No. 3 Virginia Tech Rolls Past Kansas State In Pete Hughes' Return To Blacksburg

No. 3 Virginia Tech Rolls Past Kansas State In Pete Hughes' Return To Blacksburg
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

Carter Hill | @@cbhill_03

TLP: Writer/Associate Editor
May 18, 2022

Flash back to 2013, Virginia Tech baseball was beginning to wrap up one of its most successful seasons on the diamond in program history.

With the Hokies set to host their first-ever NCAA Regional, the program momentum was as high as ever.

Directing that momentum? Then-head coach Pete Hughes, who departed for Oklahoma at the season’s end after leading the maroon and orange to two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons as the Hokies’ head man.

Flash forward nine years later, and Virginia Tech has finally returned to the national stage. Ranked No. 3 in the country, the Hokies are poised to host their first NCAA Regional since Hughes departed all those years ago, and have arguably surpassed the 2013 team as the greatest to ever take the field in Virginia Tech program history.

So on Tuesday evening, when Hughes’ Kansas State Wildcats (27-24, 8-13 Big 12) came to Blacksburg to face off against the fourth-year head coach’s former team, it’s almost as if it all came full circle. With Hughes himself getting to experience first-hand how good this Virginia Tech team really is with an 8-2 loss at the hands of the Hokies (37-11, 16-9 ACC).

It all got started early on for the maroon and orange.

Star shortstop Tanner Schobel laced an RBI single through the left side to score Nick Biddison in the early goings to put Tech up 1-0. And after two scoreless frames from both lefty Matthew Siverling - who made his season debut after missing the first 47 games following offseason shoulder surgery - and Ryan Metz out of the bullpen, the Hokies continued to add on.

Carson Jones - making just his second start of the season - blasted a ball to center field for his first home run of the year in the home half of the second. And an inning later, both Jack Hurley and Carson DeMartini connected on pitches to left-center to eventually give Tech a commanding 5-0 lead.

The Wildcats’ Dominic Johnson countered with a two-run home run of his own in the top half of the fourth to make the score 5-2. But like always, the Hokies found a way to answer.

A Schobel two-run double in the bottom half of the inning really put the game away for Virginia Tech in the early portion of the evening. And a DeMartini RBI double in the Hokies’ seventh put the icing on the cake in the 8-2 mid-week victory over Kansas State.

Metz’s career-long four and one-third innings pitched while surrendering just two earned runs granted the Indiana native his second victory of the season (2-0). While both Christian Worley (2.2 IP) and Grant Umberger (1.0 IP) each provided scoreless outings in relief to shut the door on any potential late run by the Wildcats and preserve the six-run win.

The Hokies just don’t stop winning. And because of that, there’s a lot more baseball to be played in Blacksburg.

That’s why Hughes’ return meant so much.

Almost as if the torch has been passed from one winner to the next with John Szefc leading Virginia Tech baseball to unprecedented heights.

Heights that can only make fans wonder about the possibilities going forward for an already rapidly growing program.