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Formerly No. 11 Virginia Tech Baseball Swept By Preseason No. 1 Wake Forest

Wyatt Parliament 1 VT WF 2024 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Ryan Duvall | @RyanGDuvall
Writer/Baseball Beat Reporter

Coming into the weekend, the No. 16 Virginia Tech Hokies were off to a stellar start to begin the 2024 campaign.

At 10-2 in conference games, the Hokies sat atop the Coastal Division of the ACC for the first four weeks of conference play, having won each series they played to start the season.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons came into 2024 as the preseason number one team in the country, per D1Baseball.

And relatively speaking, the Demon Deacons had underperformed to start the year. Dropping three-of-four ACC series, including a sweep by the No. 13 North Carolina just a week ago, Wake came into an April series against Tech looking to dominate.

And that they did, as the No. 14 Demon Deacons (21-10, 7-8 ACC), led by 15 strikeouts from Chase Burns on Friday night, two more solid starting performances on the bump from Josh Hartle and Michael Massey, and a three homer day from slugging first baseman Nick Kurtz on Sunday, swept the formerly No. 11 Hokies (21-8, 10-5 ACC).

The sweep at home was the Hokies' first series loss of the season. Seventh year skipper, John Szefc, explained just how hard it is to consistently win in the ACC - one of the top two leagues in the country, following a 6-3 loss in Saturday’s game two.

“This league’s tough man,” said Szefc. “It’s a bear. I mean those guys [Wake Forest] got swept at home last weekend, I mean they’re clearly, clearly a very good team…it’s just very up and down…there’s never a game that you can look past.”

For Virginia Tech, it was a very tough series offensively, with the Hokies only hitting one home run, a grand slam via Eddie Micheletti Jr., on Friday.

In total, Tech scored just 12 runs between the three game weekend series, it’s lowest total output in a series to date, this season.

“We were bad, pathetic,” said Szefc in regards to the bats this weekend.

Some standout performances from the weekend came via starter Wyatt Parliament and reliever Grant Manning on Saturday night.

Parliament, a RHP from Rutgers, went 4.2 innings in game two, with his only real inning of struggle coming in the top of the second.

In the inning, Parliament allowed two baserunners to start the inning, before Wake Forest third baseman Seaver King hit a fly ball that just got over the right field wall, bringing home three runs via a homer for the Demon Deacons.

Parliament rallied with three straight outs, including two punchouts. The six-foot-four New York native ended his day with a line of 76 pitches, three earned runs, four hits, a walk, and six strikeouts prior to being pulled with two outs in the top of the fifth.

“Definitley got punched in the face there a little bit,” Parliament said in regards to the struggles in the top of the second. “Definitley can’t shy away from the challenge, it’s a long game, so one at bat, one inning, you can’t let it get to you.”

In relief on Saturday, Manning, a six-foot-six grad transfer from Chapman tossed four innings, getting five batters down on strikes while allowing just two hits and a run.

Manning tossed arguably his best outing of the season on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough, as the Hokies just couldnt get it done at the dish this weekend.

Virginia Tech, who dropped five spots in the national rankings, from 11 to 16, will host Liberty at home on Wednesday for a midweek, before heading on the road to face Georgia Tech (19-11, 5-7 ACC).

The Hokies are a game behind UNC for the Coastal lead, with a series between the two coming in three weeks.

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