Tigers topple No. 14 Virginia Tech, 8-1
CLEMSON, S.C. (CU) – Propelled by a five-run inning in the bottom of the third, the Clemson Softball team earned its second ranked win in as many attempts after knocking off 14th-ranked Virginia Tech in the Tigers’ 2021 home opener at McWhorter Stadium on Thursday. In the circle, right-handed pitcher Valerie Cagle improved to 2-0 after going the distance for seven innings without surrendering an earned run. Virginia Tech ace Keely Rochard suffered her first loss in the circle since the 2019 NCAA Regionals in Lexington, Kentucky.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 3-0 overall on the season, while Virginia Tech dropped to 3-1.
While it was an all-around team effort for the Tigers offensively, Casey Bigham and Marissa Guimbarda stood out the most. Bigham went 2-for-3 at the plate along with two RBIs, while Guimbarda collected her second home of the season on a two-run shot in the third.
The Tigers’ offense exploded in the bottom of the third as Bigham recorded her then-fourth hit of the season to score Ansley Gilstrap, who made her debut in McWhorter Stadium. A Virginia Tech throwing error by the shortstop enabled Jaden Cheek, who was pinch running for JoJo Hyatt, and Bigham to touch home safely, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Then, Guimbarda blasted her second home run of the season on a high fly ball that landed over the left-center field fence, extending the Tigers’ lead to 5-0.
In the fourth, the Hokies cut their deficit to four runs after an error by Clemson infielder Cammy Pereira extended the inning. Bigham recorded her second hit of the day in the bottom of the inning to score Pereira who was on third.
The Tigers extended their lead to 8-1 in the fifth after Virginia Tech’s catcher attempted to catch Carlee Shannon stealing second, but the throw bounced off the dirt and trickled past the center field, allowing Shannon to score. Then, Pereira blasted a hard-hit ball off the center-field wall to score Alia Logoleo, who was on second.
Up next, Clemson returns to McWhorter Stadium on Friday for a doubleheader against the Hokies. First pitch of game No. 1 is set for noon. Friday’s second contest is officially listed to start at 2 p.m. Both games are slated to stream on ACCNX.
Photo courtesy Ken Ruinard, Greenville News