Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Road to OKC: Knoxville Regional Preview

The Hokies begin their quest for the Women's College World Series this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee hosts Tech, Louisville and Winthrop May 16-18 for the right to advance to a Super Regional against the winner of the Ann Arbor Regional.

The road to Oklahoma City will be a tough one for the Hokies. Their region is full of solid teams. It will take an outstanding effort from Angela Tincher and timely hitting from the Hokies' batting order to advance out of Knoxville.

This is Tech's fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies have been bounced from the tournament before the regional's final day in each of the previous three seasons.

In 2006, the Hokies were sent to the Knoxville Regional and faced Louisville in the first round. They beat the Cards on day one, 1-0 in 12 innings. However, they lost to Tennessee and Louisville on day two by a combined score of 19-2.

Tennessee (47-14)

How they got here: The Lady Vols received an at-large bid from the SEC. They lost to Florida in the semifinals of the SEC tournament, 6-1.
Hitting: No. 12 in the nation at .317. 1B Tonya Callahan is No. 6 in the country in hitting with a .469 batting average. Callahan has 16 of their 38 home runs this season. She leads Tennessee in home runs and RBIs (61). The Lady Vols are No. 20 in the country in scoring, averaging 5.58 runs per game.
Pitching: No. 40 in the country in ERA at 2.05. The good news is Monica Abbott has graduated and moved on to Team USA. However, Tennessee still has a solid pitcher in Ashton Ward, who is 27-5, 1.94 this season.
Notes: The Lady Vols are seeking their fourth consecutive trip to Oklahoma City...they are 26-6 at home this season, 18-0 in non-conference home games.

Louisville (30-21)

How they got here: The Cards received an at-large bid out of the Big East conference. They lost to USF, 2-1, in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.
Hitting: Not ranked at .270. They are No. 77 in the country in scoring at 4.37 runs per game. Their leading hitter is C Melissa Roth at .361. She is also their biggest threat on the basepaths, successful on nine of 11 stolen base attempts. Freshman 3B Chelsea Bemis leads the Cards in RBIs with 49. No other player has more than 26.
Pitching: No. 83 in the country with a 2.61. Their ace is Kristen Wadwell at 18-13, 2.19.
Notes: 14-10 in road and neutral games...this is their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Winthrop (36-17)

How they got here: Automatic berth as the Big South champion. Beat Liberty, 6-1, in the Big South championship game.
Hitting: No. 66 in the country at .282. No. 68 in scoring with 4.44 runs per game. OF Lisa Kingsmore is No. 9 in the nation in hitting at .459. She is second on the team in RBIs with 30 behind 3B Mallory Hogan's 49.
Pitching: No. 20 in the nation with a 1.50. Sophomore Megan Evans is No. 38 in the country in ERA with a 1.32. She is 18-6 this season.
Notes: 17-12 in road and neutral games...lost to Virginia Tech, 3-0, in the championship game of the Hokies United Memorial Tournament in Botetourt, Va., Feb. 24.

Schedule (all times EDT)
Friday, May 16
Game 1 - 2:30 - Virginia Tech vs. Louisville
Game 2 - 5:00 - Tennessee vs. Winthrop
Saturday, May 17
Game 3 - Noon - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (ESPN2)
Game 4 - 2:30 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 5 - 5:00 - Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Sunday, May 18
Game 6 - 1:30 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 7 - 4:00 - Rematch of Game 6 (if necessary)

Regional Information from
NCAA Tournament Bracket
ESPN Preview

Off Topic: D3 WCWS in Salem

The D3 WCWS will be played in Salem, Va., May 16-20. Lynchburg College (39-6) has advanced to the D3 WCWS as the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Hornets will face Muskingum at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

No comments: