Virginia Tech softball begins NCAA Tournament against San Diego State

The Hokies begin the NCAA Tournament Friday night against Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State at UCLA.
Mar 22, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama base runner Kinley Pate (6) slides into second with
Mar 22, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama base runner Kinley Pate (6) slides into second with / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

The Virginia Tech softball team will kick off the NCAA Tournament Friday night in the first round of the Los Angeles Regional at UCLA. In the double-elimination tournament opener, the Hokies drew Mountain West Tournament champion San Diego State. This is going to be an interesting match-up for Tech to say the least.

San Diego State relies on pitching

The Aztecs captured the Mountain West Tournament Championship last weekend by sandwiching two wins over host Boise State with a win over Nevada. San Diego State beat Boise State, 9-1 in their opener, then took down Nevada 4-1, before capping off an undefeated run through the tourney with a 6-3 win over Boise State to earn the conferenceโ€™s automatic berth.

The Aztecs are led in the circle by Dee Dee Hernandez is 10-4 with a 2.53 ERA. Offensively, San Diego State is led by Mac Barbara, who was named Mountain West Tournament MVP and has a .383 batting average and 14 home runs. In fact, they only have 21 home runs as a team compared to 113 for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech needs to find offensive production again

When Virginia Tech is rolling, they are putting up runs and that was an issue late in the season, mainly in their quick exit from the ACC Tournament with a 6-2 quarterfinal round loss to Georgia Tech. They have six players with double-digit home runs led by Cori McMillanโ€™s 20. Michelle Chatfield (19), Emma Ritter (14), Addy Greene (13), Bre Peck (13), and Cameron Fagan (10) all finished with 10 or more. They will also need to pitch better in the circle.

Going into the Regional, UCLA is the hands-down favorite as they open with Grand Canyon. If Virginia Tech is going to push the Bruins, they will need to win the opener against San Diego State and avoid going down to the losers bracket right away and trying to fight their way back the tough way. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 6 p.m.