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No. 13 Virginia Tech Baseball Beats Marshall 4-2 Ahead of Pittsburgh Series

Henry Cooke 1 VT Marshall 2024 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Ryan Duvall | @RyanGDuvall
Writer/Baseball Beat Reporter

The 13th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (19-4, 8-1 ACC) are hot, and continued to prove why in a 4-2 midweek victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd (8-16) - extending the team’s win streak to seven games.

Jordan Vera, the transfer sophomore right-handed pitcher from Ole Miss got the start on Tuesday, striking out a season-high six batters, going 3.2 innings, allowing five hits, and giving up one run in the top of the first inning, on a passed ball.

“Just tried to throw strikes,” Vera said after a commanding performance in his second start of 2024. “Biggest thing to me, up to now, is my command being a little off, so just attacking with the fastball…keeping the fastball in the zone.”

The Hokies struck back in the bottom of the first with a bases clearing, three-run double from catcher Henry Cooke.

The scoring came to a halt until freshman C/DH David McCann (5) launched a 437-foot no-doubt homer to right-center field in the fourth inning, as both Tech catchers provided the runs driven in today.

The third catcher in Virginia Tech’s dynamic triad - Gehrig Ebel - has been absent from the last few games, with seventh year head coach John Szefc stating the senior violated team rules. No timetable was given for his return.

In addition to Ebel, Chris Cannizzaro (.398/.439/.735, 6 HR, 31 RBI) started the game in left field, but was pulled following his first at bat, after jamming his wrist that was previously injured in the Stony Brook series at the beginning of March.

“He’ll be okay, I’m pretty sure, we just didn’t want it to get any worse - because it’s a short week,” said Szefc.

As a whole, the Virginia Tech pitching staff was pretty phenomenal, totalling ten strikeouts and no walks on the day.

Andrew Snetlinger came in to get the final two outs in the fourth after Vera exited. Jacob Exum picked up his first win of the season, while Preston Crowl pitched two scoreless.

The only real struggle for Tech came in the top of the ninth, where Jordan Little, the transfer from ECU who picked up two saves in a Friday double-header over Boston College took the hill.

The Thundering Herd led off the final inning with two-straight hits, followed by a balk from Little that advanced them both to scoring position.

A groundout from Kebler Peralta to Carson DeMartini secured the first out of the inning, prior to Little punching out the next batter, and getting the final batter of the game on a pop-fly - clinching Little’s third save in five days and the win.

The Hokies will meet Marshall once again in Huntington on April 2nd.

Tech, sitting atop the Coastal division at 8-1, holds the best record in the ACC at the moment, with the Pittsburgh Panthers coming to town.

Pitt (11-9, 1-8 ACC) is currently the bottom-feeder of the Coastal, but the Hokies should be wary of the Panthers entering the series, as the squad boasts a strong bullpen and are led by a lineup of seven hitters with a .300+ batting average - so there’s no room to take the foot off the gas.

“There’s been a lot of contributors, it’s not just one guy,” said Szefc on the key to success early on in ACC play (Virginia Tech’s best start in conference history). “You can look up and down the lineup…Friday’s [doubleheader sweep over BC] a good example, you know, [Christian] Martin hits a three-run homer in the ninth to go ahead, and in the second game on a double-play relay from [Clay] Grady - I mean that doesn’t show up in a boxscore.”

“Little saves both games…Sunday, it’s 3-3 in the seventh, and Cannizzaro goes oppo…it’s just been one contributor after another. The one constant I will say, there’s only two, our starting pitching has been very good for the most part and this [victory over Marshall] is probably the lowest we’ve scored in two or three weeks, so give them credit…”

Tech and Pitt begin the three game series on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 4 pm. The Hokies are a perfect 6-0 in series thus far in 2024. We’ll see if they can keep the momentum going against the Panthers.

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