Clemson took advantage of five runs in the third inning to knock off No. 14 Virginia Tech 8-1 in the first of a three-game series at McWhorter Stadium.
It was the second win over a ranked team in program history, the first in ACC play and the first of the 2021 campaign. The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in conference play.
Valerie Cagle earned the win for the Tigers and improved to 2-0 on the season in the circle. She finished a complete game with 7.0 innings pitched, allowed seven hits, one run, walked one and struck out seven.
After the game, Cagle said it felt good to pick up where the team left off last season and that the Tigers are going to compete with whoever is in the other dugout.
“It’s definitely super big and it’s nice coming back from last year to show that the game against Georgia wasn’t a one time thing,” Cagle said after the win. “We are going to compete with the top-ranked teams and that’s where we want to be. It’s definitely encouraging in our second year to come back with another big win.”
Head coach John Rittman credited Cagle’s ability to work out of jams to his teams success against the high-powered Hokies.
“We knew we were going to get a challenge from them and Valerie Cagle did an outstanding job in the circle,” Rittman said. “She took a few punches early in the game, got out of a few situations in the first and second innings and really settled down and gave us time for the offense to get going.”
Casey Bigham led all Tiger batters and finished the game 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run. Cammy Pereira also finished 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a run.
After not managing a baserunner in the first two innings Clemson erupted in the third with give runs on three hits and a Hokie error. Bigham broke the game wide open with an RBI single to center that scored Ansley Gilstrap for the first run of the contest with no outs.
Then with two outs Valerie Cagle reached first on a throwing error by the short stop that scored JoJo Hyatt and Bigham to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Marissa Guimbarda delivered on the next pitch with a two-run homer to left center that put Clemson up 5-0.
Virginia Tech responded with a run in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Darby Trull to cut the Tigers’ lead to 5-1. But, Clemson added a run in the bottom of the fourth on another RBI single by Bigham to extend its lead to 6-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers added more insurance with two more in the fifth on an error and RBI double off the wall by Cammy Pereira to widen their lead to 8-1.
Clemson returns to action on Friday with a double header against the Hokies starting at noon.
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