Hokies continue ACC play this weekend at Pitt

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BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech softball team returns to ACC play this weekend at Pitt as the Hokies (15-21, 5-10 ACC) and Panthers (18-16, 1-11 ACC) kick off a three-game series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. The twin bill and Sunday’s series finale will be streamed on WatchESPN via ACC Network EXTRA.

In their last ACC series, Virginia Tech took two out of three from Georgia Tech at Tech Softball Park. The series win over the Yellow Jackets helped the Hokies remain among the top eight teams in the ACC with three conference series remaining. The top eight in the league standings clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament in May.

Tech has dominated the all-time series with Pitt dating back to the days when both programs were in the BIG EAST. The Hokies have won four of the last five meetings, including a three game sweep of the Panther last season at Tech Softball Park. Pitt’s last win in the series came on April 19, 2015, a 6-5 win that avoided a sweep.

INJURY BUG BITES THE HOKIES
• Heading into the second half of the 2017 season, Virginia Tech is starting to feel the effects of injuries to two starters and a starting pitcher.
• Sophomore Caitlyn Nolan - the Hokies’ shortstop and arguably their best defensive player who was hitting .234 with six doubles - suffered a season ending knee injury last week in the series finale against Georgia Tech.
• With Nolan out, freshman Taylor Clark will assume the starting job at shortstop.
• Redshirt sophomore Chelsea Whitcomb continues to deal with a right hand injury that has limited her playing time the last two weeks. Her last six appearances since the injury have come as a pinch runner.
• Whitcomb, who was hitting .260 with three home runs and eight RBI at the time of her injury, had started in 18 of Tech’s 21 games at third base and in the pitcher’s circle.
• Nolan and Whitcomb join junior pitcher Mikaela Aiken, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in February, on the list of Hokies that are out indefinitely.

CARRIE AT THE PLATE
• With injuries impacting the Virginia Tech lineup, freshman pitcher Carrie Eberle has been asked to hit and is stepping up to the challenge.
• In 12 career plate appearances, she has gotten on base eight times (five walks, three base hits).
• Eberle is currently hitting .429 (3-for-7) with two RBI, a run scored and a .667 on-base percentage.

RICHARDSON NAMED ACC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Junior Aysha Richardson was named ACC Player of the Week after hitting .667 (8-for-12) and allowing only three hits in 6.1 innings of work in the circle in a series victory over Georgia Tech last weekend.
• Richardson registered three multi-hit games hitting out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup and crossed the plate three times while also driving in two runs.

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