ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team (32-15, 9-5 ACC), will return home to Tech Softball Park to take on the Cavaliers of Virginia (20-21, 5-10 ACC) this weekend for a three-game series. The Hokies were supposed to play Radford on Wednesday, but that game was rained out and moved to next week. Just nine games remain on the regular-season slate for the Hokies as they continue to make a push for postseason play.
THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Weather permitting, Tech and UVa will play the doubleheader on Saturday at 10 a.m. and will then play the single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
PROMOTIONS THIS WEEKEND
On Saturday, the first 300 fans to the game will receive a free Tech Koozie. Sunday is Breast Cancer Awareness Day and free pink T-shirts will be given out to the first 100 fans. It is also Girl Scout Day at the Park. Sunday is also Senior Day (see below).
All of the action from this weekend can be seen on Hokies All-Access, a subscription-based platform. Saturday's action will be audio-only due to the Spring Game, but Sunday's game will include video.
On Saturday, seniors Marra Hvozdovic and Kristen Froehlich will be honored for their four-year careers at Virginia Tech in a pre-game ceremony set to start at 9:50 a.m.
A record crowd is expected for Saturday’s game if the weather is nice and since it’s the football program’s annual Spring Game. Combine those elements with a battle on the diamond with in-state rival Virginia and you have the makings for a lot of fans. The Spring Game is at 4 p.m. this year, but parking, as always, will be a problem. The Athletic Department is closing Lot 4 (softball/track lot) overnight and will only allow softball patrons into the lot up to a certain time, and then it will be opened to all. For the Spring Game, there is no assigned parking, so softball fans are encouraged to arrive early to get a spot before the tailgaters for football do. For more information on the Spring Game, click here.
THE WEEKEND FORECAST
Here’s the early weekend forecast for Blacksburg. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for any changes that weather may cause.
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.
The NCAA released the fourth of its weekly adjusted RPI rankings on Monday and the Hokies are to No. 30 after going from 47th in the first one to 35th in the second one and 29th last week. Virginia is ranked 59th. Tech is 1-5 vs. top 25 competition (.0026 bonus per win) and 4-4 against 26-50 competition (.0013 bonus per win). Tech’s best win is against No. 18 Florida State. The RPI is an important tool in selecting the at-large teams to the NCAA Tournament and focusses on quality wins (bonuses for wins over top 25 and 26-50). The formula used factors in a team’s winning percentage, a team’s opponent’s winning percentage and a team’s opponent’s opponent’s winning percentage, and then adds in bonuses for quality wins. So for the math wizards out there, the formula used is ((WP+(2*OWP)+OOWP)/4)+bonus points.
Last year, only three teams ranked 40 or below in the final adjusted RPI before the selection show received at-large bids (San Diego State, 43rd; Penn State, 47th; Memphis, 48th) and no team ranked 50th or below earned an at-large bid. Several squads that finished in the 40s (North Carolina, 42nd; Longwood, 45th) didn’t make it. Tech finished the regular season with an RPI of 54 last year.
You can find the rankings here.
The Hokies (9-5) are in fourth place, a game back behind UNC (9-3), who has the tiebreaker over the Hokies and Georgia Tech (10-4). Florida State (11-3) leads the conference right now. The good news is that Georgia Tech has to play North Carolina this weekend, so Tech has a chance to make a move with a strong finish, starting this weekend against Virginia. The Cavaliers are 5-10 in the ACC after getting swept by Maryland last weekend while the Hokies are 9-5 in the league and have one series left after this weekend: at Georgia Tech. The entire ACC standings can be found 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.
WIN NO. 600 IN YEAR NO. 17
Scot Thomas is in his 17th season at the helm of the maroon and orange and reached a coaching milestone on April 1 when the Hokies beat Maryland 5-1. The win was his 600th career victory and he now enters this weekend with a record of 603-405. 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).
Virginia is 20-21 overall, 5-10 in the ACC after being swept on the road by Maryland. The Cavs picked up some big wins early on in the season, but have struggled of late, losing 16 of their last 20 games. Virginia has an ace pitcher in Melanie Mitchell, who, when on, is as good as any pitcher in the ACC. She is just 14-11 on the year, but boasts a stellar 1.58 ERA and 214 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 159.2 innings this year. She has allowed 59 runs this season, but only 36 have been earned because UVa’s team fielding percentage of .956 is second-worst in the conference. Tech has had little luck against Mitchell in the previous two seasons as she’s gone 5-1 against the Hokies. While the Hokies have picked up 42 hits against Mitchell in 42.0 innings, they’ve failed to score a lot of runs against her. Mitchell has a 2.16 ERA against the Hokies, allowing 13 earned runs and 14 walks, but has struck out 41, including two double-digit games. Tech is hitting .226 against Mitchell, who has started all seven games the two teams have played over the past two seasons, including all three games of the three-game series both times. Behind Mitchell are a pair of pitchers who have struggled: freshman Rachel Gillen (5-9; 4.91 ERA; 60 Ks in 82.2 IP) and Stephanie Coates (1-1; 4.14 ERA; 6 Ks in 25.1 IP), so it’s conceivable UVa coach Eileen Schmidt could hand the ball to Mitchell all three games again for this weekend’s big series.
While the Hokies boast only a .249 team batting average, UVa’s .242 average is the worst in the conference. Erica Cipolloni leads the offense with a .281 average and six home runs. Her sister, Giannina, is fourth on the team with a .264 average but leads the team with 23 stolen bases. Marcy Bowdren has five home runs, second-most on the team, and a team-leading 23 RBIs.
The Hokies hold a 24-18 lead in the series against Virginia that dates back to 1998. Tech and UVa have played 42 times prior to this weekend, the most-played series for the Hokies. Tech won 10 of 11 from 2006-2009 to take the lead in the series, but the ‘Hoos have gotten the best of the Hokies the past two seasons. In 2010, UVa came into Blacksburg and swept the Hokies and last year, they took two of three from Tech in Charlottesville. In the final game, the Cavs scored two runs on bases-loaded walks to tie it up in the seventh inning before getting the game-winning hit to cap a remarkable 6-5 comeback win. Since joining the ACC, Tech has won four of the seven series played against UVa, but is just 9-7 all-time against the Cavs at Tech Softball Park.
UVa’s 2012 stats
UVa’s 2012 roster
UVa’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 194-80 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 make up the game against Radford on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (Dedmon Center Field) before heading to Atlanta for a big three-game set at Georgia Tech next weekend.
RANDOM STATS AND NOTES
Did you know: The Hokies have an all-time record of 278-134 in games played in the state of Virginia and 108-51 all-time against teams from the Commonwealth, but even more impressively, are 55-27 all-time at home against teams from the state of Virginia.
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: 185 total - 61 RF; 46 2B; 24 3B; 20 1B; 19 LF; 14 DP; 1 SS
B. Smith: 153 total - 113 2B; 39 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 147 total - 84 1B; 56 C; 7 DP
B. Rose: 109 total - 95 C; 9 DP; 5 LF
D. Anderson: 96 total - 53 SS; 23 LF; 20 DP
K. Banks: 77 total - 48 CF; 18 LF; 11 RF
M. Hvozdovic: 73 total - 41 LF; 28 RF; 2 CF; 2 DP
J. Harrell: 68 total - 68 P
L. Gaskill: 47 total - 47 CF
K. McGoldrick: 47 total - 47 2B
K. Mericka: 47 total - 42 3B; 3 DP; 2 C
L. Spaw: 23 total - 23 DP
B. Liddle: 19 total - 16 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).