On Friday night, a wet and dreary day in Blacksburg, No. 5 Virginia (24-2. 8-2 ACC) took game one of the weekend series over Virginia Tech (15-10, 2-8 ACC) 9-5, as the Hokies' ACC woes continue.
In John Szefc’s words, the game “should never have been started,” citing bad weather all day, and poor conditions that delayed the game from 8 pm to 8:30 pm.
The skipper took the blame for Friday night’s game happening, rather than pushing it back, but needless to say, the Hoos were still ready to play.
Drue Hackenberg found himself on the mound for the second straight Friday, having swapped roles with Griffin Green, who now pitches on Saturdays.
Unfortunately for the sophomore RHP, it was not his night.
UVA tagged three runs in each of the first two innings, with a moonshot from center fielder Ethan O’Donell capping off a 6-0 start for the Cavaliers.
O’Donell would have himself a pretty nice second inning, as in addition to the long ball, he robbed Tech outfielder Carson Jones of an extra base hit on a ball that was lined to right-center field with a sweet diving grab.
Hackenber would end up going four innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits, three walks, and five strikeouts, pushing his ERA on the season to 6.51 through seven starts.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers starter, Brian Edgington delivered, as he has all of 2023.
The senior went six innings, allowing just four hits, and striking out eight, stifling the Tech bats. He also picked up his fifth win of the season, and remains undefeated on the bump as the calendar turns to April.
In relief for Hackenberg was freshman RHP Jacob Exum, and he delivered.
Exum went a career-best five innings, shutting down the UVA bats with his unique sidearm release.
“Off-speed was on which is always good,” said Exum on what worked for him last night. “Going up there and getting ahead of the count…just trying to do my job.”
His line for the day would total at 5 innings pitched, 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 earned run, and eight punchouts on 73 pitches. That's a pretty good coming out party, despite the loss.
“It’s great, it’s just good to keep the bullpen arms healthy so that they can go and we can win Saturday and Sunday,” Exum said regarding his five innings pitched.
The performance from Exum gave the Hokies some breathing room for the remainder of the weekend, as Tech’s bullpen was stretched thin last weekend in Pittsburgh, and Christian Worley is still not 100 percent, per Szefc.
Another solid performance for Tech came in the form of freshman catcher Brody Donay, who filled the DH role on Friday night.
Donay went 2-4 at the plate, driving in three runs on his fourth home run of the season in the eighth inning.
Additionally, Donay drove a ball to deep right in the sixth inning that UVA right fielder Casey Saucke would end up dropping, resulting in the first run of the game for the Hokies, advancing Donay to third on the error.
The struggles for Tech continued to be the early portions of games, as the Hokies were stuck playing catchup on Friday, but ended the game on a 5-1 run once Exum came in.
Game two is set for Saturday at 7 pm, with Griffin Green slated to make his seventh start of the season. Time will tell if a new month can lead to Tech turning their season around.