May 21, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech (44-24) on Saturday afternoon at Tyson Park in Knoxville, Tenn., the Miami University softball team's (34-26) first NCAA Tournament run in 31 years of play came to an end. The Red and White earned the Mid-American Conference's automatic bid by going 4-0 at the MAC Tournament last weekend, but fell 9-0 in five innings to 11th-ranked Tennessee on Friday night before bowing out of the regional tournament in the double-elimination format Saturday.
After Miami starter Courtney Salmon (Auburn, Wash./Auburn) (13-11) retired the Hokies in order in the first inning, Megan Evans started Virginia Tech's half of the second by knocking a home run to straightaway centerfield, and Stephanie Savre followed by putting one over the fence in left-center for a 2-0 Hokie lead. That ended the start for Salmon, who struck out one in one official inning of work.
The Hokies pushed the advantage to 3-0 in the second inning with a home run down the leftfield line by leadoff hitter Caroline Stolle off senior Jackie Poggendorf (Phoenix, Ariz./Shadow Mountain), who finished her career Saturday as the winningest pitcher in Miami history, with 63 victories. Virginia Tech's fourth run plated in the fourth inning, when Poggendorf fielded Caitlin Murphy's two-out grounder with two on and overthrew first base, allowing Ciara Chaffee to advance 60 extra feet and give her team a 4-0 lead. The RedHawks, who entered the weekend as the 13th-ranked defensive team in the country with a .973 fielding percentage, committed a total of 11 errors in two games this weekend with five against Virginia Tech.
Miami scored its first NCAA Tournament run in the bottom of the sixth, when with two on and two out, junior Kristen Hays (Phoenix, Ariz./Shadow Mountain), playing in the park she competed in as a Tennessee Lady Vol in 2003, singled home junior Bianca Paz (Mesilla, N.M./Las Cruces) to cut Virginia Tech's advantage to 4-1.
Poggendorf worked six innings, giving up six hits and two runs, earning one, with a walk and two strikeouts. Virginia Tech starter Katie Maynard (18-13) defeated Miami for the second time this season after earning a 2-0 win in the RedHawks' first game of the year on Feb. 18 at Chattanooga, Tenn. She gave up five hits and struck out four without a walk, earning Miami's run.
Miami's 34 wins tied for the second-most in school history with the 1991 club and were two short of the school-record 36 wins that the 1990 RedHawk team totaled. The program has not ended a season as many as eight games over the .500 mark since that 1991 season, when the team finished 16 games over at 34-18. The team claimed a MAC single-season record yesterday, passing Central Michigan's 2002 standard of 413 single-season strikeouts and raising it to 419 on Saturday as Salmon and Poggendorf combined to fan three Hokie batters.