BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech softball team will take its nine-game overall winning streak and 11-game ACC winning streak to College Park this weekend for a pivotal three-game set with the University of Maryland. The two teams will play the doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and the single game on Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games will take place at Taylor Stadium, located adjacent to the Comcast Center.
The Hokies will enter as winners of nine-straight games after Wednesday’s 11-0 win over Liberty and have won 11 consecutive ACC games, the longest ACC streak in program history. Tech has swept Boston College (3), Georgia Tech (3), Pitt (2) and Virginia (3) during the streak. The longest conference winning streak in program history is 14, set during the 1999 season.
Maryland enters the weekend at 5-30 overall and 3-11 in the ACC, but has won two games in a row. Shannon Bustillos leads the offense with a .323 average while Amanda McCann is hitting .308 and Candice Beards checks in with a .301 average. The Terps hit .251 as a team with 13 home runs, three of which came Wednesday in a run-rule win over Delaware State.
Five pitchers have seen action in the circle, but Kaitlyn Schmeiser and Brenna Nation have pitched the most. Schmeiser is 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 96.0 innings while Nation is 0-13 with a 6.49 ERA in 69.1 innings. Maryland’s staff has an ERA of 6.69.
Tech is currently hitting .286 with five players batting over .300. Kylie McGoldrick leads the way with a .352 average and eight home runs while Vanessa Gonzalez (.345) and Logan Spaw (.333) are right on her heels. Katey Smith (.312) and Lauren Gaskill (.304) are also over .300 while Amanda Ake leads the team in home runs with nine. Tech already has 47 home runs, coming from 12 different players, setting a new program record for home runs in a season.
The series is a big one for both teams as the Hokies look to possibly rise to as high as second in the conference and make the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. Tech is currently third at 16-6 in the league and has a series at sixth-place Syracuse (10-8; .556) left next weekend to complete conference play. With seeding done by conference winning percentage, the Hokies (.727) are just behind NC State (12-4; .750), which has three games at home against eighth-place Boston College (7-10; .412), two at fourth-place Notre Dame (6-4; .600) and three at home against fifth-place North Carolina (13-9; .591) left.
Maryland sits at 3-11 (.214) in the ACC with a series at No. 24 Notre Dame and a home set against ninth-place Pitt (4-14; .222) left to try and make the eight-team conference tournament that it will be hosting. With 11 teams in the league this season, the last three will be left out. If the season ended today, those three would be Pitt, Maryland and Virginia. Florida State sits in first place with an 18-3 (.857) conference record. You can find the updated standings here.
In the latest NCAA adjusted RPI standings, Tech is ranked 38th while Maryland is ranked 165th.
Maryland leads the overall series 19-17, but the Hokies have won six of the last eight. The last time the two met in College Park, Tech swept Maryland in 2012.
Live stats for all three games can be found here.
There is no scheduled online or television broadcast for any of the three games.
For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter Follow @VT_Softball