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Emma Lemley Leads No. 13 Hokies to Split Doubleheader with Tar Heels

By Kyle Beene | March 11
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Emma Lemley drops a dozen at UNC (Virginia Tech Athletics)

No. 13 Virginia Tech split Saturday’s doubleheader with UNC, winning the weekend series two games to one.

Tech’s sophomore ace Emma Lemley narrowly slips into the top spot amongst the NCAA strikeout leaders with 125. Lemley, who has been battling for position all season, finally claims the title for the meantime, edging out pitchers from No. 9 Alabama, No. 2 UCLA, No. 21 Auburn, Marshall, and Southern Mississippi.

Tar Heels’ pitcher Lilli Backes had a fantastic game, shutting out the Hokies for the first time this season. Backes gave up just three hits to VT’s potent offense, which leads the nation in home runs. Backes claims her fourth win of the season with five strikeouts while only allowing one runner to enter scoring position.

Virginia Tech struggled all game to get runners on base, leaving four runners stranded through seven innings of play. The Hokies’ high-powered offense couldn’t get the extra oomph they needed as multiple popups fell just short of the fence at the warning track. Saturday’s loss put an end to Tech’s eight win streak.

Game two saw a sharp rebound at the plate for the visiting Hokies, putting up three runs in the first inning off two hits. The offense finally got the bat on the ball in the latter game, dropping seven hits compared to the former’s three.

Leadoff Emma Ritter reached first on an infield error, advancing to second in the process. Emma Jackson followed up with a single to left, while Ritter slid safely into home after the play was reviewed. Addy Greene made it to first on another infield error, scoring Jackson in the process. Bre Peck sent a shot for two bases just out of the right fielder’s diving reach, and Greene hustled into home for the third run.

After shooting themself in the foot with errors, UNC cleaned up its fielding to hold off the Hokies for the rest of the game. The Carolina blue bullpen was a mess early on, finally settling down in the second inning. The Tar Heels swapped Backles, the starter, for Bailey McCachren after only five batters. McCachren couldn’t find the quick success they needed though, subbing in Kenna Raye Dark for the remainder of the game.

Virginia Tech (19-5) will head to App State (13-6) on Wednesday for its 25th game of the season before facing Georgia Tech down in Atlanta for three games, the first on Friday at 6 p.m.

Me Ronnie

Born into a family of Hokies, I can remember watching Frank Beamer and Tyrod Taylor on Saturdays with the family, so attending VT was always the dream. 


In 2020, I began my time at Virginia Tech in the Sports Media Analytics program and eventually joined the Sons in January of 2023 as the softball beat writer. Now, I’ve got football, basketball, and baseball coverage, plus you’ll see some of my photographs in articles throughout the website. 


Graduation is on the horizon, but I can’t wait to come back in the fall to begin my Master’s and continue working with the team!


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