ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team (7-3) travels to the Charleston, S.C., area this weekend to participate in the C of C Cougar Classic, hosted by the College of Charleston at the Patriots Point Athletics Complex in Mt. Pleasant. The Hokies are scheduled to take on Lipscomb, Wagner, C of C, Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) and Middle Tennessee.
THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The Hokies will open up play Friday with a pair of games, taking on Lipscomb in the day’s first game at 10 a.m., followed by a contest with Wagner at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the Hokies take on the host Cougars at 10 a.m. and then play twice on Sunday, battling ULM at 10 a.m. and Middle Tennessee at noon.
This weekend’s action will take place at Patriots Point Athletics Complex in nearby Mt. Pleasant. It is located on Patriot’s Point Blvd in Mt Pleasant, SC 29464 and directions, as well as other info on the venue, can be found here. Admission to the action is free.
IN THE PALMETTO STATE
Virginia Tech is 37-20 in the state of South Carolina. The 37 wins are the fourth-most in any state for the Hokies behind Virginia (269), Florida (88) and North Carolina (55). The Hokies last played in South Carolina last season, going 2-2 at the Buccaneer Invite, hosted by neighboring Charleston Southern.
THE WEEKEND FORECAST
Here’s the early weekend forecast for Mt. Pleasant, SC
Live stats for every Hokie softball game this season will be available on through hokiesports.com. It will always be this link.
Fans can follow Hokie softball online through Twitter as well. In game thoughts, stats and notes, as well as links to articles and other miscellaneous items can be found at the official Twitter page for Virginia Tech softball, @VT_Softball.
NEW FAN GUIDE
A new online fan guide replaces the printed media guide this year for the softball team. This guide includes videos, color photos, links and much more. It will change throughout the year with new items as they happen so bookmark it and come back as the season progresses. The guide can be found at this link.
YEAR NO. 17
Scot Thomas is in his 17th season at the helm of the maroon and orange. He enters this weekend with a record of 580-290, needing just 20 victories to reach the 600-win milestone. In his career, he has led the Hokies to a berth in the Women’s College World Series (2008), two ACC titles (2007, 2008), four NCAA bids (2005-2008) and a win over the U.S. National Team (2008).
SCOUTING COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
The Cougars are off to a nice 4-1 start with a date with Charleston Southern Wednesday afternoon. Three batters - Kelsey Hodgson, Hope Klicker and Allison Pedigo - are all hitting .500 for an offense hitting .333, but with no home runs and just two stolen bases. In the circle, the Cougars appear to have a tough 1-2 combo in Stephanie Saylors (2-0, 0.42 ERA, 16.2 IP, 21 Ks) and Hope Klicker (2-0, 0.62 ERA, 11.1 IP, 9 Ks) that will test the Hokies.
Tech and the C of C have split four games played on the diamond. In 1999, the Hokies beat the Cougars 5-1 at a tournament in Rock Hill, S.C. The two teams played three times in 2005, first at the Cougar Invitational in Mt. Pleasant with Tech winning 1-0. Later in the year, the Cougars beat Tech 10-2 in five innings and 6-3 at the NCAA Regionals in Knoxville, Tenn.
CofC’s 2012 stats
CofC’s 2012 roster
CofC’s 2012 schedule/results
Lipscomb, which finished one game short of making the NCAA Tournament last year, is off to a 3-3 start on the young season. Kelsey Cartwright is leading the way at the plate with a .333 average, but the Lady Bisons are hitting just .226 as a team with three home runs. Whitney Kiihnl is the ace of the staff who has a 2.44 ERA and is 3-2 with 30 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched. While her numbers aren’t great to begin the 2012 season, she did go 20-11 with a 1.69 earned run average, 24 complete games and 328 strike outs in 211.1 innings pitched a year ago. She picked up the win against the Hokies in 2009, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts.
Tech is 0-1 all-time against Lipscomb. The Hokies fell to the Lady Bisons 5-4 in a single game at Nashville in 2009.
Lipscomb’s 2012 stats
Lipscomb’s 2012 roster
Lipscomb’s 2012 schedule/results
SCOUTING MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Middle Tennessee is off to an 0-4 start to the season after playing in Charlotte, N.C., last weekend. The Blue Raiders have three batters hitting over .300 - Kaycee Popham (.455), Kayla Toney (.444) and Samantha Nieves (.308) - but after that the averages drop severely and MTSU has a team average of just .243. In the circle, Shelby Stinnett and Jordyn Fisherback share identical 0-1 and 4.20 ERAs.
Tech is 1-0 against the Blue Raiders, beating them 2-1 at a tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2002.
MTSU’s 2012 stats
MTSU’s 2012 roster
MTSU’s 2012 schedule/results
ULM is off to a 4-5 start and is led by Karli Wainwright at the plate, who is hitting .394 with five stolen bases. The Warhawks are hitting .252 as a team with just two home runs, but do have 23 stolen bases. ULM has struggled in the circle early with a team ERA of 5.19. Samantha Hamby is 2-2 with a 3.50 ERA in 14.0 innings. Haylie Wilson (1-1, 4.67 ERA, 18.0 innings) and Stephanie Routzon (1-2, 5.51 ERA, 20.1 innings) have both also seen significant action in the first two weeks of play.
