ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team travels to the Central Time Zone this weekend to participate in the Troy Subway Invitational in Troy, Ala. The entire tournament will be held at the Troy Softball Complex. The Hokies open the tournament on Friday at 11 a.m. Central (noon Eastern) against North Florida and then play Evansville right after at 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Eastern). On Saturday, they face the host Trojans at 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Eastern) and then all four teams will be seeded based on round robin records.
The top seed and No. 4 seed will play right after round robin play wraps up and then the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds will play at 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. Eastern). On Sunday the losers of tournament play games play in the third place game at 11 a.m. local time (noon Eastern) and then the championship game follows at approximately 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Eastern).
Troy University has set up a tournament page with all the links needed for the weekend. Links to the live stats can be found here or on hokiesports.com.
The Troy Softball Complex is located on Elm Street in Troy, AL 36082.
IN THE YELLOWHAMMER STATE
Virginia Tech has played just nine games in Alabama since its inception as a varsity sport in 1996, posting a 5-4 mark. Tech played four games at Auburn University in 2012 and five games at Auburn in 2007.
THE WEEKEND FORECAST
Here’s the early weekend forecast for Troy, Ala.
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.
This year’s 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. 18
Scot Thomas is in his 18th season at the helm of the maroon and orange. He enters this weekend with a record of 619-410. 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), eight conference championship games and a win over the U.S. National Team (2008) and the Dutch National Team (2012).
WHAT A DEBUT
Freshman Kelly Heinz (Mechanicsville, Va.) became the first Tech player in program history to throw a no-hitter in her first collegiate start when she shut down Southern Illinois on Sunday. She struck out a career-high 11 batters and walked three in the victory. Heinz threw 12.2 innings this past weekend, picking up a win and a save. She didn’t allow a run, walked four and struck out 21. She pitched the final 4.2 innings against Fordham Saturday night without allowing a hit, and got the last two outs of the Chattanooga win, so she’s thrown 11.1 straight innings without allowing a hit. She was also named the ACC Pitcher of the Week for her weekend.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
Sophomore Kylie McGoldrick will be out this weekend after suffering a minor injury last weekend in the Sunday game against Southern Illinois. She is expected back in time for the Spring Break trip, if not a bit sooner. This will mark the first time in her career she won’t be in the starting lineup as she’s started at second base the last 68 games the Hokies have played.
Evansville opens up this weekend and is coming off a 18-37 record in 2012. UE is returning six starters and a total of 12 letterwinners for the 2013 season, after graduating four seniors. The Purple Aces return senior Sarah Patterson (9-19, 3.01 ERA) and junior Taylor Perry (6-8, 3.67 ERA) at the pitching position. Kayla Fortner led the team in batting last year (359, 5 HRs) and returns this year. Evansville opens against the Hokies Friday afternoon.
Tech is just 1-5 all-time against the Purple Aces, last playing in 2009.
SCOUTING NORTH FLORIDA
North Florida is off to a hot 4-1 start to the 2013 season after shutting out UCF Wednesday night in Orlando. That win comes on the heels of a 3-1 weekend at the Panhandle Invitational in Tallahassee. UNF’s lone loss was a tight 3-1 defeat to nationally ranked Florida State in which the Seminoles had to score two runs late to win the game.
The Ospreys have relied on pitching early on with the staff posting an ERA of 1.24. UNF hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game and has posted two shutouts. Sophomore Kayla Goff has seen the most action, tossing 20.1 innings with a 1.03 ERA and 10 strikeouts. Kaylie Wallace has thrown 7.1 innings with a 0.91 ERA and 12 strikeouts. UNF has been light hitting thus far, posting a team batting average of just .234, but Ashley Holton is off to a hot start with a .400 average.
This will be the first meeting on the softball field between the Hokies and Ospreys.
The host Trojans still sit at 2-2 after having a game at Florida State rained out Tuesday night in Tallahassee. Troy beat Georgia State and Tennessee State, but lost to Mississippi State and SIU-Edwardsville last weekend in Starkville, Miss., to open the season. Hannah Renn (.462) and Chandler Griffin (.455) led an offense that hit .290 last weekend. In the circle, the staff struggled with a 5.04 team ERA. Rachel Rigney saw the most action, going 1-1 in 13.2 innings with just seven strikeouts and an ERA of 4.10.
Tech is 3-0 all-time against the Trojans, last playing in 2009.
