#20 Virginia Tech Softball 2020 Preview

Virginia Tech Hokies
Overall Rank: #20
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
 Virginia Tech Logo
Virginia Tech made a pretty seamless transition in year one under head coach Pete D’Amour as the Hokies won 47 games, including the ACC regular season championship. The Hokies were sent to the Lexington Regional where they lost to Kentucky in the regional final. Virginia Tech was dynamic offensively as they outscored their opponents 395-149 last season and that was a big reason why they made such a quick turnaround.
2019: 47-11, 20-4
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Pete D Amour
Key Departed Players:
Emma Strouth, OF, .404 BA, 13 HR, 68 RBI
Caitlyn Nolan, INF, .299 BA, 19 HR, 55 RBI
Carrie Eberle, P, 1.84 ERA, 25-8 W/L, 201.1 IP, 55 BB, 164 SO
Key Returning Players:
Darby Trull, OF, .406 BA, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 5 SB
Jayme Bailey, UTIL, .380 BA, 6 HR, 16 RBI
Kelsey Bennett, INF, .369 BA, 14 HR, 45 RBI
Al Velazquez, OF, .335 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBI
Mackenzie Lawter, C, 278 BA, 11 HR, 30 RBI
Maddi Banks, UTIL, .259 BA, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 13 SB
Keely Rochard, P, 1.81 ERA, 22-3 W/L, 162.2 IP, 42 BB, 193 SO
The loss of Carrie Eberle to Oklahoma State in the offseason will be an issue for Virginia Tech that they will have to address right away as she was the ACC Pitcher of the Year. Keely Rochard will see her workload increase a little bit with Eberle’s departure. Rochard was a first team All-ACC herself in 2019 as she went 22-3 with a 1.81 earned run average, 42 walks, and 193 strikeouts. Those numbers are definitely the level of an ace so Rochard should be able to buy some time for the Hokies early on in the year until a number two pitcher steps up. Darby Trull is the leading returning hitter average wise. She hit .406 last season. Kelsey Bennett and Makenzie Lawter will provide plenty of power to offset the graduation of Caitlyn Nolan. Jayme Bailey, Al Velazquez, and Maddie Banks will provide a mix of speed, and the ability to put the ball in play consistently that will lengthen a lineup that should score plenty of runs. The trip to the St. Pete/Clearwater Invite will be a good litmus test for Virginia Tech as they will play Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, and Northwestern. Look for the Hokies matchup with Oklahoma State to get a lot of attention as they will get their shot at facing Eberle in that one. Florida State visits Blacksburg in the final weekend of the regular season in a series that could decide the ACC regular season title. If the pitching can stabilize behind Rochard right away, then look for Virginia tech to win 40 plus games and get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament