand Invitational next weekend, hosted by the University of Arizona in Tuscon. The tournament kicks off Friday morning with the Wildcats playing UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Loyola-Marymount and host Arizona, who was a part of the Women’s College World Series last year.
Sunday’s winning pitcher was Keely Rochard, who went 6.0 innings, allowing just four hits, a run, one walk and eight strikeouts.
The key play in the game was a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning by the Hokies’ Meredith Slaw in a pinch-hit opportunity to make a 1-0 lead a 5-0 lead.
The key player in the game for Kentucky was Lauren Johnson. Johnson put together three very quality at bats in the game against Rochard, and tripling the run home for UK. IN the field, she also made five putouts in left field.
The key stat in the game was eight. Keely Rochard had eight strikeouts in Sunday’s game, the most of any UK opposing pitcher thus far in the season.
The Hokies scored in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single up the middle by Ally Repko to score Jayme Bailey, who doubled earlier in the inning. VT 1, UK 0
In the top of the sixth inning, the Hokies loaded the bases with no outs off of three different UK pitchers, and a grand slam after a walk forced in a run by Slaw put the Hokies ahead. VT 6, UK 0
Kentucky answered back in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to Maragret Tobias’ lead-off single turning into a run as Johnson’s triple to RF scored the speedy freshman from first. VT 6, UK 1
The game ended in the bottom of the seventh inning at 3:30 p.m. ET due to a drop-dead time. All stats from the seventh inning do not count. FINAL – #13 Virginia Tech 6, #19 Kentucky 1
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