When the 11th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies welcome Boston College to English Field on Friday - for the first ACC series of 2023, the Eagles will face a tall task.
Taking down the ‘Hammering’ Hokies at home looks nearly impossible at the moment, as the first homestand of the season has been a good one for Tech.
The Hokies sit at 11-2 through 13 non-conference games, which may be expected, given the high expectations that hosting a regional, and super regional in 2022 bring.
However, Virginia Tech has been crushing opponents as of late (literally), as a win over UMass Lowell (2-9) on Wednesday extended the Hokies win streak to eight in a row.
So how did we get here?
It started as a gloomy Friday in Blacksburg - the opening game of the Bryant series. For those who weren’t there, Bryant’s ace Coleman Picard shut down the Tech offense, tossing twelve strikeouts on the way to an American East Pitcher of the Week award.
Following the loss, Tech HEAD coach John Szefc spoke of his disappointment in a Tech lineup that had been shut down in back-to-back series opener’s.
“Guys gotta understand how to lose together, not throw around blame…multiple reasons why we got beat there,” said the sixth year head coach.
As the win streak shows, the 2023 Virginia Tech team would rather win together, as the squad has rattled off eight in a row.
The Hokies took the remaining two games in the Bryant series with relative ease - thanks to a career best day from sophomore RHP Drue Hackenberg, who set a personal record with ten punshouts in seven innings pitched, in addition to a cycle in game three from Bucknell transfer Chris Cannizzaro, who has been on a tear since joining the Hokies.
Cannizzaro, a two-time Patriot League first teamer and reigning ACC Player of the Week currently sits atop the nation with 33 hits, posting an astounding .532 average, in addition to a team high five homers and 19 RBI’s. Safe to say he’s dominating. But he hasn’t been the only one.
With a number of Hokies leaving for the MLB after 2022, there were many holes for Szefc and company to fill. Luckily for the staff, it hasn’t taken long for a lineup to mesh together.
Transfers Eddie Eisert (NC State) and David Bryant (Radford) have been consistent starters in non-conference play so far, combining for 19 RBI’s thus far.
Szefc has also found hitting in the form of freshman infielder Garrett Michel, who has been filling in nicely at DH.
However, it was another freshman, Clay Grady, who had his coming out party on Tuesday, that the skipper raved about.
“Clay Grady has a really strong personality. Failure for Clay Grady is not an option, he will will himself to success,” said Szefc
Grady, a five-foot-nine infielder from Suffolk went 5-6, with a homer, and six RBI’s in the 22-4 win over UMass Lowell on Tuesday.
The Hokies totaled 23 hits in the victory, the most under Szefc in his tenure at Tech. Point being, the new guys can hit.
Tech is undefeated in each total series in 2023 , having rolled through Charleston (2-1), Bryant(2-1), Charlotte (3-0), and now UMass Lowell (2-0).
On Friday, Boston College will enter English Field as the toughest foe Tech has faced this year, as the Eagles sit at 9-1 on the young season, having beaten No. 2 Tennessee in a one-off 7-6 game on Tuesday.