This Weekend’s Headlines
• After a weekend road series, the Hokies have returned home for 10 of their final 12 games, starting with a split with Longwood Tuesday night.
• Tech welcomes NC State this weekend for a three-game series with the doubleheader being played Friday night and the single game scheduled for Saturday.
• Parking will be an issue Saturday as the football team’s annual Spring Game takes place at 2 o’clock. There is no reserved parking for softball or football, so softball fans are encouraged to arrive early and try to beat traffic and find a spot.
• The Hokies will wear special teal jerseys and ribbons Friday night in honor of Ovarian Cancer Research. Soccer player Kelsey Billups, who is battling ovarian cancer, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.
About NC State
• NC State is 22-20 overall and 3-10 in the ACC after splitting with Maryland last weekend and beating South Carolina Tuesday night.
• The Wolfpack features several good hitters on a squad that bats .271 with 23 home runs. Bridget Desbois leads the way with a .336 clip while Alyssa Albritten (.328) and Toni Ann Williford (.315) are also hitting over .300 Bethaney Wells is the top slugger on the team with seven home runs.
• State goes with essentially a two-person pitching staff as Kayla Cox and Morgan Peeler have thrown all but 17.2 innings this season. Cox is 11-12 with a 3.24 ERA, but has 193 strikeouts and has given up 24 home runs in 149.0 innings. Peeler is 9-7 with a 3.63 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 113.2 innings pitched.
The Series With NC State
• The Hokies lead the series with NC State 10-8 in a series that dates back to 2005. The Wolfpack won the first five contests, but from 2007-2010, Virginia Tech won eight straight games to take the lead in the series.
• Last season, Tech went to Raleigh and won the series 2-1. The Hokies swept the Saturday doubleheader 11-0 in five innings and 2-0, but lost on Sunday, 4-3.
• While Virginia Tech leads the overall series, NC State holds a 4-2 record against the Hokies at Tech Softball Park. The last time these two teams met in Blacksburg was in 2007 as all three games of the 2009 series were rained out.
Gettin’ It Done At The Plate
• The Hokies have been producing at the plate all year and enter the weekend with a team batting average of .291. Sophomore Courtney Liddle leads the way with a .392 average while freshman Dani Anderson sits second with a .379 average. Marra Hvozdovic (.321) and Betty Rose (.317) have been pleasant surprises this year as the two are coming through in the clutch after hitting .239 and .107, respectively, a season ago.
• Ashton Ward has caught fire of late and is up to .302 at the plate, including .447 in ACC play.
• Five players have four or more home runs with Rose leading the way with eight. Kristen Froehlich and Liddle each have six. Tech has 35 home runs, 61 doubles, 13 triples, has drawn 180 walks, scored 276 runs, driven in 243 runs and stolen 87 bases.
Running Like the Wind
• The Hokies knew they had a lot of team speed heading into the season, but no one expected them to run like this. Through 46 games, Tech already has 87 stolen bases, putting it on pace for 106 for the regular season! The school record for a full season is 105, set in the 2009 campaign.
• Freshman Kat Banks leads the way with 23 swipes while Ashton Ward is second with 14 pilfers, followed by Sarah Ashby (12) and Dani Anderson (9).
• Twice this year, Tech has tied the school record for stolen bases in a game with seven (Rhode Island, Howard).
This Time Last Year … And What’s Left
• Tech sits at 32-14 overall after 46 games, already topping its win total from 2010 (25). After 46 games last season, the Hokies were 18-28.
• Barring any weather cancellations, the Hokies have 10 games left on the schedule (six conference and four mid-week, and all 10 are regional contests). With an RPI of 56th in the NCAA, Tech will look to make a strong run down the stretch to position itself for its first postseason bid since the 2008 season, when the team went to the WCWS.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).