What: NCAA Softball Regionals
When: May 18-20, 2012
Who: Virginia Tech, UAB, Miami University, Tennessee
Where: Knoxville, Tenn.
Facility: Sheri Parker-Lee Stadium
ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team (40-19) will head to Tennessee for the Knoxville Regional hosted by the University of Tennessee. Tech will face UAB in the first round and is a No. 2 seed in the regional.
THE TOURNAMENT HEADLINES
This will be Tech’s fourth trip to the Knoxville Regional in five Regional appearances.
Outfielder Kat Banks is from Hendersonville, Tenn., while student assistant and former Hokie pitcher Kenzie Roark is from Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Student assistant and former Hokie pitcher/outfielder Ashton Ward transferred to Tech from Tennessee after her sophomore season.
Tech freshman Kelsey Mericka and UAB redshirt freshman infielder Heather Pearson both attended Kell High School in Kennesaw, Ga., and will face off in the first game.
The Hokies enter the NCAA Tournament with an RPI of 29th.
TECH’S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Hokies have made four previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament, coming from 2005-08. Three of their four previous Regionals took place in Knoxville, Tenn., while the other was in Columbus, Ohio, when Tech was the No. 16 national seed in 2007. In 2008, Tech won the Knoxville Regional, came back to win the Ann Arbor Super Regional and made its lone appearance in the Women’s College World Series.
Here’s a recap of Tech’s action in the NCAA Tournament, where it has a 8-10 record:
NCAA Regionals (Knoxville, Tenn.)
lost to College of Charleston, 2-10 (6)
def. Miami University, 4-1
lost to College of Charleston, 3-6
NCAA Regionals (Knoxville, Tenn.)
def. Louisville, 1-0 (12)
lost to Tennessee, 1-9 (5)
lost to Louisville, 1-10 (5)
2007 (1-2; No. 16 national seed)
NCAA Regionals (Columbus, Ohio)
def. Canisius, 5-0
lost to Ohio State, 1-2
lost to Cal State-Fullerton, 0-1
NCAA Regionals (Knoxville, Tenn.)
def. Louisville, 1-0 (10)
def. Tennessee, 4-0
lost to Tennessee, 1-7
def. Tennessee, 4-2
NCAA Super Regional (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
lost to Michigan, 0-1
def. Michigan, 1-0
def. Michigan, 6-1
Women’s College World Series (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
lost to Texas A&M, 0-1
lost to Florida, 0-2 (9)
THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The Hokies earned the No. 2 seed in this Regional and will face third-seeded UAB on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the first round. Below is the full schedule for the Regional:
Friday, May 18
G1: 3:30 PM: #3 UAB vs. #2 Virginia Tech
G2: 6:00 PM: #4 Miami vs. #1 Tennessee
Saturday, May 19
G3: 1:30 PM: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
G4: 4:00 PM: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
G5: 6:30 PM: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner
Saturday, May 20
1:30 PM: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner
4:00 PM: If necessary
Sheri Parker-Lee Stadium, opened in 2008 as the home to Tennessee Lady Vol Softball, will serve as the host for the Knoxville Regional. You can find driving directions, stadium information and more, here. The field is located at 2323 Stephenson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996 for GPS purposes. The field measures 200 feet down the lines and 220 to center. Parking is. Admission to the event is $15 per day for adults for chair back reserved (if still available), $10 per day for bleacher back reserved, $5 for bleacher back for students and children 1 and under are free. All-session passes will be made available for the chair back reserved area if they are left after UT’s season ticket holders get a chance to purchase. Check utladyvols.com for ticket info.
YOUTH IS SERVED
The Hokies may be a year ahead of schedule of high expectations, putting up 40 wins heading into the postseason. In the ACC Championship Game, the Hokies didn’t start a senior and featured four true freshmen in the starting 10, along with two sophomores and four juniors. With a strong recruiting class coming to Blacksburg in the fall and only two seniors on the roster, the expectations will be even higher next year.
Tech had two players earn All-ACC honors this season: Courtney Liddle (first team) and Lauren Gaskill (second team). For their strong play at the ACC Tournament, Gaskill, Kylie McGoldrick, Jasmin Harrell and Kelsey Mericka were named to the all-tournament team.
