The first day of spring has come and gone and Blacksburg seems to have missed the memo. In writing this latest edition of the Hokies baseball notebook, the weather on Virginia Tech’s campus has caused VT’s scheduled game against Marshall to be postponed, but more on that later. First, let’s get in to this past weekend’s series against Georgia Tech.
Virginia Tech Goes 1-2 against GT
VT Drops the Series Opener to GT
Tech played its second ACC series of the season at Georgia Tech this past weekend. The Hokies sent Connor Coward to the mound in Friday night’s game and the senior had one of his worst outings of the season, pitching 5.1 innings while giving up 10 runs on 11 hits. Coward had previously been dominant on the mound, posting career-highs in strikeouts, but he only fanned four batters in Friday’s game.
The Hokies offense was performing well, scoring eight runs against the Yellow Jackets, but Georgia Tech countered with 16 runs to win the game. Tom Stoffel went 2-for-5 in Friday’s game, scoring three runs and driving in another. Nick Owens went 2-for-3, scoring two runs in the contest.
VT Evens the Series With GT
Saturday’s game had a better outcome for the Hokies as they won 10-8. Georgia Tech scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Hokies’ lead was too much for the Yellow Jackets to overcome.
Ian Seymour pitched 4.1 innings for the Hokies on Saturday, giving up just two runs on four hits. Seymour struck out six batters in his time on the mound.
Andrew McDonald picked up the win for Virginia Tech, pitching four innings and giving up six runs on eight hits. Nic Enright was credited with the save, pitching 0.2 innings and allowing no runs or hits.
Nick Owens had another good day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored. JD Mundy went 2-for-4 including a home run in the top of the fifth inning.
Georgia Tech Takes the Series over Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech won the rubber match of this series 10-6 on Sunday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets scored all of their runs in the first four innings. The Hokies scored one run in the top of the first and five more in the top of the seventh, but the late rally was not enough to overcome the deficit.
Stoffel went 1-for-4 with two runs scored in the game. Nick Menken had the only multi-hit game for the Hokies, going 2-for-5, but he was not able to score either time.
Virginia Tech sent Luke Scherzer to the mound, but he exited after just one inning, giving up two earned runs on four hits. Joey Sullivan tossed five innings on the mound, giving up three runs on eight hits. Dylan Hall, Hayden Heflin, Graham Setiz, and Nic Enright also made appearances for the Hokies in game three.
Hokies Lack Defense Against GT
Throughout the early part of the season, Virginia Tech’s defense and pitching has been improving. Head coach John Szefc has spoken on how important defense is and how it is easier to win games with lower scores. This weekend’s series against Georgia Tech did not fit in with that philosophy.
The Hokies gave up 34 runs to the Yellow Jackets in three games. The team ERA, which has fluctuated this season, currently sits at 5.60. The Hokies committed five errors in the series against GT.
Georgia Tech does have one of the best offensive teams in DI baseball right now, but the Hokies are going to have to get their defense back in order if they want to win going forward.
While the defense wasn’t quite there in this past series, the offense was above average for the Hokies. Virginia Tech scored 25 runs in the three games against Georgia Tech. The Hokies combined for 37 hits throughout the weekend. That averages out to about 12 hits per game, three higher than the season average of nine hits per game. A team playing this well offensively should be winning games, but until the defense gets better, it’ll be a rocky road.
VT Near the Top in K/9 ratio
Although the pitching wasn’t great this weekend, the Hokies rank 37th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings with 9.7. Only six ACC teams rank higher, with in-state rival Virginia ranking fifth.
Connor Coward leads the team with 40 strikeouts on the season and is averaging 1.2 strikeouts per inning. Coward is followed by Ian Seymour, who has 36 strikeouts on the season in 28.2 innings pitched.
Weather Getting in the Way
The Hokies were scheduled to play a midweek game against Bryant last Wednesday, but it was canceled due to weather conditions. The game will not be made up.
The team faced the same problem this week when its game against Marshall was postponed due to the impending snow. The Marshall game will be made up on Tuesday April 10th at 6 p.m. English Field, with a trip to Charleston, WV to face Marshall the following day previously scheduled.
The Hokies head up to Chestnut Hill this weekend for a series against Boston College. The Eagles are 7-11 overall and just 2-4 in ACC play this season. BC’s pitching staff brings an ERA of 6.11 into this weekend’s matchup. They’re batting just .266 on the season.
The Hokies own the all-time series against Boston College 24-17 and swept the Eagles last year in Blacksburg.
This weekend’s series will start on Friday afternoon with first pitch set for 4 p.m.