BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech softball squad will begin an important eight-game ACC stretch this weekend with a three-game series against Georgia Tech at Mewborn Field in Atlanta. The two teams are scheduled to play the doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon, followed by the single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Georgia Tech (19-12, 8-8 ACC) is coming off a tough 9-7 loss at No. 15 Georgia Wednesday evening in Athens. The Jackets had the previous weekend off.
Georgia Tech sports one of the better offenses in the league with a .302 team batting average and six regulars hitting .299 or higher. Ashley Thomas (.381, 7 HRs, 14-14 SBs) and Hayley Downs (.376, 18-18 SBs) are the spark plugs of the offense which has hit 29 home runs and is 54 for 56 on stolen bases under first-year head coach Shelly Hoerner. In the circle, Kylie Kleinschmidt has thrown 121.2 innings - the most on the team - and is 12-7 with a 2.01 ERA and 123 strikeouts. Kanani Cabrales is a dual threat, hitting .400 and has thrown 76.0 innings with a 7-5 record and a 5.25 ERA with 340 strikeouts.
The Hokies (19-16, 8-6 ACC) are coming off a mid-week sweep at the hands of JMU but swept a three-game series at home against Boston College last weekend. Junior Kylie McGoldrick is leading the way offensively with a .376 average and a team-leading eight home runs. Her 23 home runs are already the third-most in program history. Freshman Gonzalez is still hitting .344 with eight doubles and a team-leading 26 walks. Tech as a team has a .272 batting average with 34 home runs.
Georgia Tech leads the series 21-15, but the Hokies won the series last year in Blacksburg, 2-1. The Hokies are just 1-5 against Georgia Tech at Mewborn Field and are 1-6 overall after dropping their lone game there at the 2010 ACC Tournament (Florida State).
In the latest NCAA RPI standings that came out on Monday (before either team’s mid-week games), the Hokies were ranked 28th with the seventh-toughest schedule played while the Yellow Jackets were 71st with the 132nd-toughest schedule played.
Following the series with Georgia Tech, the Hokies return home to host Pittsburgh (12-15, 3-5 ACC, 127 RPI) on Wednesday in a mid-week doubleheader, followed by a home three-game series against the University of Virginia (4-29, 1-13 ACC, 224 RPI).
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