The Virginia Tech softball team is on a tear that isn’t appropriately communicated by their overall record. The month of February was not kind to the Hokies. During the month VPI participated in three softball tournaments. They kicked it off in Tampa at the USF – Wilson DeMarini Tournament. The Hokies started off strong with a win over the USF Bulls, but were quickly bogged down with a subsequent four game losing streak to finish the tournament. Next the Hokies went fully defeated in Tallahassee during the ACC / Big Ten Challenge. The Hokies lost twice to both the No. 18 Minnesota Golden Gophers and the No. 2 Michigan Spartans. In just a week and a half the Hokies were sitting at 1-8 overall. VT wrapped up their run of February tournaments at the USC Upstate Tournament in Greenville, SC. During the Upstate Tournament the Hokies started to show life and demonstrate what they were capable off. They finished 3-2 in Greenville and Spartanburg with wins over Morehead State, USC Upstate, and Ohio. Their two losses were both at the hands of Ohio State. At the end of the three tournaments the Hokies were limping home with a disappointing 4-10 record.
The Hokies started their 2016 home effort with a win over Radford, but then went 1-4 against N.C. State and the College of Charleston. The lone win was against N.C. State during a three game series in Raleigh. It was now approaching mid-March and the women of VT Softball had found themselves in quite a hole with a 6-14 overall record. Then something happened when the Pittsburgh Panthers came calling in Blacksburg. The Hokies opened the three game series with an 8-0 shutout and carried that momentum for the entire weekend, sweeping the Panthers and kicking off an eight game winning streak that included a three game sweep over the Boston College Eagles and a near sweep over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Although the Hokies lost their last game against GT that series was a defensive clinic. The Yellow Jackets were only able to muster up one whole run in all three games, and that single score is what carried them to a 0-1 victory. The Hokies next traded a win and a loss with Liberty before ripping off a five game winning streak that included sweeps of Mercer and Hampton. The fifth win of that streak is now a piece of Hokie History.
This past Wednesday the No. 6 James Madison Dukes invaded Tech Softball Park in Blacksburg. They attacked and were subsequently bowed when the Hokies upset the Dukes, 2-1. This victory marks the highest ranking team that VPI has ever defeated at home. The previous record was from a 2008 win over then No. 11 Houston. The Hokies haven’t had a victory over a top 25 team since 2014 when they defeated No. 22 Notre Dame. In the end the Hokies fell in the second game, trading a win and a loss with the Dukes.
Leading the Hokie resurgence is freshmen, Lauren Duff, who extended her hitting streak to a whopping 18 games with a single in each match against JMU. She graduated from the same high school I did, by the way, although significantly later... Go Hawks! Anyway, Duff now sits at second, in program history, behind Kelly Brown who set the record at 24 games in a row with a hit back in 2005. Senior, Maggie Tyler, tied her single-season high for wins with 15, which she will likely eclipse as the season continues. Earlier this month she was honored as the ACC Co-Pitcher of the week for the second time this season! The women of VT Softball now boast a 20-17 overall record and have gone a respectable 9-3 in conference. Since the frustrating 4-10 start the Hokies have answered back with grit and determination, racking up 16 wins and only seven losses. During that same period, they’ve thrown five shutouts and have only allowed one team, the No. 6 JMU Dukes, to score into the double digits.
B6 | @Lauren_Duff8 extends her streak to 18 games with a single to RF!— VT Softball (@VT_Softball) April 7, 2016
There are 19 games left before the ACC Softball Championships in Raleigh. Good luck ladies! Go Hokies!