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Virginia Tech Baseball Sweeps Notre Dame, Routs Marist

Griffin Stieg 1 VT ND 2024 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Ryan Duvall | @RyanGDuvall
Writer/Baseball Beat Reporter

Following Sunday afternoon’s 11-8 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-5, 0-3 ACC), the Virginia Tech Hokies (12-3) moved to 3-0 in ACC play for the first time in program history.

“I didn’t know that,” said Virginia Tech skipper John Szefc regarding the undefeated start to conference ball. “It just means we had a really good weekend. It’s hard to sweep anybody. It’s certainly hard to sweep in conference play. Especially early in the season, we’re trying to figure some things out, figure out some roles…there’s a big difference in this league between 3-0 and 2-1.”

This past weekend, the Hokies outscored the Fighting Irish 32-16, backed by three stellar starts from freshman Brett Renfrow, Rutgers transfer Wyatt Parliament, and sophomore Griffin Stieg.

On Friday, Renfrow moved to 4-0 on the year after tossing a season high eight innings pitched and ten strikeouts, on 96 pitches. The true freshman allowed just two runs on three hits and one walk.

Renfrow is the second pitcher in three years to start 4-0 for Virginia Tech, as 2023 Atlanta Braves second round selection Drue Hackenberg completed the feat in his freshman season as well back in 2022.

Saturday, Parliament had a career best day to clinch the series win, getting ten batters out on strikes, while giving up two runs to four baserunners. The junior New York native moved to 2-0 in the first ACC start of his career.

And in the series finale, Griffin Stieg came in and gave his third consecutive strong start, going through the Notre Dame lineup twice; going five innings on the bump, with two earned runs, three strikeouts, and no free passes.

While John Szefc was unsure of the rotation going into the season, we’ve now reached a point entering ACC play, where Renfrow (4-0, 1.88 ERA, .79 WHIP, 29 SO), Parliament (2-0, 3.72 ERA, .83 WHIP, 21 SO), and Stieg (2-1, 3,57 ERA, 17.2 IP, 15 SO) all look the part.

“They have thus far,” Szefc said when asked if the trio had solidified their roles as weekend starters. “There’s no reason to question what they’re doing out there. I mean in this league things can change for different reasons…but yeah those guys, they’ve been very good…I can’t say anything negative about those three guys at all.”

At the plate, there was a lot of production to fill with sophomore first baseman Garrett Michel (.400/.475/.866, 1.361 OPS, 4 HR, 12 RBI) undergoing season-ending wrist surgery following an injury in the opener of the Stony Brook series.

The Hokies' answer at first base was redshirt junior Kentucky native Sam Tackett. Tackett made some spectacular plays with his glove, but with the bat, Tackett went cold this weekend, going hitless in three starts.

The other Hammerin' Hokies showed out, however, blasting nine home runs over the course of the series.

Some of the standouts on offense were third baseman Carson DeMartini (five hits, two homers, three RBI’s), George Washington transfer utility man Eddie Micheletti jr. (five hits, three long balls - including a grand slam on Friday, nine runs batted in), and second baseman Christian Martin (six hits, two walks, three RBI’s).

Additionally, Ben Watson, Tech’s transfer center fielder from D3 Elizabethtown, has made the jump to a power conference D1 team look like nothing, batting .396, while raising his hitting streak to ten games on Sunday (now at 11).

“He’s been really good,” said Szefc regarding his new player. “He’s adapted to the level of arms, I think it kind of shows you how good his hand-eye coordination is…also really played a good centerfield, which I think might be the most impressive thing.”

Following the sweep, Virginia Tech hosted Marist on Tuesday; the college where Szefc started his head coaching career, from 1996-2002, taking the Red Foxes to four NCAA Regional appearances.

The reunion would not be a good one for Marist, as the Hokies crushed the Red Foxes 20-2, extending the Tech win streak to four games.

It was a bullpen game in the midweek for VT, with the Hokies tossing five pitchers (three of which gave up no runs). Madden Clement, the freshman LHP from Pennsylvania, picked up his first career win in the blowout.

In total, Virginia Tech hit eight home runs in the game, an ACC-era record for the Hokies.

Tech will now travel down to Louisville (11-5) for a weekend series against the Cardinals, seeking to extend their win streak on the road. First pitch on Friday is set for 6pm.

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