Following a much needed series win over the top 10 Virginia Cavaliers, the Virginia Tech Hokies baseball team traveled to Durham to face off against the Duke Blue Devils, who came into the weekend sitting at 6-6 in conference play, while the Hokies entered 4-8.
Unfortunately for both teams, mother nature brought bad weather to the Easter weekend clash, with rain postponing Friday's game to Sunday and cancelling Saturday's game leaving a Sunday doubleheader.
And on Easter Sunday, Virginia Tech (18-11, 5-9) and Duke (20-11, 7-7) were evenly matched, splitting the doubleheader.
Game one began at 1 pm, with Griffin Green making an atypical Sunday start due to the conditions this weekend. Green went a season high 107 pitches for the Hokies, despite picking up his second loss of the season in a 3-1 result.
All three of the Blue Devils' runs came in the second inning, before Green settled in, and shut Duke down for four of his 5.2 innings pitched. The junior out of Massachusetts posted a final line of three earned runs, six hits, six walks, and three strikeouts. To allow just the three spot in the second was pretty impressive given the fact that Green gave Duke 12 base runners.
Henry Weycker came in to relieve Green, going the remaining 2.1 innings, striking out two while giving up just two walks. Weycker has been impressive out of the bullpen for Tech thus far in 2023, with a record of 3-1 and a 2.76 ERA in eight games.
At the dish, game one of the doubleheader left a lot to be desired, as the Hokies were only able to notch two hits with Duke’s Alex Pow tossing five hitless as he picked up win number three of 2023.
Game two kicked off after a quick 45-minute break, and the Hokies showed out in an impressive 5-2 victory.
By the seventh inning, Tech led 5-0, with Garrett Michel, Carson DeMartini, Jack Hurley, and Chris Cannizzaro providing the run support. Tech only hit one homer between the two games, and it came via DeMartini who launched an opposite field shot to score two in the third inning.
The story of game two would be one of Tech’s Preseason All-Americans, Drue Hackenberg. The sophomore RHP had struggled coming into the series, but delivered a career performance on Sunday.
Hackenberg threw 114 pitches in eight innings pitched striking out a career-high 11 while allowing just two hits. Hackenberg also earned his second win of the year, bringing his record to 2-4, and lowering his ERA to 5.36.
Brady Kirtner came in to throw the ninth inning, allowing just a run.
When you look at the pitching stats from the doubleheader, it must be pretty nice for John Szefc and company to throw two relievers between two games, which haven’t been super healthy halfway through 2023.
The fact that both starters threw over 100 pitches also shows where Virginia Tech stands at this point as last place in the Coastal forces you to let your guys go out and perform, and not be as concerned about early season load management.
The Hokies will play host to Liberty in a return to midweek action on Tuesday at 7 pm. Following the one off, VT will host the other Tech, as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets come to Blacksburg with both teams needing a series win for postseason position.