ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team (38-18, 12-8 ACC) will head to Chapel Hill for the 2012 ACC Softball Championship hosted by the University of North Carolina. For the first time, the tournament will run Thursday-Saturday.
THE TOURNAMENT HEADLINES
No host team has won the ACC Championship since Florida State did it in 2004, but host North Carolina is the top seed this year, as was Georgia Tech when it hosted last year but lost in the first round.
The Hokies will play Maryland in the first round of the tournament. That game will take place on Thursday night, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. With three games prior to the last contest, that time could fluctuate. Tech and Maryland have met four previous times in the ACC Championship the Hokies leading 4-0. The last time the two met in the ACC Championship was in 2009 with Tech winning 3-0.
Virginia Tech has advanced to at least the semifinals in five of the seven ACC Tournaments it’s played in, including four of the last five.
TECH’S 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 seven ACC Tournaments, where it has a 14-7 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. #7 Maryland, 7-4
def. #3 Florida State, 2-0
def. #5 NC State, 2-0 (title game)
2009 (at NC State) • Seeded 5th out of 8
def. #4 Maryland, 3-0
lost to #1 Georgia Tech, 14-4
2010 (at Virginia Tech) • Seeded 7th out of 8
def. #2 Virginia, 1-0 (8 inn.)
lost to #3 Florida State, 5-3
2011 (at Georgia Tech) • Seeded 5th out of 8
lost to #4 Florida State, 9-2
Records vs. teams at ACC Tourney
BC: 0-0; GT: 1-2; FSU: 3-2; NC: 2-0; NCS: 1-1; MD: 4-0; VA: 3-2
THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The Hokies earned the No. 4 seed and will face fifth-seeded Maryland on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round. Below is the full schedule for the tournament:
Thursday, May 10
G1: 12:00 PM: #3 Georgia Tech vs. #6 Virginia (RSN)
G2: 2:30 PM: #2 Florida State vs. #7 NC State (RSN)
G3: 5:00 PM: #1 North Carolina vs. #8 Boston College (ESPN3)
G4: 7:30 PM: #4 Virginia Tech vs. #5 Maryland (ESPN3)
Friday, May 11
G5: 1:00 PM: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (RSN)
G6: 3:30 PM: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner (RSN)
Saturday, May 12
4:00 PM: Championship Game (ESPN)
Anderson Stadium, opened in 2002 as the home to UNC Softball, will serve as the host for the 2012 ACC Championship. You can find driving directions here. The field measures 200 feet to all fields and seats 500. Admission to the event is $5 per day for adults, $3 per day for youth 18 & under and free to any student of an ACC institution with valid ID.
The ACC site for the Championhip is here. It contains schdules, fan information and directions.
For the first time in championship history, all seven games will be televised in some fashion. Thursday’s first two games will be shown on RSN and the second two games of the day will be shown on ESPN3, an online-only broadcast. Friday’s semifinals will both be shown live on RSN and Saturday’s championship game will be shown live nationally on ESPN.
The first two days, Mike Hogewood (PBP) and Barb Jordan (color) will handle the broadcasting duties. For Sunday’s championship game, Cara Capuano (PBP) and Cheri Kempf (color) will be on the call for ESPN.
The Hokies have broken several team records already this year and a few individuals are close to breaking school marks as well. Here’s a look at what’s been broken and what could fall.
Team Hit By Pitch: 43
Team Sacrifice Flies: 17
Team Fielding Percentage: .975 (could fluctuate)
Team Double Plays Turned: 28
Individual Walks: Courtney Liddle has 44; record is 51 by Megan Evans in 2005
Individual Sacrifice Flies: Logan Spaw has 4; record is 5 by Jessica Everhart in 2009
The Virginia Tech softball team has been to four NCAA Tournaments in its 17-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. While it’s never a lock, with a top-35 RPI and 38 wins, the Hokies look to be a strong choice for a selection in the tournament.
The 2012 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 18-20 at campus sites with Super Regionals May 25-27 at campus sites and the 2012 WCWS will be held in June in Oklahoma City.
THE TOURNAMENT FORECAST
Here’s the early five-day forecast for Chapel Hill. 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. Fans tweeting are encouraged to use the hashtag #ACCSoftball and fans can follow action on the entire tournament at @theACCchamps.
