Tempe, AZ – Playing the first game of the 2021 NCAA Softball Tournament, the No. 21/22 Virginia Tech softball team got the 5-2 win over BYU Thursday to advance to the regional’s winner’s bracket. The Hokies (34-13) had their offense firing on all cylinders, registering 12 hits as a team in the ball game, including a home run from sophomore Kelsey Bennett. Junior pitcher Keely Rochard (26-8) threw a solid outing, allowing just two runs off three hits.
BYU opened the game with a leadoff home run but the Hokies did not seem worried, answering back in the bottom of the second with a solo home run to straight-away center field by Bennett. With the game tied 1-1, Tech opened the game up with a three-run third inning started by another Bennett RBI, this time a bloop single into left field that plated Jayme Bailey. Next batter, Addy Greene dropped down an RBI, squeeze-bunt single which scored the pinch runner Maija Louko. Emma Ritter capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Bennett from third. The Hokies added their fifth and final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth when Bailey roped a double into left-center field and Alexa Milius came all the way around from first base to score. After allowing the first-inning run, Rochard settled in and threw five straight shutout innings before getting into a jam in the seventh. After a run scored and the tying run at the plate, Rochard was able to induce a pop up to first base and secure the win for the Hokies.
- Five Hokies recorded multiple hits Thursday as Bailey, Bennett, Cameron Fagan, Greene and Milius all had two.
- Bennett hit her team-leading 12th home run of the season and led the game with two runs batted in. The sophomore now has 38 RBIs on the year.
- Rochard struck out seven batters versus BYU, upping her season total to 306 strikeouts, which is good enough for fifth in program history in a single season.
The Hokies will face the winner of Thursday night’s game between No. 12/8 Arizona State and Southern Illinois Friday at 4 p.m. ET. The winner of Friday’s game will advance to Saturday’s regional final while the loser will have to battle back in the loser’s bracket Friday evening.