The Virginia Tech Hokies got off to a rough start to their series with the Pittsburgh Panthers, losing the first two games on the road. However, the Hokies did receive some good news when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons lost the second game of their three-game series with the Duke Blue Devils in Durham.
The loss by Wake Forest meant that all Virginia Tech needed to do to make the 2015 ACC Tournament was to either beat Pittsburgh or have Wake Forest lose the final game of their series with Duke.
The third game of the Hokies’ series against Pittsburgh was delayed for about an hour, which meant that the Wake Forest-Duke game would finish first. This earlier start allowed Hokie Nation to know before the end of the Virginia Tech-Pittsburgh game that the Hokies would be playing in the ACC Tournament after Wake Forest suffered another loss against Duke.
However, it doesn’t seem like the Hokies recognized that they had made it into the ACC Tournament just yet. Instead of losing focus, the Hokies rallied after being down 7-6 against Pittsburgh to have a seven-run eighth inning headlined by a two-run home run from Erik Payne, which was his second home run of the game, and a grand slam from Andrew Mogg.
Luke Scherzer shut down Pittsburgh in the final two innings to help the Hokies finish off a 13-7 victory over the Panthers. This victory will make the Hokies the #9 seed in the ACC Tournament after Georgia Tech suffered a blowout loss at Miami by a score of 17-4.
After a disappointing 2014 season due to a massive group of players leaving the program for Major League Baseball, the Hokies have bounced back and shown signs of progress in Patrick Mason’s second season.
Mason and the Hokies still have some rebuilding to do as Virginia Tech will lose Erik Payne, Alex Perez, and Brendon Hayden from the middle of the batting order along with Sean Keselica from the top of the rotation. Mason has the young pitchers to replace Keselica, but replacing the Hokies’ middle of the order will definitely be a challenge with guys like Raheim Cooper and Mac Caples needing to step up in 2016.
However, the Hokies have found a way to get back to the ACC Tournament. Now, the Hokies will look to make it into the pool play part of the tournament, and try to somehow find a way to win it and book a spot in the NCAA Tournament. That might not be very realistic, but the Hokies have given themselves a chance to do just that.