TRADING TASSELS FOR GLOVES
Junior Betty Rose and senior Marra Hvozdovic were scheduled to walk at Virginia Tech’s graduation on Friday, May 11, but missed the ceremony and the commencement speech given by First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama with the Hokies making their run through the ACC Tournament. Both still graduated nonetheless - Hvozdovic graduating with a degree in management and Rose graduating in three years, also with a degree in management. Hvozdovic earned an internship with the ACC for next year and will intern in the ACC Championships Department. Rose will begin graduate school this upcoming fall as a senior.
This weekend’s regional will feature two of the top fielding teams in Division I softball. Tennessee also leads the nation in fielding percentage with a .983 clip, committing only 26 errors all season. The Hokies are seventh nationally and lead the ACC with a .976 fielding percentage, committing 43 errors. The Hokies’ 1,184 putouts are among the most in the country.
AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD
Virginia Tech is 11-12 against teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The Hokies have three wins over conference tournament champions: Miami University (Mid-American), Georgia Tech (ACC) and LIU-Brooklyn (Northeast)
Here’s a breakdown of Tech’s record vs. the field:
North Carolina: 2-2
Florida State: 1-2
Georgia Tech: 1-3
Notre Dame: 1-0
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: 45
Team Sacrifice Flies: 17
Team Home Runs: 46
Team Fielding Percentage: .976 (could fluctuate)
Team Double Plays Turned: 28
Individual Walks: Courtney Liddle has 45; record is 51 by Megan Evans in 2005
Individual Sacrifice Flies: Logan Spaw has 4; record is 5 by Jessica Everhart in 2009
Individual Runs Scored: Lauren Gaskill has 44; record is 49 Carmen Farmer in 2002
THE WEEKEND FORECAST
Here’s the early five-day forecast for Knoxville. 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. All of the NCAA Regional scores will be available on GameTracker, as well.
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.
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 614-408. In his career, he has led the Hokies to a berth in the Women’s College World Series (2008), two ACC titles (2007, 2008), five NCAA bids (2005-2008, 2012) and an exhibition win over the U.S. National Team (2008). With a win over UNC in the ACC semifinals last weekend, Tech reached the 40-win plateau for the seventh time in the program’s 17-year history.
SCOUTING MIAMI UNIVERSITY
Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio, earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament. The RedHawks enter this weekend with a record of 40-18 and are the No. 4 seed in this Regional. With an RPI of No. 64, they will take on top-seeded and the No. 7 national seed Tennessee in the opening round.
Miami sports an impressive .284 batting average with 63 doubles, 10 triples, 22 home runs and 70 stolen bases. Shanyn McIntyre leads the offense with a .352 batting average and 11 doubles. Kirstie Fehrenbach is hitting .316 with 13 stolen bases while Kristy Arbour hits .304. Daniela Torres has 14 stolen bases while Tiyona Marshall has 13. Torres leads the team with seven home runs and 30 RBIs.
The RedHawks are led in the circle by Jessica Simpson, who sports an impressive 1.06 ERA this year. She is 31-13 with 346 strikeouts in 289.1 innings.
The Hokies downed the RedHawks earlier this year 6-5 in 10 innings at a tournament in Clearwater, Fla. Kylie McGoldrick had three hits and two RBIs while Kelsey Mericka had two hits and two RBIs, including one to tie the game back up in the ninth inning. Betty Rose had the game-winning hit in the 10th inning to win it for the Hokies. Jasmin Harrell pitched all 10 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on 10 hits with two walks and a season-high 12 strikeouts. The speedy Arbour had three infield hits while Fehrenbach had two and Jordan McElroy had two RBIs. Paige Myers got the start and went 5.2 innings before Simpson was put in. Simpson picked up the loss, going 3.2 innings with two unearned runs allowed on two hits with a walk and a strikeout. BOX SCORE
The Hokies and RedHawks have played seven games previously with the Hokies leading the series 6-1. Prior to March’s meeting in Clearwater, the two teams last met in 2005 with Tech winning 2-0 at a tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., and 4-1 in the NCAA Regionals in Knoxville, Tenn.
