This Weekend’s Headlines
• Tech hit a little bit of a slump late after cruising to 30 wins pretty quickly, but has rebounded to win five of its last nine games. Regardless, the Hokies still boast of 37 wins and an RPI of 52nd heading into this weekend’s single-elimination event.
• No host team has won the ACC Championship since Florida State did it in 2004, but Georgia Tech is the top seed and host and has won the last two titles.
• The Hokies will play Florida State in the first round of the tournament. That game will take place on Friday night, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tech and Florida State have met four previous times in the ACC Championship the Hokies leading 3-1. The Seminoles rallied for four runs in the seventh inning of last year’s semifinal to knock off the Hokies 5-3.
• Virginia Tech has advanced to at least the semifinals in five of the six ACC Tournaments it’s played in, including each of the last four.
ACC Tournament History
• The Hokies have won two league titles, sweeping through four games at Tallahassee, Fla., in 2007 and then winning three games at College Park, Md., the following year en route to the Women’s College World Series.
• Here’s a recap of Tech’s first six ACC Tournaments, where it has a 14-6 record:
2005 (at Maryland) • Seeded 7th out of 7
def. #2 Florida State, 3-2 (14 inn.)
lost to #3 Virginia, 2-1
def. #5 North Carolina, 4-0
def. #6 Maryland, 5-3
def. #3 Virginia, 2-1
lost to #1 Georgia Tech, 1-0 (title game)
2006 (at North Carolina) • Seeded 3rd out of 8
lost to #6 Virginia, 3-0
def. #7 Maryland, 1-0
lost to #1 NC State, 11-2 (5 inn.)
2007 (at Florida State) • Seeded 1st out of 8
def. #8 Virginia, 4-1
def. #4 Florida State, 4-0
def. #5 North Carolina, 3-0
def. #3 Georgia Tech, 2-0 (title game)
2008 (at Maryland) • Seeded 2nd out of 8
def. Maryland, 7-4
def. Florida State, 2-0
def. NC State, 2-0 (title game)
2009 (at NC State) • Seeded 5th out of 8
def. Maryland, 3-0
lost to Georgia Tech, 14-4
2010 (at Virginia Tech) • Seeded 7th out of 8
def. Virginia, 1-0 (8 inn.)
lost to Florida State, 5-3
Records vs. teams at ACC Tourney
BC: 0-0; GT: 1-2; FSU: 3-1; NC: 2-0; NCS: 1-1; MD: 4-0; VA: 3-2
About Florida State
• Tech and Florida State played a tight three-game series at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee in early April with the Hokies winning two of the contests. The Seminoles won the first game 1-0 before Tech rebounded for a 2-1 win in 10 innings and then a 4-3 win in eight innings the next day.
• The Seminoles (27-26, RPI 51st) are led by senior pitcher Sarah Hamilton, who is FSU’s all-time leader in strikeouts and will be wrapping up her stellar career this weekend unless the Seminoles win the title to grab the automatic NCAA bid. Hamilton is 16-17 with a 2.13 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 200.1 innings pitched.
• Shayla Jackson leads an offense that hits .286 with seven starters hitting over .300. Jackson is batting .345 while senior Jen Lapicki is hitting .342. Ashley Stager leads the way with nine home runs while Tiffani Brown has 24 stolen bases.
• Virginia Tech leads the series against Florida State, 14-11. Tech is 2-0 against the Seminoles at neutral sites and 3-1 against them in the ACC Tournament.
Gettin’ It Done At The Plate
• The Hokies have been producing at the plate all year and enter the ACC Championship with a team batting average of .284. Freshman Dani Anderson leads the way with a .377 average while sophomore Courtney Liddle sits second with a .366 average. Liddle led the team with a .476 average in conference play. Betty Rose (.316 with 11 home runs) has been a pleasant surprise this year after hitting .107 a season ago.
• Ashton Ward got hot late in the season to raise her average significantly and enters the Championship with a .284 average at the plate, including .353 in ACC play.
• Five players have four or more home runs with Rose leading the way with 11. Kristen Froehlich has seven while Liddle and Kat Banks each have six. Tech has 42 home runs, 72 doubles, 14 triples, scored a school-record 317 runs, stolen 105 bases and has set other school records with 220 walks and 281 RBI.
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 56 games, Tech already has 105 stolen bases, tying the school record for a full season which is 105, set in the 2009 campaign.
• Freshman Kat Banks leads the way with 24 swipes while Ashton Ward is second with 22 pilfers, followed by Sarah Ashby with 14 and Dani Anderson with 9. Twice this year, the Hokies have tied the school record for stolen bases in a game with seven.
• Virginia Tech has already set school records in runs scored, runs batted in, walks drawn and tied the record for stolen bases in a season. Those are team records, but the Hokies have done something impressive as individuals as three players have 40 or more runs batted in and a fourth has 39 heading into the tournament. Tech has never had more than one player record 40 or more RBI in a season and already has three this year with a fourth having a chance to reach the plateau.
• Kristen Froehlich leads the way with 49 RBI, one short of tying the school record set by Megan Evans in 2005. Courtney Liddle and Betty Rose each have 43 while freshman Dani Anderson has 39.
On The Internet
• Jerry Massey is back on the air this weekend for the ACC Championship with all of Tech’s broadcasts. The veteran broadcaster will bring you the action from Mewborn Field in Atlanta by logging onto Hokies All-Access. As always, live stats are available for free on hokiesports.com and updates are available on Tech’s Twitter account, @VT_Softball.
• The ACC will also stream the games live and for free on its website and the championship game will be broadcast live on the ACC Regional Sports Network.
Now Or Never
• The time is now for the Hokies if they’re going to make the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2008. Sitting at 37-19, Tech has an NCAA RPI of 52nd, which puts the Hokies squarely on the tournament’s bubble.
• Tech owns five wins over top 51 RPI teams (one over No. 14 Georgia Tech, one over No. 41 North Carolina, one over No. 50 Longwood and two over No. 51 Florida State) and eight wins total over top 100 teams.
Historical Against Hamilton
• While it’s not a given, the Hokies fully expect to see senior Sarah Hamilton in the circle for Florida State in the opening round Friday night. She’s been a thorn in the Hokies’ side over the past four years, facing them 10 previous times with a lot of success.
• Hamilton is 4-1 against Tech with a 1.28 ERA in 43.2 innings pitched. She has allowed just eight runs on 21 hits against Tech with 16 walks and 64 strikeouts. Tech is batting just over .140 against Hamilton for her career, although numerous players who faced her from Tech over the years are no longer on the team.
• This season, Tech was 1-1 against Hamilton down in Tallahassee, scoring four runs on eight hits in 13.0 innings. The Hokies drew seven walks, but struck out 20 times in the three games against Hamilton, who was the ACC’s Pitcher of the Year in 2009.
• The Virginia Tech softball team has been to four NCAA Tournaments in its 16-year history as a program, coming from 2005-2008. The Hokies haven’t made the Big Dance since 2008, the year they advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Unless they win the ACC Championship this weekend, they’ll have to wait nervously until Sunday night to find out if their season continues.
• The 2011 NCAA Softball Tournament Selection Show will be broadcast Sunday night at approximately 10 p.m., and will be shown on ESPNU. The Regionals will be May 20-22 at campus sites with Super Regionals May 28-29 at campus sites and the 2011 WCWS will be held in June in Oklahoma City.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).