BLACKSBURG, Va. – The No. 6/6 Clemson softball team scored three runs in the sixth inning to complete the comeback victory against No. 21/24 Virginia Tech, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon. Following the win, Clemson improves to 45-8 (18-6 ACC), while the Hokies drop to 35-17 (14-10 ACC). The victory marked the 150th win for the Clemson softball program since its inaugural season in 2020.
“It was an exciting day at the ballpark for the Tigers,” said Rittman. “I love the way we fought. We had a lot of adversity this week starting with Liberty and then the doubleheader yesterday. You never know how your team is going to respond. We came out today and got a run early, but then fell behind. Brooke (McCubbin) gave us some quality innings. Regan (Spencer) came in and did a heck of a job keeping a really good offense off balance until our offense was able to get things going for a big inning. Jadeyn (Ruszkowski) had two big home runs in back-to-back days and is a special player for us. Reedy (Davenport) followed with a clutch hit for us. We’ve scored a lot of runs this year from different players up and down our lineup. It’s great to end a rough month of April with a win in a tough place to play like Virginia Tech. Big tip of the hat to Valerie (Cagle) to respond in the circle and show what she’s made of. I’m happy that we went to her in the seventh to secure the win and that the team came back to fight for the win.”
Sunday’s win secured Head Coach John Rittman’s 900th-career win. He currently holds an all-time career record of 900-392-3 (.696), including a 150-41 (.785) at the helm of the Tigers. He became the 44th collegiate softball coach to reach the 900-win benchmark.
“900 wins means I have been coaching a long time,” continued Rittman. “It also means that I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of successful people. Players, coaches, administrators. As a coach, you don’t win those games. Certainly the decisions you make, the practices you run, the development of the talent have an impact, but the players in those games win them. I’m very proud of all the players I have gotten to coach over the years, especially this group. To start a program and do what we have done here is very special. 900 wins means I’m getting a little older, but it’s a special milestone. Hopefully I have a lot more left in me.”
The Tigers finished with 12 hits as a team led by Ally Miklesh, Caroline Jacobsen, Alia Logoleo and Reedy Davenport all clocking two. Logoleo, Davenport and Jadeyn Ruszkowski each hit a home run, while Jacobsen added the other RBI.
Clemson started the day off much like they did yesterday. In the top of the second inning, Logoleo drove her eighth home run of the year out of left field to give Clemson the 1-0 advantage. Virginia Tech claimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning after a sac fly and a two run homer scored three. The Hokies plated one additional run in the third to hold a 4-1 advantage.
Clemson cut Virginia Tech’s lead in half in the top of the fifth. Miklesh reached on an error by VT’s second baseman to get the Tigers started. With two outs, Jacobsen dropped a hit between the second baseman and right fielder that turned into an RBI double, scoring Miklesh from first.
The Tigers came alive in the top of the sixth inning as Ruszkowski sparked things with a solo home run with one out. The home run marked back-to-back games in which Ruszkowski has hit a home run, and her second home run of her collegiate career. JoJo Hyatt followed it with a single to right field and was replaced by Julia Bomhardt as her pinch runner. With one out and one on, Davenport drove the third pitch of her at bat down the left field line and out of the park to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. This was Davenport’s fifth homer of the season and second of the series.
The Hokies made a push to get a run back in the bottom of the sixth putting runners on the corners with two outs. Regan Spencer came up big in the circle for the Tigers and struck out the batter to force Virginia Tech to leave two stranded. She was replaced in the bottom of the seventh by Valerie Cagle, who pitched the final frame that included striking out Addy Greene for the final out of the game to secure the 5-4 victory.
Sophomore Brooke McCubbin started for the Tigers and pitched two innings. She was replaced by Spencer in the bottom of the third inning. Spencer pitched four frames, struck out three and earned her fifth win of the series before being replaced by Cagle who earned her third save.
The Tigers are off next weekend but will return to the field the following week at the ACC Championships. Clemson currently awaits its seeding for the tournament and will learn opponent and game time after next week.