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Virginia Tech Baseball Has a Potential Freshman Ace in Brett Renfrow

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Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Ryan Duvall | @RyanGDuvall
Writer/Baseball Beat Reporter

The Virginia Tech Hokies baseball team has no ACC starts entering the 2024 season, which means there will be a lot of inexperienced pitchers on the mound - eerily similar to the 2022 Tech team that hosted a Super Regional in the NCAA Tournament.

In fact, Hokies skipper John Szefc has compared this raw pitching staff to names like Drue Hackenberg - who broke onto the scene in 2022 prior to being selected in the second round of the 2023 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves.

“Honestly, like there’s two really high-level freshmen in that group: Brett Renfrow and Madden Clement. So, they could fit into that,” Szefc said. “But, like, that's uncharted waters for them. They haven’t thrown a college inning yet, you know. So, it’s very similar to like Drue Hackenberg two years ago. He didn’t pitch in the fall. He hadn’t thrown one college inning yet. No one knew anything about Drue Hackenberg: who he even was, you know, nonetheless how he was going to perform. So, you know I think you have those two guys.”

One of the names mentioned by Szefc was Brett Renfrow, a six-foot-three, 19-year-old right hander from Mannassas, Virginia.

Renfrow played his high school ball at Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School, as both a pitcher and an outfielder.

Renfrow came into Blacksburg ranked as the No. 472 recruit in the country, 17th in the State of Virginia - per Perfect Game rankings.

Thus far, it looks like the plan is for Renfrow to be a big part of the pitching staff, despite Szefc being mum on what the rotation would look like prior to the start of the season.

In fact, on Thursday afternoon, it was announced that Renfrow would be the first freshman pitcher in Virginia Tech history to start a season opener.

In that opener, taking place in the Queen City of Charlotte against the 49ers, Renfrow didn't look like a freshman with a dominant start to lead Tech to a 10-0 season-opening victory.

The true freshman pitched five scoreless innings in his collegiate debut on Friday - allowing just two baserunners (one hit and one walk) while striking out seven batters on a total of 70 batters, as well as picking up the victory.

Renfrow’s stellar debut should not be a surprise, given the comments made by his teammates at Virginia Tech's Media Day.

Brady Kirtner, a redshirt junior, who returned to the Hokies following a 12th round selection to the New York Mets and immediately became one of the primary veterans for Tech's pitching staff. He made note of Renfrow as a name to watch in 2024.

“There’s two big freshmen I am excited to see this year: Brett Renfrow and Madden Clement. They have a good work ethic and they’ve shown really good stuff, especially at a young age. So, those would be two names to look out for,” Kirtner said.

Griffin Stieg, a sophomore standout for Tech who is slated to start Sunday’s series finale, also said Renfrow stood out to him despite not playing during the Hokies' fall ball season.

“Freshman Brett Renfrow, he was hurt in the fall but he came back out this spring and he's done really well. So I'm excited to see what he can do,” said Stieg.

Could we see a Drue Hackenberg 2022 esque breakout, or maybe a freshman campaign similar to Chris Girard’s in 2019? Who knows.

But from the look of his debut, it appears as if Brett Renfrow is a name for Hokie fans to remember not only in 2024, but for seasons to come.

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