Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
After one of the biggest turnarounds in all of the nation, the Virginia Tech softball team is looking to return to the top of ACC.
Four Hokies were named to the 2020 preseason All-ACC team: IF Jayme Bailey, IF Kelsey Bennett, OF Darby Trull and P Keely Rochard.
All four players return from last season’s 47-11 record which soared to the top of ACC, clinching the number one seed for the 2019 ACC Tournament.
Sophomore Jayme Bailey started 55 games during her freshman season with the Hokies. She led the team in on base percentage (.496%), and also recorded 13 doubles and tallied 26 BBs, which was tied for the most out of all the Hokies last season.
Sophomore Kelsey Bennett recorded the most starts for the Hokies during her freshman season with 58 appearances. She had the highest slugging percentage on the team (.725%) and the best on base plus slugging percentage (1.180%). She also recorded the second-most home runs out of all Hokies (14).
Junior Darby Trull had the best production for the Hokies last season with her 54 starts, leading the team in batting average (.406%). She also recorded the second highest on-base percentage (.482%) and third on the team with runs (46).
Junior Keely Rochard saw an incredible amount of improvement in her game between her freshman and sophomore season, where she broke the school record in winning percentage (.880%). She also led all pitchers in WHIP (0.86), strikeouts (193) and held opponents to the worse opposing batting average (.169%)
Last season, the Hokies led the ACC in batting average (.334%) and second in most hitting statistics including runs (395), hits (515), home runs (97), RBIs (368), slugging (.598%), and on base percentage (.417%).
In the pitching department, the Hokies led the ACC in the least amount of hits allowed (293), shutouts (22), the least amount of earned runs allowed (104), and the least amount of home runs allowed (20).
They finished second in multiple pitching categories including ERA (1.98), W-L record (47-11), runs allowed (149), BB (108), strikeouts (359), and opposing batting average (.212%).
With a majority of the key pieces of the 2019 season returning for the 2020 season, it’s no surprise that the Hokies will be in contention to repeat the same results.
The Hokies fell second behind the Florida State Seminoles in the 2020 Preseason ACC Coaches Poll on January 29th with 123 votes which included two first place votes.
After suffering a tough loss in the ACC Tournament to North Carolina State, the Hokies are hoping to put up similar results as in the 2019 regular season, but are able to close the season off more successfully under Pete D’Amour in his second season with the team.
The Hokies’ season will get underway at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic down at Conway, South Carolina on February 7th; while their first home game will come on March 13th.