MU’s 2012 stats
MU’s 2012 roster
MU’s 2012 schedule/results
The University of Tennessee, located in Knoxville, Tenn., earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and plays in the Southeastern Conference. The Lady Vols enter this weekend with a record of 46-10 and are the No. 1 seed in this Regional and the No. 7 seed nationally. With an RPI of No. 4, they will take on fourth-seeded Miami in the opening round.
Raven Chavanne, one of 10 finalists for the national player of the year award, leads a potent offense that hits .301 as a team. Chavanne leads the way with a .435 batting average, as well as 29 stolen bases. She’s the catalyst at the top of the order for the Lady Vols, but certainly isn’t the only threat. Kat Dotson is hitting .344 and Lauren Gibson is batting .321 with a team-leading 13 home runs. Madison Shipman is hitting .311 with nine home runs and a team-high 58 RBIs. In all, six Tennessee starters hit over .300 and the offense has produced 57 doubles, 11 triples, 43 home runs and 103 stolen bases.
Ellen and Ivy Renfroe pose a formidable pitching duo for any offense as the sisters have been rock solid all year long. Ellen Renfroe is 27-3 with a 1.21 ERA and 269 ERA and 214.2 innings while Ivy Renfroe is 19-7 with a 1.94 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 165.2 innings.
Tech is 7-7 all-time against the Lady Vols, last playing in 2008 when the Hokies won two of three games against them to win the Knoxville Regional. The two played at the State Line Classic in Bristol, Tenn., from 1997-2004 with Tech winning five of the nine games played there. All 14 games against Tennessee have been played in the state of Tennessee (nine in Bristol, four in Knoxville for Regionals).
UT’s 2012 stats
UT’s 2012 roster
UT’s 2012 schedule/results
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, located in Birmingham, Ala., earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and plays in Conference-USA. The Blazers enter this weekend with a record of 37-20 and are the No. 3 seed in this Regional. With an RPI of No. 40, they will take on third-seeded Virginia Tech in the opening round.
UAB is led at the plate by Mandy Lowman, who is hitting .350 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. Kayla Orr is hitting .345 and Catherine Crawford hits .319. Two other batters are hitting over .300: Whitney Fletcher (.317 with seven home runs and 10 stolen bases) and Kristen McGrath (.313 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs). The Blazers hit .280 as a team with 60 doubles, seven triples, 53 home runs and 35 stolen bases.
UAB goes by a pitcher by committee rotation in Amber Torres, Lannah Campbell and Leigh Streetman. All three have thrown over 100 innings and share the load. Streetman has thrown the most innings, Torres has the lowest ERA and Campbell has the most wins. Torres is 10-4 with a 1.25 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 100.2 innings. Campbell is 15-6 with a 1.50 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 130.2 innings and Streetman is 10-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 131.2 innings pitched.
Tech is 0-2 against UAB, losing both games in 2007. The Hokies dropped a 5-1 decision to the Blazers at a tournament in Panthersville, Ga., to open the season and then fell 10-9 to them a week later at a tournament in Auburn, Ala.
UAB’s 2012 stats
UAB’s 2012 roster
UAB 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.
RANDOM STATS AND NOTES
Did you know: This will mark the fourth time in eight years that the NCAA has sent Virginia Tech to Knoxville for the NCAA Regionals. The only time Tech made the tournament and wasn’t sent south on I-81 was in 2007 when the Hokies were a national No. 16 seed, but still didn’t get to host and got sent to Columbus, Ohio. This Regional will have a familiar feel as Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Miami were all sent to Knoxville for the 2005 Regional. All that’s needed for a full reunion would be the College of Charleston, but the Cougars didn’t make the field this year.
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
K. Banks vs. Maryland, 5/10/12
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: 165 total - 113 2B; 51 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 159 total - 95 1B; 57 C; 7 DP
B. Rose: 120 total - 106 C; 9 DP; 5 LF
D. Anderson: 100 total - 53 SS; 27 LF; 20 DP
K. Banks: 89 total - 48 CF; 24 LF; 17 RF
M. Hvozdovic: 81 total - 43 LF; 34 RF; 2 CF; 2 DP
J. Harrell: 78 total - 78 P
L. Gaskill: 59 total - 59 CF
K. McGoldrick: 59 total - 59 2B
K. Mericka: 59 total - 54 3B; 3 DP; 2 C
L. Spaw: 35 total - 35 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 8-4
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).