Game No. 800 on tap as Hokies head to Kickin' Chicken Classic
    Tech looks to break seven-game skid
    February 18, 2009
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    BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech softball team will look to break its seven-game losing streak when it travels to the Kickin’ Chicken Classic, hosted by Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C., for five games this weekend. Last weekend, the Hokies suffered a tough trip, going 0-4 at the First Pitch Classic in Atlanta. Jenna Rhodes hit .583 with five stolen bases while Whitney Davis hit .500 to lead the way.

    Friday’s first game will be a historic one as it will be the 800th game in the history of the program. Now in his 14th season, head coach Scot Thomas has been at the helm for every game the Hokies have played. What started with four shopping carts full of equipment in the locker room with T-shirts, shorts, socks, shoes, etc., up for grabs and a young group of girls back in the 1990s not knowing exactly what they were getting in to has turned into a program that has won two ACC titles and appeared at the WCWS last year. Thomas, who needs 15 wins for 500, has had his trusty sidekick Al Brauns at his side for 11 of those years and the two have combined to form the foundation of the program.

    Tech will open the weekend against Coastal Carolina Friday at 2 p.m., in that 800th game. Coastal Carolina is 1-3 on the young season after playing at the University of Florida-Lipton Invitational. The lone win was a 3-2 victory over Florida Atlantic. Through four games, the Chants are hitting just .200 with four runs scored and a team ERA of 9.00.

    Tech is 5-5 all-time against Coastal, last playing in the 2007 NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Hokies are 4-1 against the Chants on their home field.

    At 4:30, the Hokies will take on the Maine Black Bears. Maine went 1-4 two weekends ago in Chattanooga to open its season and hasn’t played since. Its lone win was a 10-2 win over Campbell and the Black Bears took Troy to extra innings before falling.

    Tech is just 1-3 all-time against Maine, but opened the season with a 4-1 victory over the Black Bears at the Chattanooga Challenge as Abbie Rexrode picked up her first college win. The previous three meetings came in 1997 and 1998.

    On Saturday morning, the Hokies will battle Catamounts of Western Carolina at 9 a.m. WCU is 1-4 after one weekend of play. The Catamounts are hitting just .172 as a team but have staff ERA of 1.85. They opened with four straight losses before beating North Florida 2-0 in eight innings at a tournament hosted by the University of Central Florida.

    This will be the first meeting on the diamond between the Hokies and Catamounts. Former Tech assistant Christine Hornak, who coached in Blacksburg for the 2004 and 2005 seasons, is the head coach for Western.

    Right after that game, Tech will take on Appalachian State at 11:30 a.m. Appalachian State is 1-3 after opening the season at the Sunshine Classic hosted by Florida State. The lone win was a good one as the Mountaineers beat Purdue, 3-2.

    The Mountaineers are led by the SoCon Player of the Week, Katie Boyd. Last weekend, the sophomore had four RBI, scored three runs, hit three home runs and stole a base while hitting .455. She also walked three times, once intentionally. ASU is hitting .202 as a team and the pitching staff has an ERA of 3.23.

    Tech is 1-0 against the Mountaineers, winning the lone game played in 2004. The Hokies picked up a 6-0 win at the Hokie Fastpitch Club Classic in Blacksburg.

    On Sunday, the Hokies will face off with the Chants again at 2 p.m., to conclude the tournament. After this weekend, Tech will head to the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. In what may be the toughest two-day stretch in program history, the Hokies will face, in order, No. 4 Michigan, No. 1 Alabama, No. 24 Southern Illinois and No. 13 DePaul.

    Live stats for this weekend’s tournament can be found on Coastal’s Web site.

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