February 11, 2016
Tech softball opens 2016 at USF Tournament
The Hokies will compete Friday through Sunday in Tampa

Friday: 4:30 p.m. at USF

Saturday: 9:30 a.m. vs. South Carolina // 2:15 p.m. vs. Illinois State

Sunday: 9 a.m. vs. No. 2 Michigan // 1:30 p.m. vs. No. 1 Florida

Links: Live stats // Game notes

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Hokies begin the 2016 season in Tampa, Florida at the USF-DeMarini Wilson Tournament, beginning Friday through Sunday. The Hokies will take on three 2015 NCAA Tournament teams throughout the five-game tournament.

The Hokies begin competition on Friday at 4:30 p.m. against host team, USF. Tech will resume against South Carolina on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. followed by Illinois State at 2:15 p.m. The squad will complete opening weekend with No. 2 Michigan at 9 a.m. followed by No. 1 Florida at 1:30 p.m.

The young Virginia Tech squad is led by four veteran seniors, including redshirt seniors Kelsey Mericka and Katey Smith. Maggie Tyler and Kiara Ota round out the group of four who will guide the young squad, consisting of 15 freshmen and sophomores.

Tech returns 2015 NFCA all-region honoree Breanna Davenport as well as 2014 honorees Katey Smith and Vanessa Gonzalez. Davenport led the Hokies in hitting percentage last season in addition to tying the second-most hits with 52.

Tyler and Mikaela Aiken accounted for 22 of Tech’s 34 wins in 2015 in addition to 279 strikeouts between the pair. Redshirt freshman Chelsea Whitcomb will also be added into the pitching rotation this season.

The Hokies went 34-23 overall record and 9-14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2015. Tech concluded its 15th winning season at the NCAA Regionals in Knoxville, Tennessee in May.

Head coach Scot Thomas enters his 21st season at the helm with pitching coach Angela Tincher O’Brien in her third and hitting and first base coach Justin Miller in his second.

Tech vs. USF: The Hokies trail the all-time series against the Bulls, 1-3. Red-shirt seniors Mericka and Smith were freshmen in the most recent match up in 2012.

Tech vs. South Carolina: The Hokies lead the series against the Gamecocks, 6-5. Most recently, Tech and USC split a doubleheader in 2007 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Tech vs. Illinois State: Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between the Hokies and Redbirds.

Tech vs. No. 2 Michigan: The Wolverines lead the series against the Hokies, 5-4 since first meeting in 1999. Tech defeated Michigan on March 14, 2013 with Mericka starting at third.

Tech vs. No. 1 Florida: The Hokies are looking for their first win against the Gators since their first meeting in 1999. The last meeting between the two was at the 2008 Women’s College World Series.

Virginia Tech will return to Florida next weekend for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Tallahassee. The Hokies will face Michigan and Minnesota twice beginning on Friday through Sunday.

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