The Virginia Tech Hokies have had an up and down softball season that started off with the Hokies winning 13 of their first 14 games including a win over JMU. However, the Hokies have struggled over the last few weeks and had lost seven straight games before winning their regular season finale at Boston College this past Sunday.
Now, the Hokies are right on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament entering the ACC Softball Tournament. The good news for the Hokies is they get the chance to get some big wins in the comforts of Tech Softball Park.
The Hokies have a very tough matchup against North Carolina in the first round of the ACC Softball Tournament, but having the home-field advantage is a huge boost to what is an opportunity to get a victory that could put them in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hokies will definitely be inspired to do well enough in the ACC Softball Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament for seniors Kylie McGoldrick, Lauren Gaskill, Michelle Prong, Bailey Liddle, and Logan Spaw. These five have led the Hokies to plenty of success and will look to make one more run to the NCAA Tournament this season.
McGoldrick has been the position player star for the Hokies once again this season as the senior middle infielder has a .322 batting average and .469 on-base percentage with 7 home runs and 40 RBIs. McGoldrick is also 11 for 11 in stolen base attempts, and has started every single game for the Hokies this season.
McGoldrick will be critical to the success of the Hokies in this tournament and will be ready to rise to the stage to keep her final season going.
Kelsey Mericka has had a tremendous season at the plate hitting for power with 43 RBIs, and 16 home runs, which is tied for the Virginia Tech single-season record for most home runs. Mericka has also hit well for average for a cleanup hitter with a .275 batting average though her 12 walks are not that good relative to the other regular starters.
Mericka will likely seek to break the record with a 17th home run in the ACC Softball Tournament and can provide some of the power the Hokies will need to at least get past North Carolina.
Virginia Tech’s pitching staff of Kelly Heinz, Mikaela Aiken, and Maggie Tyler have been very impressive this season with a staff ERA of 2.91 and 25 complete games. Opposing hitters are also only hitting .229 against Virginia Tech pitchers, which is third-best in the ACC.
The trio of Heinz, Aiken, and Tyler will need to be on point against North Carolina, and getting to rely on what should be a strong home crowd will definitely help.
Scot Thomas has done a very good job of building Virginia Tech softball into a regular at the NCAA Tournament, and won two ACC Championships in 2007 and 2008. There has been some frustration this season with Thomas due to the success of JMU, but Thomas has done a fairly good job still, and will have his team ready to shine at home.
A loss to North Carolina will likely mean that Virginia Tech will be left out of the NCAA Tournament, but a victory over the Tar Heels will most likely put Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament. Hokie Nation will be ready to support this Virginia Tech softball team as they look to get a big win to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.