NATIONAL PLAYER OF YEAR CANDIDATE CAGLE'S COMPLETE-GAME SHUTOUT & PEREIRA'S 2 HR'S CARRY NO.10 CLEMSON PAST TECH 2-0 TO ACC SEMIFINAL
- 2021-05-13 16:39:47
LOUISVILLE, KY - The ACC's newest softball program and regular season champ, No.10 Clemson, opened its first-ever ACC Tournament as the No.1 seed on Thursday morning against No.9 seed Georgia Tech, and ACC Player of the Year Valerie Cagle didn't disappoint. The National Player of the Year Finalist struck out 14 in the complete-game shutout and also had a double at the plate. Cagle allowed just one hit, which came with 2 outs in the 6th inning.
The Tigers had a scare in that 6th inning with the score 1-0 and bases loaded. Cagle issued a full-count walk to lead off the inning, and she would reach second on a fielder's choice. On a grounder to shortstop, Gilstrap made a heady play to catch the runner at second base, and second baseman Cammy Pereira, who homered in the 2nd for the game's only run, made a tremendous tag at 2nd, which would ultimately saved the tying run. That's because the next batter singled to give Tech runners at the corners with 2 outs. Coach Rittman made the critical decision to intentionally walk Tech's cleanup hitter, Awald, putting the go-ahead run on 2nd. The decision paid off because Cagle struck out the next batter to strand the bases loaded and preserve the 1-0 lead. Pereira would hit her second HR of the game in the bottom half of the inning to give Cagle all the insurance she would need.
Cagle was hit by a come-backer on the final out of the game and was in some pain, but Rittman said after the game that he thought she would be fine. The Tigers will certainly need her bat tomorrow and her arm on Saturday, should they advance to the Championship. They may even need her to pitch an inning or two tomorrow if the game is tight.
True freshman Millie Thompson will start in the circle tomorrow against the winner of VA Tech and Notre Dame. The former is the only team to win a series against the Tigers this season, taking 2 of 3 in Tiger Town back in February. The Tigers' series with Notre Dame was canceled due to COVID, so they have much more familiarity with the Hokies, but Notre Dame is the weaker of the two teams. You can watch live on ACC Network or click the link below for live updates from me.
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