BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech softball team heads to Knoxville, Tenn., Wednesday for its third-straight, and seventh overall NCAA Tournament, this one hosted by the University of Tennessee. The third-seeded Hokies will take the diamond at 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon and will face second-seeded Lipscomb.
The double-elimination regional, which features four teams in 10th-seeded Tennessee, Lipscomb, Virginia Tech and Charleston Southern, will run Friday through Sunday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium on UT’s campus. After the Hokies and the Lady Bisons face off at 3:30 p.m., the Lady Vols will host CSU at 6 p.m. on Friday. All games of the Knoxville Regional will be available on HokiesXtra for free both on the app and on a computer. The complete tournament schedule is listed below.
After finishing strong in advancing to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, the Hokies sit with a 35-21 record, 19-9 in ACC play to finish third.
This will be Tech’s fifth appearance in this Regional as four of the six previous NCAA Tournament appearances have been in Knoxville, Tenn., while the other two were at Ohio State in 2007 when the Hokies were the No. 16 national seed, and last year in Lexington, Ky. The Hokies sport a 13-14 record in the NCAA Tournament. Below is Tech’s year-by-year results in the Big Dance.
Tech’s Kat Banks knows the Lipscomb program well as he family has deep ties to the university. Banks is Hendersonville, which is just outside of Nashville where Lipscomb is located. Her father, Alan, was an All-American basketball player at Lipscomb who was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996. Her brother, A.T., attends Lipscomb, and her sister, Alex, plays basketball for the Lady Bisons.
Tech has not played any games this season against teams from the SEC. The Hokies are 0-3 against teams from the Atlantic Sun, including a 2-1 loss to Lipscomb in February, and are 4-1 against teams from the Big South.
Tech’s lone regional win came in 2008 when it beat Tennessee at Lee Stadium in Knoxville, behind the strong arm of National Player of the Year Angela Tincher, who is now an assistant coach for the Hokies. She now goes by Angela Tincher O’Brien and she and her husband, Sean, had their first child on April 9, William Cooper O’Brien.
Charleston Southern pitcher Lauren Darden spent two years at Virginia Tech after transferring in from Mt Olive Junior College. After graduating from Tech, she is now enrolled at CSU working on her Master’s degree. She has seen action in 12 games this season, throwing 20.2 innings.
About Charleston Southern
Record: 27-31-1, 9-13 Big South
NCAA Tournament Appearances: First
NCAA Adjusted RPI: 144th
Strength of Schedule: 123rd
Non-Conference Strength of Schedule: 147th
Top-50 RPI Wins: None
• Charleston Southern heads into the Regional with a 27-31-1 record, but got in via its run through the Big South Tournament. This will be the Buccaneers first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
• The Bucs are led at the plate by Jessica Brock, who hits .320 with 11 doubles and six home runs. CSU hits just .253 as a squad with 78 doubles and 24 home runs.
• Freshman Cheyenne Gandara is the workhorse in the circle, tossing 161.2 innings with a 2.25 ERA and 152 strikeouts with an 11-11 record.
• Tech is 0-3 all-time against the Bucs, last playing them in 2011 down in Charleston.
NCAA Tournament Appearances: Second (2-2)
NCAA Adjusted RPI: 32nd
Strength of Schedule: 84th
Non-Conference Strength of Schedule: 157th
Top-50 RPI Wins: Mercer (3), UAB (2), Baylor, Stetson, Virginia Tech
• Lipscomb received an at-large bid out of the Atlantic Sun thanks to an RPI of 32nd.
• The Lady Bisons are a hard-hitting team that enter Regionals with a .298 batting average and 39 home runs. Five players hit over .300, led by Paige Neely who bats .376 with 31 RBIs. Kristen Sturdivant leads the team in home runs (9) and runs batted in (41).
• The duo of Ashley Anderson (19-6, 1.53 ERA, 179.0 IP, 121 Ks) and Tanner Sanders (11-4, 2.71 ERA, 90.1 IP, 35 Ks) help pace a pitching staff that sports a 2.29 ERA.
• The Hokies are 0-3 against the Lady Bisons, including a 2-1 loss in February of this year in Nashville when Sturdivant hit a walk-off solo home run for the win.
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 12th (55-25)
NCAA Adjusted RPI: 13th
Strength of Schedule: 32nd
Non-Conference Strength of Schedule: 140th
Top-50 RPI Wins: Florida (3), South Carolina (3), Kentucky (2), Nebraska (2), LSU, Mississippi State, USF, San Diego State, Stanford, College of Charleston
• Tennessee is the No. 10 national seed with a record of 42-10 and features a powerful lineup led by SEC Player of the Year Madison Shipman (.429, 17 HRs). Seven regular starters bat over .300 on a squad that hits .320 as a team with 70 home runs and 55 stolen bases. Annie Aldrete has 16 home runs and hit .372 while Melissa Davin has 13 home runs and hits .344.
• Ellen Renfroe sees most of the action in the circle, tossing 206.0 of the 340.2 innings played this year. She is 26-6 with a 2.07 ERA and 221 strikeouts. Rainey Gaffin (7-3, 1.17 ERA, 48.0 IP, 55 Ks) and Erin Gabriel (5-0, 2.98 ERA, 56.1 IP, 56 Ks) have also seen pitching work for the Lady Vols.
• Tech and Tennessee have met 16 times with UT leading 9-7. Six of those games have come in the NCAA Tournament (UT leads 4-2; all in Knoxville) and the other 10 came at the State Line Classic in Bristol, Tenn. (tied, 5-5) .
Knoxville Regional – May 16-18 – Lee Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
Virginia Tech (35-21)
Charleston Southern (27-31-1)
NCAA Knoxville Regional Schedule
Friday, May 16
3:30 p.m. - Game 1 Lipscomb vs Virginia Tech
6:00 p.m. - Game 2 Charleston Southern vs #10 Tennessee
Saturday, May 17
2:00 p.m. - Game 3 (winner game 1 vs winner game 2)
4:30 p.m. - Game 4 (loser game 1 vs loser game 2)
7:00 p.m. - Game 5 (loser game 3 vs winner game 4)
Sunday, May 18
2:00 p.m. - Game 6 (winner game 3 vs winner game 5)
4:30 p.m. - Game 7 (if necessary)
Available all-session bleacher-back ticket packages are on sale to the public online at UTTIX.com, over the phone at 865-656-1200 or in-person at the Tennessee ticket office. There is a limit of six tickets per customer/account. The bleacher-back all-session package is $25 and includes tickets for all three days of the Knoxville Regional.
NCAA Tournament Year-By-Year Results
Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional; 1-2 overall
vs. College of Charleston; L, 2-10 (6 Inn.)
vs. Miami University; W, 4-1
vs. College of Charleston; L, 3-6
Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional; 1-2 overall
vs. #19 Louisville; W, 1-0 (12 Inn.)
at #6 Tennessee; L, 1-9 (5 Inn.)
vs. #19 Louisville; L, 1-10 (5 Inn.)
2007; #16 Overall National Seed
Columbus (Ohio) Regional; 1-2 overall
vs. Canisius; W, 5-0
vs. #21 Ohio State; L, 1-2
vs. Cal State Fullerton; L, 0-1
Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional; 3-1 overall
vs. Louisville; W, 1-0 (10 Inn.)
at #14 Tennessee; W, 4-0
at #14 Tennessee; L, 1-7; W, 4-2
Ann Arbor (Mich.) Super Regional; 2-1 overall
at #6 Michigan; L, 0-1
at #6 Michigan (DH); W, 1-0; W, 6-1
Women’s College World Series; 0-2 overall
vs. #4 Texas A&M; L, 0-1
vs. #1 Florida; L, 0-2 (9 Inn.)
Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional; 2-2 overall
vs. UAB; W, 4-1
vs. Miami University; W, 6-0
at #5 Tennessee; L, 1-2; L, 2-10
2013; 3-2 overall
Lexington (Ky.) Regional
vs. Notre Dame; W, 4-3
at #17 Kentucky; L, 2-6
vs. Marshall; W, 4-3 (13)
at #17 Kentucky; W, 2-0; L, 0-1
Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional
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