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Spring sports are in full swing at Virginia Tech. Some programs find themselves trying to gain traction in the ACC, while others have a chance to do good things. The Hokies aren’t likely to pick up a lot of points in the Directors’ Cup from spring sports, but they do have a chance to be successful in a few.
Virginia Tech is currently ranked fourth in the ACC in softball. The Hokies are 31-13 overall and boast an 8-6 record in ACC play. They have a one-game lead on fifth place Florida State, and are within striking distance of Georgia Tech and NC State, who are both 10-5 in conference play.
As they did last year, the Hokies are riding the arm of talented sophomore pitcher Angela Tincher. Tincher has a 19-6 record with a 0.84 ERA and averages 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings, which ranks second in the NCAA. Scot Thomas’ team appears to have a good chance at making their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
Last season the Hokies finished 44-25 overall but were only 4-13 in ACC play. But they advanced to the finals of the ACC tournament and earned a bid to the NCAAs. Virginia Tech is currently #21 in the softball RPI. That ranking is good for second in the ACC, behind only North Carolina, who is ranked at #14.
As good as the Hokies are this year, they have a chance to be even better in the future. Five freshmen and three sophomores started in Tech’s latest win over East Tennessee State. They hit the field again once again on Friday afternoon at Tech Softball Park, where they will host a three-game series with Florida State. The series will be critical in determining where the Hokies finish in the ACC.
Track and Field
The Virginia Tech men’s track and field team is ranked 10th in the nation in the latest Trackwire 25 power rankings. The Hokies boast a talented team and are projected to score 23 points in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The Hokies are led by senior hammer thrower Spyridon Jullien. The Athens, Greece native has won national championships in the hammer throw and weight throw. However he will be challenged by his own teammate this year. Freshman Mohsen Anani was ACC Performer of the Week earlier in the season for his performance in the hammer throw, and he actually managed to knock off Jullien in the ACC Championship on Thursday. Anani won the ACC in the hammer throw, Jullien finished second, and freshman Matej Muza finished fourth.
After one day at the ACC Championships, the men’s track and field team is tied for first place with UNC with 28 points. The Tech women’s track and field team is also tied for first after one day of action. They sit atop the standings with the Florida State Seminoles. Both teams have scored 17 points.
The women’s team has also had some standouts in the ACC Championships. Jennifer Wade and Abbey McGrath finished fourth and fifth respectively in the women’s pole vault. Kim Johnston finished 12th.
Kristen Callan finished second in the hammer throw, and Saskia Triesscheijn won the heptathlon event. Gunild Kreb also placed fourth in the heptathlon.
The ACC Championships will end on Saturday, April 22. NCAA Regionals begin on May 26.
Unfortunately, not all of Virginia Tech’s sports are faring as well as softball and track and field. The baseball team is currently 16-22 overall and 2-16 in ACC play. They sit in last place in the Coastal Division and last place overall in the ACC.
A simple look at the statistics will help you understand why the Hammerin’ Hokies are having such a poor season. They rank near the bottom of the ACC in nearly every major statistical category.
The Hokies are 10th in batting average (.276), ninth in slugging percentage (.404), eighth in on-base percentage (.375), ninth in runs score (234), 11th in hits (370) and have the third-most strikeouts (285). Pitching statistics aren’t much better. Team ERA ranks 11th (6.33), opponents’ batting average is 11th (.317), batters struck out ranks 11th (229), 11th in hits allowed (440), 11th in runs allowed (297), and 12th in walks (173). Virginia Tech pitchers also lead the ACC in wild pitches with 36.
Baseball is one of the few sports, and maybe the only sport at Virginia Tech that ACC entrance has not helped. Virginia Tech’s baseball facilities lag way behind the rest of the ACC, making it difficult to recruit against other ACC programs.
The women’s lacrosse team has also been struggling. Their struggles are understandable because the ACC is a very tough lacrosse league. Through two seasons in the ACC, the Hokies have not won a single conference match. They will begin the ACC tournament on April 27.
The ACC is a very tough league in which to build a program. Four ACC teams are ranked among the top six teams in the nation in the power rankings. Maryland, for example, is 10-5 overall but just 1-3 in the ACC, yet is ranked sixth in the nation. The Hokies’ lacrosse team can slowly get better, but it will take time against this kind of competition.
We'll return next week
with an update on the sports listed here, plus information on the tennis and
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