BACK TO HER ROOTS
This weekend will be a homecoming of sorts for Tech pitching coach Barb Sherwood as she’s a graduate of Troy University. Sherwood earned a degree in physical education from Troy in 1999 and a Master’s in Education in 2000. She was a three-time team captain and helped lead the Trojans to the 1996 Mid-Continent Conference championship and a berth in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.
PRESEASON ACC POLL
The ACC coaches voted the Hokies fourth in the 2013 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released the week before the season began. North Carolina is the preseason favorite, according to the coaches, followed by Florida State, defending tournament champion Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Virginia, NC State, Maryland 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 over the years. Nearly 800 permanent seats have been added, along with lights, two more press boxes, a video board and a new sound system, making the facility a fine one for the Hokies to play. Currently, the capacity is 1,024 for games. Over the years, Tech has posted a 197-78 record at home.
ESPN announced in the preseason its lineup of college softball broadcasts for the upcoming season, a lineup that features two Virginia Tech games for the first time in program history. The first game of the doubleheader against Florida State at home on April 20 - also the day of the Spring Game for football - and the single game at Virginia on Monday, April 29 at 7 p.m. will be televised, both live by ESPNU. Additionally, the Sunday game of the Georgia Tech series will be broadcast live on the ACC Digital Network on YouTube.
While Tech has been on TV 15 previous times, these two games will mark the first regular season games shown nationally live in the program’s 18-year history.
ESPN’s returning line-up of college softball analysts includes Garland Cooper, Jennie Finch, Cheri Kempf, Jessica Mendoza, Michele Smith, and Amanda Scarborough with Beth Mowins, Pam Ward, Cara Capuano, Joe Davis, Holly Rowe and Adam Amin on deck bringing the play-by-play each week.
Below is Tech’s all-time television appearance list, plus its lone appearance on ESPN3, the network’s online broadcasting platform:
2005 ACC championship game on RSN vs. Georgia Tech
2007 ACC championship game on RSN vs. Florida State
2008 ACC championship game on RSN vs. NC State
2008 vs. USA on ESPN2 (tape delayed)
2008 vs. Tennessee on ESPN2 in NCAA Regionals
2008 all three Super Regional games on ESPN at Michigan
2008 both WCWS games on ESPN from Oklahoma City
2009 vs. USF on Bright House Network
2009 vs. Florida State on Sun Sports
2009 vs. Florida State on FSN
2012 vs. Maryland at ACC on ESPN3
2012 vs. UNC at ACC Tournament on RSN
2012 ACC championship game on ESPN vs. Georgia Tech
Next week, the Hokies are scheduled to play at Radford on Wednesday in a single game at 3 p.m. (weather permitting) before heading to Woodstock, Ga., to participate in the Phyllis Rafter Memorial, hosted by Kennsesaw State and played at the Twins Creeks Complex. Tech is schedule to take on Georgia State, Youngstown State, Akron, Troy and Campbell.
RANDOM STATS AND NOTES
Career Grand Slams (active)
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)
B. Rose vs. Cornell, 3/20/12 - grand slam in B7 with 1 out to win 8-4
Career Games Started - by position (active)
B. Smith: 174 total - 113 2B; 60 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 168 total - 104 1B; 57 C; 7 DP
B. Rose: 129 total - 114 C; 10 DP; 5 LF
D. Anderson: 108 total - 53 SS; 35 LF; 20 DP
K. Banks: 93 total - 48 CF; 24 LF; 21 RF
J. Harrell: 84 total - 84 P
L. Gaskill: 68 total - 68 CF
K. McGoldrick: 68 total - 68 2B
K. Mericka: 68 total - 61 3B; 4 DP; 3 C
L. Spaw: 41 total - 41 DP
B. Liddle: 22 total - 19 P; 3 RF
L. Wolff: 8 total - 6 RF; 2 CF
A. Ake: 4 total - 2 3B, 1 DP, 1 RF
K. Smith: 4 total - 3 DP, 1 1B
K. Heinz: 1 total - 1 P
M. Tyler: 1 total - 1 P
Hokies by States (25)
North Carolina: 3
New Jersey: 3
Hokies by Class (25)
Juniors: 6 (1 redshirt)
Sophomores: 7 (1 redshirt)
Freshmen: 8 (3 redshirts)
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
Tech’s official record book, which includes game, season and career records, along with all of the no-hitters and perfect games in program history, can be found here.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).