ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team (24-12, 3-2 ACC), coming off a sweep of James Madison at home on Wednesday, will hit the road and head to College Park, Md., for a three-game series at the University of Maryland (18-11, 0-0 ACC).
THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The Hokies and Terrapins are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. and will play the single game on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission and parking are free for all games, but a large event will be held at Comcast Center Saturday, so the lots may be full. Please plan accordingly.
Maryland plays its home games at Robert E. Taylor Stadium, located adjacent to Maryland’s Comcast Center on the north side of campus. You can find directions here.
THE WEEKEND FORECAST
Here’s the early weekend forecast for College Park. With the weather forecasted, be sure to check hokiesports.com and Twitter should schedule changes happen.
Live stats for every Hokie softball game this season will be available on through hokiesports.com. It will always be this link.
The Maryland Athletics Department will broadcast all three games live on the internet through TerpsTV Premium. Fans can register through umterps.com to be able to watch the games. Game one can be watched here, game two here, and game three here.
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.
The NCAA released the first of its weekly RPI rankings on Monday and the Hokies check in at No. 47 in the first one. Maryland is ranked 95th. Tech is 4-7 against top 50 compeition and 7-9 against the top 100. Tech’s best win is against No. 27 North Carolina. The RPI is an important tool in selecting the at-large teams to the NCAA Tournament and focusses on quality wins (vs. top 25, vs. 26-50, vs. 51-100, top 100 total, etc.). Last year, only three teams ranked 40 or below in the final RPI before the selection show received at-large bids (San Diego State, 43rd; Memphis, 48th; Penn State, 47th) and no team ranked 50th or below earned an at-large bid. Tech finished the regular season with an RPI of 54th last year.
You can find the rankings here.
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 597-402, needing just three 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 an exhibition win over the U.S. National Team (2008).
Maryland is 18-11 overall, but 0-0 in the ACC after having its entire series at UNC rained out last weekend. The Terps are a perfect 7-0 at Taylor Stadium this year. The Terps relies on a two-pitcher rotation in flame thrower Kendra Knight and freshman Kaitlyn Schmeiser. Knight is 12-5 with a 2.82 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 11.2 innings, but has had control problems in the past and has 105 walks, 13 wild pitches and 11 hit batters this year. Schmeiser is 5-5 with a 4.49 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 57.2 innings with 35 walks. The Terrapins bat .266 as a team with 11 home runs, 27 doubles, four triples and 45 stolen bases. Bree Hanafin is the top hitter with a .333 average and 19 RBIs while Kathy McLaughlin is batting .320, Vangie Galindo .311 and Candice Beards .306. Galindo has 12 stolen bases to lead the way while Beards and Nikki Maier each have three home runs.
Tech has typically struggled against Maryland, particularly at College Park. The Terps hold a 17-11 series and have won seven of the 12 games played at Taylor Stadium. Since joining the ACC, Tech has won just two of the seven series played against Maryland and the Terps swept the Hokies last year in Blacksburg.
Maryland’s 2012 stats
Maryland’s 2012 roster
Maryland’s 2012 schedule/results
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 195-77 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 have the work week off and then will host nationally ranked Florida State next weekend. Because of Easter weekend, the two teams will play the single game Friday night and the doubleheader on Saturday.
RANDOM STATS AND NOTES
Did you know: Several class records have already been broken or tied this year and we’re only 36 games into the season. Logan Spaw has already broken the freshman record for sacrifice flies with four while Dani Anderson has tied the sophomore record for being hit by a pitch (5). Betty Rose has three sacrifice flies, tying the junior record and Courtney Liddle has tied the junior record for times hit by a pitch as she’s been plunked six times. Lauren Gaskill has been hit seven times, tying the freshman mark set by Liddle last year and Ali Verbage in 1998. Thanks to a new database set up by using the game files from every game played in the Hokies’ history, you can see all of these records here. www.hokiesports.com/softball/records/class
Career Grand Slams (active)
K. Froehlich vs. Charlotte, 2/12/11
B. Rose vs. Liberty, 3/27/11
K. Banks vs. UNCG, 3/29/11
K. Mericka vs. Wagner, 2/24/12
B. Rose vs. Cornell, 3/20/12 (walk-off)
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
B. Rose vs. Cornell, 3/20/12 - grand slam in B7 with 1 out to win 8-4
Career Games Stated - by position (active)
K. Froehlich: 179 total - 55 RF; 46 2B; 24 3B; 20 1B; 19 LF; 14 DP; 1 SS
B. Smith: 142 total - 113 2B; 28 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 136 total - 73 1B; 56 C; 7 DP
B. Rose: 98 total - 84 C; 9 DP; 5 LF
M. Hvozdovic: 68 total - 41 LF; 23 RF; 2 CF; 2 DP
D. Anderson: 86 total - 53 SS; 23 LF; 10 DP
K. Banks: 66 total - 48 CF; 11 RF; 7 LF
J. Harrell: 61 total - 61 P
L. Gaskill: 36 total - 36 CF
K. McGoldrick: 36 total - 36 2B
K. Mericka: 36 total - 31 3B; 3 DP; 2 C
L. Spaw: 22 total - 22 DP
B. Liddle: 15 total - 12 P; 3 RF
L. Wolff: 8 total - 6 RF; 2 CF
I. Corrao: 5 total - 5 P
K. Smith: 3 total - 3 DP
Hokies by States (22)
North Carolina: 4
New Jersey: 2
New York: 1
Hokies by Class (22)
Walk-Off Home Runs in Program History (14)
Bronwyn Blair vs. Charlotte, 3/25/98 - two-run home run in B8 to win 8-6
Tiffany Hurt vs. Radford, 2/21/01 - two-run home run in B7 to win 2-0
Amy Voorhees vs. Connecticut, 3/31/01 - solo home run in B10 to win 3-2
Megan Evans vs. Seton Hall, 5/5/02 - solo home run in B9 to win 1-0
Megan Evans vs. Virginia, 4/27/04 - grand slam in B8 to win 6-3
Stephanie Savre vs. Georgia Tech, 4/23/05 - grand slam in B7 to win 9-5
Caroline Stolle vs. Winthrop, 5/5/05 - solo home in B7 to win 2-1
Stephanie Savre vs. Radford, 3/1/06 - two-run home run in B9 to win 3-2
Beth Walker vs. North Carolina, 4/26/08 - three-run home run in B10 to win 5-2
Misty Hall vs. Louisville, 5/16/08 (NCAA Regionals) - solo home run in B7 to win 1-0
Jessica Everhart vs. Appalachian State, 2/21/09 - three-run home run in B8 to win 5-4
Misty Hall vs. Florida State, 4/17/10 - solo home run in B7 to win 5-4
Marra Hvozdovic vs. Western Michigan, 3/8/09 - solo home run in B7 to win 1-0
Betty Rose vs. Cornell, 3/20/12 - grand slam in B7 to win 8-4
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).