BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Tech softball team will take the field in Pittsburgh Thursday to begin its run in the ACC tournament. And the Hokies are poised to make a deep run in the postseason with some added depth in the pitching circle.

A year ago, the weight of Virginia Tech’s pitching success was on Keely Rochard.

“She’s probably the best person I’ve ever seen handle pressure like that so I think learning from her and staying level headed thru anything that gets thrown at me, I think that’s one big thing that I’ve learned,” freshman pitcher Emma Lemley said.

Now some of that pressure has been alleviated with help from Lemley, named the ACC Freshman of the Year.

“It helps a lot. It helps to have people behind you. You don’t feel so much pressure,” Rochard said. “We just support each other that is what makes our staff as a whole really good.”

Named the ACC’s Pitcher of the Year, Rochard took the Jefferson Forest grad under her wing this season. With the senior’s guidance, the duo is providing the Hokies with two strong arms from the circle heading into the postseason.

“She’s been a big mentor for all of our pitchers,” head coach Pete D’Amour said. “I don’t know what she says to them behind the scenes and bullpens because I’m not down there a lot but I know that our kids are watching her and how she prepares and how she goes about playing and that just helps everybody. And now just our pitchers either. Everybody feeds off of her.”

Now the number two team in the country looks to win three games in three days in Pittsburgh in a single elimination format at the ACC tournament.

“There’s an added pressure this week that hopefully helps us for next week and the week after. It just feels different in postseason,” D’Amour, the ACC’s Coach of the Year, said.

The Hokies, who are trying to add a conference title to an already impressive resume, will begin the tournament with a match-up against Syracuse in the quarterfinals on Thursday morning.