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2024 Softball Preview & Tiger Invitational Roundup

By Sam Jessee | February 14
Softball 2 9 24

2024 Season Preview

As the warm weather returns to Blacksburg this Spring, so does the excitement of Hokies Softball.

With that excitement are lofty expectations and some unfinished business. The Hokies, now ranked #16 by, came into the season ranked in the top 25, a familiar spot for this program under head coach Pete D'Amour. After finishing 36-17 in the regular season in 2023, the team went 3-3 in postseason play, which included the ACC Championship against Louisville and Florida State, and two games each against Boston University and Georgia in the Athens Regional Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies would get eliminated by Georgia in the round’s finale after a heartbreaking 12-3 loss through six innings.

But with the new season comes new opportunities for the Hokies, and a chance to get back to the highly-anticipated NCAA Tournament at the end of May. 2B Cameron Fagan and OF Emma Ritter head the Blacksburg squad in their senior seasons as both were named to the 2024 Preseason All-ACC Team. To add onto that, utility player Bre Peck enters the 2024 season after leading the team in Slugging Percentage (.753), Doubles (14), and Home Runs (16). The core of Fagan, Ritter, and Peck is something to look forward to this season not only for the program but also for Hokie fans.

Looking ahead at Virginia Tech’s schedule, the season does show some promise for the team’s return to postseason play. After starting the season with a handful of non-conference games across the country, against teams like Cal and Arizona State, the Hokies will finally hold their home opener against Elon on February 21. Then, the Hokies make their return to Athens since last year’s tournament exit to take on Georgia, as well as Radford and Dartmouth.

When the team returns back to Blacksburg is when they’ll kick off ACC play, as they take on Notre Dame to start the month of March. The ACC slate that follows has a lot of winnable series matchups throughout the season against teams like Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Boston College to name a few. Let’s also not forget the always anticipated Commonwealth Clash against UVA, the first game of the two game series being in Charlottesville on April 16, and the second in Blacksburg a week later on the 23rd.

The Hokies will definitely have their work cut out for them this season in their pursuit of an NCAA Tournament berth. Notre Dame and Louisville will be a test to see if Tech still has their spark from last season.

The end of March will also bring a challenge, as the Hokies have back-to-back series contests against Alabama (March 22-23) and Duke (March 28-30). Both Alabama and Duke advanced to the Super Regionals in last year’s NCAA Tournament, with Alabama making it to the Women’s College World Series before being eliminated. Currently, Duke is ranked #9 in the preseason rankings, and Alabama is ranked #14. Both of these matchups will show if Virginia Tech has what it takes to compete with some of the league’s top teams in 2024.

ACC SB preseaosn
2024 ACC Pre-season poll has the Hokies in a close race at the top

The Hokies enter the season ranked fourth in the ACC preseason coaches poll behind Clemson, Duke, and FSU (2023 NCAA Tournament Runner-Ups).

The trio of powerhouse contenders serves as the main obstacle for Tech winning the ACC this season, so much so that the rest of the 2024 Preseason All-ACC team is composed only of players from those teams. Regardless, the Hokies have proven in the past that they have what it takes to win.

Hokies Dominate the Tiger Invitational

Virginia Tech Softball started off strong this past weekend to begin its 2024 campaign, snagging four wins and a tie down at the Tiger Invitational in Auburn.


The Hokies opened their slate of success with two wins on Friday, stomping out Illinois 18-1 and taking down #20 Auburn 8-1. The charge against Illinois was nothing short of a team effort (per the 17 run difference), but was helped by junior Rachel Castine, who led the team with four RBIs which came off of a grand slam in the fourth inning.

Castine, along with freshman Emily Legette, came up with a home run each against Auburn. However the game for the Hokies was more a story of dominance in the circle, as sophomore Lyndsey Grein struck out 12 batters through eight innings to limit the Tigers to only one run.