The NCAA released its weekly adjusted RPI rankings this week and the Hokies are 31st. The Hokies have gone from 47th in the initial RPI, to 35th in the second one, to 29th, to 30th, to 32nd to 30th last week. Tech is 2-8 vs. top 25 competition (.0026 bonus per win) and 6-3 against 26-50 competition (.0013 bonus per win). Tech’s best win is against No. 16 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.
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 enters this weekend with a record of 611-408. 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 the hottest team in the ACC as it enters the ACC Championship, having won 14 of its last 16 games, including two wins over No. 19 Florida State last weekend at home. The Hokies swept Maryland earlier this season in College Park, winning 5-0, 7-5 and 5-1, but this same Maryland team has been red hot down the stretch to finish with a 34-19 record, 10-8 in the ACC.
Maryland is one of the top-hitting teams in the conference, coming in with a team batting average of .288. The lineup is filled with slap hitters that beat out infield singles and gappers. Three Terps are hitting over .330 (Kathy McLaughlin, .379; Vangie Galindo, .372; Candice Beards, .336) and Maryland has 62 doubles and nine triples on the season with just 21 home runs. Shannon Bustillos leads the way with seven home runs while Galindo leads the team with 25 stolen bases.
The Terps live and die with the performance of senior pitcher Kendra Knight, though. When on, she’s a strikeout machine. When not on, she can be wild and prone to walks, wild pitches and hit batters. For the season, she is 27-11 with a 2.42 ERA and a school-record 292 strikeouts in 249.0 innings pitched. She’s also walked 215 batters, had 31 wild pitches and hit 28 batters.
Earlier this season, the Hokies handed Knight three losses in sweeping the Terps. Tech had a lot of success against her, picking up 12 runs (11 earned) on 12 hits in 15.2 innings for a 4.91 ERA. Knight struck out 14, but 10 of those came in the first game as Tech struck out just four times against her over the final 7.1 innings. Knights also walked 17 in the series. At the plate, McLaughlin had a big weekend, hitting .455 (5-for-11).
On Tech’s side, Jasmin Harrell went 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA and nine strikeouts in 16.2 innings. At the plate, Kylie McGoldrick hit .429 with five walks, a home run and three RBIs. Kelsey Mericka hit .400 with six RBIs.
Despite the sweep earlier this year, the Terps still hold a 17-14 lead in the series. Tech is 4-0 against the Terps in ACC Championship history, though.
MD’s 2012 stats
MD’s 2012 roster
MD’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 was 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.
Unless they win the ACC Tournament, the Hokies will have to wait until Sunday night to find out if their season is extended to the postseason.
RANDOM STATS AND NOTES
Did you know: The only time Tech and Maryland met in the ACC Championship when it was being played in Chapel Hill was in 2007, a 1-0 Tech win. All-American Angela Tincher tossed a two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts and catcher Kelsey Rokey doubled in Caroline Stolle in the top of the sixth inning to account for the only run.
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)
L. Gaskill vs. Liberty, 5/1/12
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 Started - by position (active)
K. Froehlich: 185 total - 61 RF; 46 2B; 24 3B; 20 1B; 19 LF; 14 DP; 1 SS
B. Smith: 162 total - 113 2B; 48 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 156 total - 92 1B; 57 C; 7 DP
B. Rose: 117 total - 103 C; 9 DP; 5 LF
D. Anderson: 99 total - 53 SS; 26 LF; 20 DP
K. Banks: 86 total - 48 CF; 24 LF; 14 RF
M. Hvozdovic: 79 total - 41 LF; 34 RF; 2 CF; 2 DP
J. Harrell: 75 total - 75 P
L. Gaskill: 56 total - 56 CF
K. McGoldrick: 56 total - 56 2B
K. Mericka: 56 total - 51 3B; 3 DP; 2 C
L. Spaw: 32 total - 32 DP
B. Liddle: 21 total - 18 P; 3 RF
L. Wolff: 8 total - 6 RF; 2 CF
I. Corrao: 5 total - 5 P
K. Smith: 4 total - 3 DP, 1 1B
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
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).