Sep 7, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies mascot is lifted in the stands during the first quarter of the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Western Carolina Catamounts at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies softball team didn’t have the best start to the season but the Hokies stepped up their games when it mattered and this team started to go on a hot streak. That hot streak continued into the ACC Tournament when the Hokies made a run to the semifinals where they were eliminated by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The loss was disappointing but the run that they went on put them in the position they needed to get in to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament which is what they got.
Now, the Hokies open their NCAA Tournament in the Knoxville Regional hosted by the 10th seeded team nationally, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The Hokies will face Lipscomb in the first round with the Hokies being the 3 seed and Lipscomb being the 2 seed in this regional. For those who don’t know much about the bracket for the NCAA Softball Tournament, the regional is a double-elimination bracket so if the Hokies were to lose, they would get another chance to get a win and keep on going. Now, let’s take a look at the top contributors for the Hokies.
The Hokies are led by redshirt sophomore catcher Katey Smith who is the leading run producer for the Hokies with 49 RBIs to go along with being second on the team in home runs with 9. Smith also has a .319 batting average and has been impressive defensively behind the plate with only 1 error all season. The other key power hitter for the Hokies is senior outfielder Amanda Ake who has 37 RBIs and leads the Hokies in home runs with 11. The Hokies also have second baseman Kylie McGoldrick who has 8 home runs, 24 RBIs, and leads the Hokies with a .346 batting average and a .449 on-base percentage.
Junior shortstop Lauren Gaskill might have 14 errors but overall, here .927 fielding percentage isn’t too bad and what she can do offensively makes her slightly below-average defense not so bad. Gaskill leads the Hokies with 16 stolen bases and gets on-base a lot to get those opportunities witha .327 batting average and a .423 on-base percentage. Freshman outfielder Vanessa Gonzalez has been impressive this year with a .342 batting average, 8 home runs, 31 RBIs, and only 2 errors.
The Virginia Tech Hokies’ pitching staff is mainly only two pitchers but that is the way softball and the Hokies’ duo is very good and will be critical in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore Maggie Taylor has been very good with a 15-8 record, 19 complete games, 5 shutouts, and a 3.09 ERA. Fellow sophomore Kelly Heinz has also done fairly well for the Hokies with a 20-13 record, 14 complete games, 4 shutouts, a 3.49 ERA and an opposing batting average of .248 which is better than the solid .268 for Taylor. The Hokies are ready to make a run in the NCAA Tournament and definitely have the talent to do it.
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