LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Clemson continued its historic run with a 2-0 win over four-seed Virginia Tech in the semifinals of the ACC Softball Tournament on Friday to earn a spot in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville.
For the second straight day the top-seeded Tigers found a way to manufacture runs in a pitchers’ duel to advance in the tournament.
Valerie Cagle led the way for Clemson at the plate and in the circle. She went 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk and a solo home run. Cagle also pitched a complete game shutout and allowed three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Cagle loves a good pitcher’s dual because it feeds into her competitive nature.
“I’m a very competitive person so being in those types of situations really amplifies that,” she said after the game. “Getting that run early in the game was super big to let me breathe a little bit more.”
Virginia Tech put pressure on Cagle early in the top of the first with runners on second and third with one out. But Cagle bounced back with a strikeout and a ground out to second to retire the side.
“Getting out of a jam in the first inning is always huge and it turns the tides a little bit,” Rittman said. “Typically, if you are going to get to a good pitcher it’s usually early in the game. Valerie just had to get in rhythm and she went back and did an awesome job.”
Clemson (42-5) moved ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second thanks to heads-up-base running and a perfectly executed squeeze play.
Grace Mattimore laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line with one out to score Alia Logoleo, as the Hokies’ third baseman overran the ball and didn’t make a throw.
In the bottom of the third with one out Cagle gave the Tigers some insurance with a solo home run down the right field line to extend their lead to 2-0.
Clemson will play the winner of No. 3 seed Duke and No. 2 seed Florida State at noon Saturday on ESPN.
—Photo courtesy of ACC Communications
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