#42 Virginia Tech Softball 2017 Preview

Virginia Tech Hokies
Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #5 ACC
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Virginia Tech had a decent 2016 season, but it was not enough to reach the NCAA Tournament. This season the Hokies success or failures will depend on replacing Maggie Tyler in the circle. Last season she went 23-18 with a 2.49 ERA and appeared in 49 of the team’s 57 games. Tyler was a workhorse and there are only a few options for Coach Scot Thomas this year. Junior Mikaela Aiken, who threw 60.0 innings last year is the most experienced option.
2016: 29-28, 13-11
2016 Postseason: None
Coach: Scot Thomas
Key Departed Players:
Maggie Tyler, P, 2.49 ERA, 242.0 IP, 245 SO
Kelsey Mericka, .244 BA, 7 HR, 30 RBI
Katey Smith, .243 BA, 0 HR, 20 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Mikaela Aiken, P, 5.25 ERA, 60.0 IP, 20 SO
Lauren Duff, C, .347 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI
Emma Strouth, OF, .271 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI
Olivia Lattin, UTL, .270 BA, 8 HR, 27 RBI
Caitlyn Nolan, SS, .266 BA, 2 HR, 27 RBI
Chelsea Whitcomb, UTL, .261 BA, 7 HR, 22 RBI
Vanessa Gonzalez, .233 BA, 3 HR, 12 RBI
Assuming a couple pitchers are ready to step up and at least do a decent job, the Hokies should be able to compete in the ACC with their balanced hitting. The Hokies hit just .255 as a team, ranking ninth in the ACC, but there are a lot of younger players who are ready to step up. Lauren Duff, Emma Strouth, Olivia Lattin, Caitlyn Nolan and Chelsea Whitcomb are all sophomores who played a big role as freshmen. If those young players can boost the team batting average by 15 points while keeping their powerful bats going, this could be a very dangerous offense.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament