When the 2017 college baseball season started, the Virginia Tech Hokies had a solid offense but a pitching rotation with lots of issues especially with a weekend pitching rotation that was struggling immensely and making it almost impossible for the Hokies to win if they didn’t get a strong offensive performance.
After a couple of weeks, Pat Mason started to make some changes to his weekend rotation and now, the Hokies are starting to put together what appears to be a solid weekend pitching rotation.
Virginia Tech started the season with Packy Naughton and Joey Sullivan at the front followed by Andrew McDonald and Nick Anderson fighting for the third spot but now, only Anderson is still in the rotation with Connor Coward going from being the midweek starter to the number 1 starting job while Kit Scheetz has moved out of the bullpen into the second spot in the rotation with Anderson third in the rotation.
Connor Coward put together a few dominant starts against midweek competition and while he hasn’t been as dominant against ACC competition, he still has been quite good and a big reason why Virginia Tech has a shot in some games when their offense is having some struggles.
Before his start against UVA, Coward has a 5-2 record in 12 appearances including 8 starts with a 2.60 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 45 innings while also having opponents only hit .220 against him and only giving up 2 home runs. After his disappointing start against UVA, his ERA jumped to 3.94 with opponents now hitting .251 against him with Coward having given up 24 walks in 48 innings but despite that, Coward has still been solid overall other than his performance against UVA.
After that, Kit Scheetz has gone from the bullpen to the rotation and while he has only made 4 starts, he has looked pretty good overall with some long relief appearances as well this season showing that Scheetz could be a capable starter with the Midlothian, Virginia native being healthy again.
So far, Scheetz has a 3-0 record in 19 appearances including 4 starts with a 3.07 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 41 innings with 16 walks which is not too bad. Scheetz has given up some hits with opponents hitting .261 against him and having 4 home runs but overall, Scheetz has been pretty good and seems to be stepping up into a weekend rotation spot.
Last year, Nick Anderson was arguably the best hitter for Virginia Tech but after getting off to a strong start on the mound, Anderson has left the designated hitter role behind to become one of the Hokies’ weekend starters with Anderson currently being the third man in the rotation.
So far, Anderson has been solid with a 5-3 record in 9 appearances including 7 starts while having 32 strikeouts and only allowing 1 home run in 44.1 innings this season. Anderson also has kept opposing hitters to a solid .247 batting average while also having only given up 18 walks so far this season which is better than Coward or Scheetz per inning.
Coward, Scheetz, and Anderson have three of the lowest five ERAs of Hokies’ pitchers which is a promising sign that Pat Mason and Virginia Tech are putting together a quality rotation but exposes some red flags about the bullpen that has only 2 relievers with an ERA below 5 including one who is one of the Hokies’ most important hitters in Tom Stoffel.
There are some concerns for the Hokies as Coward and Anderson are both in the midst of significant breakouts but you have to wonder how they’ll do as ACC competition continues though so far, they’ve both proven early in ACC play that their strong starts to the season aren’t flukes. The other concern surrounds Scheetz who has had injury issues in the past which definitely has to be somewhat of a worry for any Virginia Tech baseball fan especially with the struggles guys like Packy Naughton and Joey Sullivan have had this season.
Virginia Tech seems to finally be getting a solid weekend pitching rotation together, but the Hokies will need that rotation to stay healthy and more than just Aaron McGarity to step up in the bullpen if the Hokies want to do surprise people in the ACC and take some pressure off an offense that the Hokies are currently living and dying by.