Pitt softball clinched their first ever ACC Coastal Division championship and the number two seed in the ACC tournament as they beat Louisville in an absolute thriller by a score of 9-8 this past Friday. Finishing 16-6 in conference play, they missed out on the one seed by just three games as Florida State clinched the ACC regular season title and the one seed with a 21-3 record in conference play. Below you can take a look at what the conference tournament has shaped up like.
As you can see, Pitt gets the first round bye, as do the other top six seeds. The Panthers will get to play Virginia Tech as the Hokies beat Duke earlier today by a score of 4-0. This is actually a better matchup for the Panthers, due to two reasons. Let’s take a quick look at Virginia Tech and I will get into these reasons.
#10 Virginia Tech
|SEASON SERIES||Pitt 2-0|
REASON 1: PITCHING DEPTH
Virginia Tech’s ace Carrie Eberle has started games on back to back days only three times this season. So, this is going to be unchartered territory for her, however, it is going to be territory that she is more than likely going to have to cover. The Hokies will throw her back into the circle tomorrow due to the fact that they have absolutely no pitching depth.
After Eberle, they have two other pitchers in Keely Rochard and Jordan Dail. Rochard has a 3.03 ERA on the year which is slightly better than Dail’s 3.07 ERA this season. This is why a worn out Eberle will probably be in the circle tomorrow.
A fully rested Eberle gave up three runs and ten hits earlier this season when she faced Pitt. Today, she is going to be fresh off of 90 pitches and a complete game shutout less than 24 hours before, so as you could imagine she will probably be pretty tired.
The tiredness isn’t a huge factor because Pitt’s offense would jump all over her either way, but, it will play a factor. Especially because they could wind up forcing in a new pitcher early in the game if they can get on her early.
The truth is, any pitcher will have trouble against the Panthers’ high-powered offense, which averages exactly five runs-per-game.
The pitching storyline will certainly be one to follow closely tomorrow.
REASON 2: HOKIES HAVE A WEAK OFFENSE
Virginia Tech’s offense is less than average and it shows in basically every statistical category. The one that jumps the most out to me is the fact that Carrie Eberle has a 1.59 ERA this season, but, is somehow still 12-15. This is in large part, due to the fact that the Hokies have an offense that struggles.
This conference season Virginia Tech has put up 2.2 runs per game and as a team is batting .202. Those are some of the worst offensive stats that you could see and it has them as one of the worst offenses in the ACC.
This offense is one that doesn’t stand a chance against any Pitt pitcher. This offense put up one run in two games against the Panthers and that one run wasn’t even an earned run. Neither Sarah Dawson or Kayla Harris has given up an earned run against Virginia Tech all year long.
Put either Sarah Dawson or Kayla Harris in the circle and they won’t touch either. Honestly, if I’m Pitt, I’m probably putting Dawson out there, to save Harris for the next day. I would understand putting Harris out there though.
Pitt has won all but one conference series this year and that conference series is the one that they lost 2-1 to Florida State. They have been a hot team, that has showcased an extremely powerful offensive attack. The Panthers have three girls hitting above .300 and four girls with a slugging percentage above .400,
This has translated to great run production and it has shown as they are averaging 5 runs per game this season and 5.5 runs per game this conference season. Like I said this offensive firepower is something that the Hokies don’t have.
Due to this and the fact that I think Pitt will have a great day at the plate, I think the Panthers will come away with a big-time win.
Make sure to follow @armchairpitt on twitter for live-game updates and to check back in after the game to see the postgame comments and preview of what will hopefully be an ACC semi final game.