Even though a new day came, the Hokies' success continued Saturday as junior Bre Peck propelled Tech to a 13-1 win over the Belmont Bruins. Peck accounted for four RBIs off of two hits (one of which was a home run) in two at bats. To accompany Peck's effort, Legette and senior Cameron Fagan both got on base in every at-bat they had, and accounted for two RBIs each.

Inclement weather took away what could have been another win for the Hokies, as Peck crushed a grand slam in the 7th inning of Tech’s second contest against Auburn. The four-run shot gave Tech a 9-5 lead before the weather interrupted the game. When the game was called, the score went back to what it was after the last full inning played, which was 5-5 at the end of the sixth. The tie came as the first of its kind in the history of Tech’s program.


The invitational concluded Sunday with a 6-5 win against Illinois. Rachel Castine continued her slugging at the plate by hitting her fourth homer of the tournament, not to be outdone by senior Emma Ritter and freshman Michelle Chatfield, who both also went yard in the game. The trio played a key role for the Hokies as they finished out the weekend, accounting for the six RBIs that gave Tech the win.

The Week Ahead

Looking ahead to Friday, the Hokies will take their talents to Arizona for a five game road trip.

To kick off this road trip, the Hokies will face the BYU Cougars at 12:30pm EST in Tempe. The two ball clubs are yet to lose this season, with the Hokies at 4-0-1, and Cougars a perfect 5-0. There’s not a ton of history between these two programs, with only two matchups against each other all-time, both occurring in 2021. So far this season, the winning recipe has been on different ends for both teams. For the Hokies, it’s heavily on the offense, averaging 10 runs scored per game. While for the Cougars, the pitching takes the headline - only averaging 2.8 runs given up per game. The past three games for BYU have consisted of two shutouts, and a 3-2 victory.

Later in the evening, the Hokies will then take on the Arizona State Sun Devils at 6:00pm EST. Due to rain cancellations, the Sun Devils only have four games under their belt, sitting at an even 2-2 record. Arizona State is yet to leave home this season, which will stay the same with the Hokies coming to their house.

With two games on Friday, the maroon and orange will get up on Saturday for two more, with their first game coming against the California Golden Bears. This time however, the games will be played 20 minutes west in Phoenix, Arizona. The Golden Bears sit at 5-1 on the season, coming off an upset win against at the time #21 Louisiana, 3-1.

Next up on the day will be the Grand Canyon Antelopes at 6:00pm EST, who after a 4-0 start, dropped to 4-1 after a loss to Boise State. Outfielder Kristin Fifield was named the WAC player of the week after slashing .429/.500/.643 in her first week this season. The No.8 ranked outfielder in America’s Top 25 Outfielders will be a player to look out for if you’re the Hokies.

To finish up their five game stretch, the Hokies will cap it off against Illinois State. The Redbirds have had a very rough start to the season, going 0-5. Aside from their most recent loss to No.18 Florida, the other four have been all close calls, losing by either by one or two runs, with two games having a final score of 1-0. Runs have been hard to come by for the Redbirds, as they have only scored six on the year.

Once the Hokies finish their stint on the road, they’ll make their anticipated return to Blacksburg and Tech Softball Park to take on Elon in their home opener on February 21.

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I'm a born and raised Hokie. My first game in Lane Stadium was in September of 1997 when Tech stomped Big East rival Syracuse 31-3. 

I was born and raised in Richmond, VA, where I developed a passion for local cooking, scenic nature, and everything Orange and Maroon. I graduated from Tech with a degree in Finance in 2019 and received my Master's in Data Analytics in 2021. I'm a certified analytics nerd with a passion for data visualization and modeling, which fuels much of my work.

I joined the Sons team in 2020, and now act as the Website Content Manager overseeing all online content and mentoring our talented tea of writers. I also co-host the Two Deep podcast with Pete B.

I currently work in Virginia Beach, VA, as a data and financial analyst for LifeNet Health, a biotech and organ transplant non-profit.

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