The No. 21-ranked softball team looks to continue its winning ways this weekend as it faces off against ACC rival North Carolina State at the Tech Softball Park.
The doubleheader on Saturday begins at noon and will be followed by a third matchup on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tech is coming off the Judi Garmen Classic in Fullerton, Calif., where the team went 3-2, including two big wins over No. 19 Arizona (9-2) and No. 14 Michigan (3-2), only falling to host Cal State Fullerton (3-7) and No. 2 Arizona State (0-11).
In its game against Arizona, Tech was able to get 11 hits and jump on the board early in the first inning, after a single by Kat Banks. Kelsey Mericka then produced a two-run home run to give the Hokies the 3-0 advantage. A lead-off home run by Lauren Gaskill and a two-run home run by Courtney Liddle gave the Hokies the final score of 9-2.
While the game against Arizona showed off Tech’s offense, the Michigan game displayed the depth of its defense. The Hokies and Wolverines were at a stalemate until the fourth inning, when Tech was able to produce a spark in their offense.
Coach Scot Thomas said a balanced attack as a whole was a key factor in the Arizona and Michigan wins.
“In the Arizona game, we got nine runs and held them to two runs, which is good, considering Arizona is a good hitting team,” Thomas said. “Michigan was the same — we out-hit them.
“We need to continue to play the solid defense that we have been playing behind the pitcher and continue to hit the ball,” Thomas said.
The Hokies cannot underestimate the Wolfpack, who are 11-13-1. NC State is coming off a four-loss weekend and will be looking to bounce back from its losing streak.
“NC State is much better than their record shows,” Thomas said.
The Wolfpack has played against top-tier opponents, including Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas last week in the same tournament that the Hokies took down Michigan and Arizona. NC State took Michigan to extra innings and limited Oklahoma to three runs in the loss.
NC State’s sophomore shortstop Renada Davis picked up two more home runs in the Wolfpack’s loss to No. 10 Texas this past weekend. With the pair of home runs, she has increased her ACC-leading total to 12 for the season.