ON THE DIAMOND
The Virginia Tech softball team at 12-1 and ranked 23rd in the country by ESPN/USA Softball heads west for its annual Spring Break trip for 13 days and 10 games in California. Tech will open the trip with five scheduled games at the Long Beach State Invitational beginning Thursday and will then play in the Judi Garmin Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton, on the back end of the trip.
The LBSU Invite will be held at three facilities in the Long Beach area, but Tech will only play at two. Tech will play Thursday and Friday at Mayfair Park in Lakewood and Saturday at LBSU’s field on campus.
Weather permitting, the Hokies open the tournament on Thursday at 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Eastern) against Cal State Fullerton (Tech is home) and then play Long Beach State (Tech is visitor) at 7:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Eastern). On Friday, the Hokies open at 11:30 a.m. local time (2:30 p.m. Eastern against Weber State (Tech is home) and then play at 4:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Eastern) against No. 10 UCLA (Tech is visitor). On Saturday, the Hokies will move over to the 49er Softball Complex to play at 11:30 a.m. Eastern (2:30 p.m. local) against UNLV (Tech is home). Please note that due to city regulations, no new inning will start after 11 p.m.
Mayfair Park is located on Clark Street in between Candlewood Street and South Street. Clark Avenue from lightpost to lightpost will be marked and barricaded as a loading and unloading zones. The parking entrance is off of South Street. To get to the LBSU field, take 405 Freeway and take the Palo Verde exit, heading west before taking a right on Atherton. Just after the fire station (before you hit a stop light and before the blue pyramid), turn left and the turn left into Lot 12. Go toward the right of the lot near the Carpenter Center. The 49er Softball Complex is off to the right of George Allen Field.
The tournament web site is linked to the right.
Ticket prices for Long Beach State and Mayfair are $12 for adults and $6 for youth and seniors, per day. Ticket purchased at Mayfair or Campus are good at either site and tickets purchased at Cal State Fullerton are only good at Fullerton site.
IN THE GOLDEN STATE
Virginia Tech has played three tournaments in California since its inception as a varsity sport in 1996, posting a 5-10 mark in the 15 games played. Tech went 2-4 at the 2001 N.I.S.T. in Sunnyvale, Calif., 0-4 at the 2003 N.I.S.T. and 3-2 at the 2008 Long Beach State Invitational in both Lakewood and Long Beach.
Because of the impending winter weather in Virginia on Wednesday, a routine flight from Roanoke to Chicago and Chicago to Orange County has been turned upside down. With the likelihood of Wednesday’s flight out of Roanoke cancelled or delayed, Tech is already on the road a day early, bussing eight hours to Indianapolis Tuesday, and then the rest of the way to Chicago Wednesday to catch its flight to the west coast.
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 627-410. 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).
SHE’S GOT CLASS
Courtney Liddle is one of 30 NCAA softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field who were selected as candidates today for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate softball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Liddle is one of the top players in program history who is currently ranked first in school history in career on base percentage (.463), second in career home runs (27), second in career walks (110), tied for first in career hit by pitch (23), second in career slugging percentage (.565), tied for sixth in career batting average (.316), tied for 10th in career doubles (34) and seventh in career RBIs (111). You can read Liddle’s Senior CLASS bio here.
The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City May 30 through June 5.
Former Hokie great Angela Tincher won this award following her senior campaign in 2008.
For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
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.
Lauren Gaskill had a phenomenal weekend at the Troy Subway Invitational, earning MVP honors for her play after helping lead the Hokies to a perfect 5-0 mark. The sophomore batted .563 in five games, going 9-for-16 at the plate, with 10 runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a home run, three RBIs, two walks and a five stolen bases in as many attempts. She collected a career-high four hits in the win over Evansville on Saturday, ending the game due to the mercy rule with an RBI single.
SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON
CSUF enters this weekend with a 7-11 overall record, but owns wins against Missouri and UCLA. The Titans have struggled at the plate with a .234 average, but have four starters batting .300 or higher. Ariel Tsuchiyama is leading the way with a .326 average. In the circle, Desiree Ybarra (2-4, 41.0 IP, 3.24 ERA, 21 Ks), Jasmine Antunez (5-6, 61.2 IP, 3.18 ERA, 66 Ks) and Katey Laban (1-1, 22.1 IP, 5.96 ERA, 2 Ks) have all seen significant action for a staff that has an ERA of 3.70.
This will be the first meeting on the diamond between the Hokies and Titans. The two will meet again next weekend in the Judi Garmin Classic.
SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE
Long Beach State opens play Thursday against the Hokies in its only game of the day and will enter with a 12-6 record. The 49ers are hitting .290 as a team with 17 home runs and are led by five hitters hitting over .300. Shayna Kimbrough leads the way with a .375 average while Hannah DeGaetano (.367) and Darian Tautalafua (.350) are close behind.
In the circle, LBSU has given up some runs, but has played a tough schedule. The staff ERA is 4.58 and the 49ers are led by Erin Jones-Wesley, who is 6-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 63.2 innings with 86 strikeouts. She tossed a six-inning no-hitter in the 49ers win Sunday against Fresno State.
Tech is 1-0 against the 49ers, beating them 2-1 at the 2001 N.I.S.T. in Sunnyvale, Calif.
UCLA, ranked ninth in the country, will be the toughest test the Hokies have faced in 2013 when they face them Friday. The Bruins are 18-2 and are hitting .319 as a team with 35 home runs and 124 RBIs. Stephany LaRosa is leading the way with a .426 average with six home runs while Mysha Satarake is batting .410. B.B. Bates is on fire early on, hitting .371 with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs in 20 games.
The pitching, while a perceived weakness in the preseason, has been anything but thus far. UCLA has a staff ERA of 1.88 and is led by freshman Paige McDuffee, who is 5-0 with a 0.42 ERA in 33.0 innings with 19 strikeouts. Ally Carda has seen a brunt of the work, pitching 67.2 innings. She is 11-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 82 Ks.
Tech is 0-1 all-time against the Bruins, dropping a 1-0 decision to them in 2008 in Lakewood on the same field the Hokies and Bruins will face off on this week, despite 15 strikeouts and just three hits and an unearned run allowed by Angela Tincher. Tech has never faced a team ranked ninth in the country and is 4-23 all-time against top-10 comeptition. You can see Tech's record against all ranked opponents here.
The Rebels are off to a 7-13 start after hosting several tournaments in Las Vegas. UNLV is hitting just .242 as a team with Stefany Valentino leading the way with a .360 average. She’s the only batter hitting over .300. In the circle, Amanda Oliveto has thrown 81.1 innings already and is 6-6 with a 2.41 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
Tech is 1-0 all-time against the Runnin’ Rebels, beating them 2-1 in Las Vegas back in 2006.
SCOUTING WEBER STATE
Weber State sits a 1-14 coming into this weekend after losing its first 13 games to open the season. The Wildcats are hitting just .181 as a team and are led by Alyson Kulp’s .268 average. Janel Cunningham has the lone home run for WSU thus far. Morgan Allaband has seen the most action in the circle, tossing 43.2 innings. She is 0-7 with a 5.61 ERA and 27 strikeouts.
Tech is 1-0 all-time against the Wildcats 8-0 (5 Inn.) in a tournament at Arizona State in 2011.
This weekend will be a homecoming of sorts for three Hokies as they head back to their home state. Senior Jasmin Harrell and freshman Kiara Ota are both from Irvine, which is a short drive down the 405 from where Tech is staying in Long Beach while junior Dani Anderson is from Rio Linda (near Sacramento), a six-hour jaunt north of Long Beach.
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.
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
Tech will also have a game against Georgia Tech broadcast on the ACC Digital Network on YouTube.
The Hokies will hang out in sunny California for the week before beginning play in the Judi Garmin Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton, Thursday-Saturday. Tech is scheduled to play No. 3 Arizona State, No. 14 Michigan, No. 21 Arizona, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.
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: 182 total - 121 2B; 60 SS; 1 LF
C. Liddle: 176 total - 112 1B; 57 C; 7 DP
B. Rose: 133 total - 118 C; 10 DP; 5 LF
D. Anderson: 116 total - 54 SS; 42 LF; 20 DP
K. Banks: 101 total - 48 CF; 29 RF; 24 LF
J. Harrell: 87 total - 87 P
L. Gaskill: 76 total - 76 CF
K. Mericka: 76 total - 64 3B; 7 C; 5 DP
K. McGoldrick: 68 total - 68 2B
L. Spaw: 47 total - 47 DP
B. Liddle: 23 total - 19 P; 3 RF; 1 DP
L. Wolff: 9 total - 6 RF; 2 CF; 1 LF
A. Ake: 11 total - 7 SS, 2 3B, 1 DP, 1 RF
J. McNamara: 5 total - 5 3B
K. Smith: 4 total - 3 DP, 1 1B
K. Heinz: 4 total - 4 P
M. Tyler: 3 total - 3 P
Consecutive Start Streak (10 or more games)
C. Liddle: 96 games
L. Gaskill: 76 games
K. Mericka: 76 games
B. Smith: 52 games
K. Banks: 46 games
D. Anderson: 18 games
Hokies by States (24)
New Jersey: 3
North Carolina: 2
Hokies by Class (24)
Juniors: 6 (1 redshirt)
Sophomores: 7 (1 redshirt)
Freshmen: 7 (2 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).