Hokies set to face Longwood on Tuesday

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech softball team returns to Tech Softball Park on Tuesday as the Hokies open a four-game homestand with Longwood at 7 p.m. Live stats will be available on HokieSports.com.

For Military Appreciation Night, all military and Corp of Cadets members will receive free Mission BBQ while supplies lasts. “Skipper” the cannon will also make an appearance at Tech Softball Park and will be fired after the playing of the National Anthem.

The Hokies (15-24, 5-13 ACC) are battling multiple injuries and are looking to get back on the winning path after dropping three games at Pitt last weekend. Because of injuries, Sunday’s series finale with the Panthers saw senior Elizabeth Birle register her first career start in the pitcher’s circle, junior Whitney Saunders start at third base for the first time this season and junior Jessie Mehr make her first appearance at shortstop since her freshman year.

Despite the recent struggles, the Hokies still have one of the best offenses in the ACC and in the country. Tech’s tied for seventh in Division I and tied for second in the conference with 44 team home runs. They also rank in the top 25 nationally in slugging percentage (.496), doubles per game (1.62) and home runs per game (1.13).

The Hokies trail the all-time series, 10-11, and have lost their last three meetings with the Lancers. Longwood took both games in a doubleheader last season in Farmville on April 13.

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.
• Senior Vanessa Gonzalez, who leads the Hokies this season with 10 home runs, missed the Pitt series due to an injury.
• 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 in the series finale against Georgia Tech.
• 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.
• Nolan and Whitcomb join junior pitcher Mikaela Aiken, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in February, on the list of Hokies on the list of that are out indefinitely.

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