LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Valerie Cagle continued her outstanding season with another gem to open the quarterfinals of the ACC Softball Tournament Thursday at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville.
The Clemson ace pitched a complete-game shutout as the 11th-ranked Tigers took down Georgia Tech, 2-0, to advance to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Cagle allowed just one hit in the contest and matched a career high with 14 strikeouts.
While the venue had no effect on Cagle’s ability, for whatever reason she has thrown a lot of strikeouts at Ulmer Stadium.
The second-year freshman struck out 14 earlier in the season in two games against Louisville in the same venue on March 19 and March 21.
“Being in Louisville doesn’t affect how many strikeouts I throw, but for some reason I’ve just had good games throwing strikeouts here,” Cagle responded to questions from The Clemson Insider.
Cammy Pereira, who carried the Tigers at the plate with a pair of home runs, called Cagle “The Straight-Faced Assassin.” The junior infielder feels the impact of Cagle’s presence in every aspect of the game.
“I think that’s a perfect way to describe her,” Pereira said. “She has confidence in herself and that really precipitates to the infield and the whole team. Whenever Valerie is in the circle, we have confidence to get it done for her.”
Head coach John Rittman also credited Cagle with bringing a calming presence to the field for the Tigers, which allows hitters to wait for good pitches and take a better approach at the plate.
“I think it’s huge, all of our pitchers are going to keep us in the game,” Rittman said afterwards.
“When Valerie is in the circle our offense has a tendency to relax a little bit and put some good at-bats together,” he continued.
Cagle and top-seeded Clemson will try to keep going on Friday against No. 4 seed Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.
—photo courtesy of ACC Communications
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