Tech is 1-0 against the Warhawks, beating the then-known-as Northeast Louisiana 8-6 at a tournament in Rock Hill, S.C., in 1998. The game ended after the fourth inning due to the 1:30 time limit, which was put in before the NCAA required a game to go five innings to be considered official.
ULM’s 2012 stats
ULM’s 2012 roster
ULM’s 2012 schedule/results
This weekend will be the opening weekend for Wagner, which is coming off a 12-26 campaign from a year ago. Last year, the Seahawks hit just .200 as a team and their top returning hitter returning is Ashley Olsen, who hit .248 with a team-leading two home runs. In the circle, Virginia native Judy Betz was Wagner’s top pitcher a year ago and returns. She went 10-14 with a 2.27 ERA in 173.0 with 88 strikeouts.
There isn’t much history between Tech and Wagner is softball as Tech holds just a 1-0 lead in the series. The Hokies downed the Seahawks 7-6 at the Radford Invitational in Salem, Va., in 1996 - Tech’s first year as a varsity program.
Wagner’s 2011 stats
Wagner’s 2012 roster
PRESEASON ACC POLL
The ACC coaches voted the Hokies sixth in the 2012 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released prior to the season starting. Georgia Tech is the preseason favorite, according to the coaches, followed by North Carolina, defending tournament champion Florida State, Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech, NC State and Boston College.
TECH SOFTBALL PARK
Tech Softball Park, home of Virginia Tech softball since 1998, has been a tough place for opposing teams to play of the years. Nearly 800 permanent seats have been added, along with lights, two more press boxes and a new sound system, making the facility a fine one for the Hokies to play. Over the years, Tech has posted a 187-73 record at home.
A NEW ADDITION
This past offseason, a new scoreboard and video board were also added to enhance the fans’ experiences at TSP. The new board features a scoreboard on the bottom portion like the old one, but this one has LED lights and is capable of putting team names on the board. The new addition will be something to behold as a video board, sound system, netting, side panels and a steel tress up top will all add to the project. Virginia Tech’s video board is the fourth-largest college softball display installed by Daktronics.
The overall dimensions of the structure is 28 feet wide by 21 feet tall, and includes the Sportsound-500HD sound system speakers in the board so the sound will be directed straight to the stands as opposed to over the fans’ heads now.
The 11x18 foot video board is a HD-15mm LED video display that has 216 lines of resolution high by 360 columns of resolution wide. The display can operate as an independent display showing single large images or be divided in multiple zones (windows) to show a wide variety of statistics, information graphics, animations, and live and recorded video.
It also has non-lit sponsor displays on the side and features the accomplishments of the program. The video board allows for an introduction video, player spotlights, replay and other in-game enhancements. The board is protected by a 21x28 foot net that drapes over the front.
Up top is a steel truss with “Tech Softball Park” illuminated for night games.
The Hokies will start the first half of their 11-day Spring Break trip with a tournament at the Walt Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Tech will play Fordham, Hofsta, Pittsburgh, Long Island and Notre Dame at the Citrus Classic before heading to the Tampa/Clearwater area for the second half of the Spring Break trip.
RANDOM STATS AND NOTES
Did you know: The school record for hit by pitch in a season is 33, set in 2010 (58 games). Through 10 games, the Hokies have already been hit 17 times, which puts them on pace for 112 free passes over a 56-game schedule! The NCAA implemented a new rule this year to tweak the HBP rule and it reads: “Rule 11.16.1: A batter is awarded first base when a pitched ball is entirely within the batter’s box and it strikes her clothing. No attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch is required however the batter may not obviously try to get hit by the pitch.” Before, it was an umpire’s judgment as to whether the batter made an attempt to get out of the way. The record for an individual getting hit in a season is 14 by Misty Hall in 2010, but freshmen Kylie McGoldrick (6) and Lauren Gaskill (5) are well on pace to break that mark.
Career Grand Slams (active)
K. Froehlich vs. Charlotte, 2/12/11
K. Banks vs. UNCG, 3/29/11
B. Rose vs. Liberty, 3/27/11
Career Walk-Off Home Runs (active)
M. Hvozdovic vs. Western Michigan, 3/8/09 - solo home run in B7 with 1 out to win 1-0
Career Games Stated - by position (active)
K. Froehlich: 157 total - 46 2B; 39 RF; 22 3B; 20 1B; 16 LF; 13 DP; 1 SS
B. Smith: 124 total - 113 2B; 10 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 110 total - 56 C; 47 1B; 7 DP
B. Rose: 73 total - 60 C; 8 DP; 5 LF
M. Hvozdovic: 65 total - 40 LF; 21 RF; 2 CF; 2 DP
D. Anderson: 61 total - 46 SS; 9 LF; 6 DP
K. Banks: 54 total - 48 CF; 6 RF
J. Harrell: 48 total - 48 P
L. Gaskill: 10 total - 10 CF
K. McGoldrick: 10 total - 10 2B
K. Mericka: 10 total - 7 3B; 3 DP
L. Wolff: 8 total - 6 RF; 2 CF
L. Spaw: 5 total - 5 DP
I. Corrao: 2 total - 2 P
B. Liddle: 2 total - 2 P
Hokies by States (22)
North Carolina: 4
New Jersey: 2
New York: 1
Hokies by Class (22)
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).