The winners of eight of their last nine games, Virginia Tech baseball is on a tear and seems to have no plans of slowing down. Week after week, this team keeps making program history. First, it was a weekend series at the beginning of April at Chapel Hill where the Hokies beat the Tar Heels on the road for the first time in program history. Two weeks later, Virginia Tech defeated the then second-ranked Miami Hurricanes at English Field. It was their first series win over a top-five opponent since 2017 against Florida State. Game two over Miami also marked head coach John Szefc's 500th career win.
Moving forward to the recent present and the 2022 version of Virginia Tech baseball has once again marked themselves in their own program record books. For the first time since joining the ACC in 2005, Virginia Tech has defeated Virginia in Charlottesville to clinch a second Commonwealth Clash win on the diamond. This series ended up as one of the tougher ones the Hokies have faced this season and would boost them to 5th in the top 25 after.
Game one saw a return of hammer time with the Hokies launching a pair of homers. The first one represented the first run of the series in the form of a solo shot off the bat of Carson DeMartini. After both teams exchanged runs going into the sixth inning, Tech broke the cold streak with three runs in the top frame. Two RBI doubles were notched by Connor Hartigan to score Cade Hunter, and Lucas Donlon to score Hartigan from second base.
It was 4-1 in the ninth until Nick Biddison added to Tech’s totals with a solo home run. The Cavaliers tacked on one more run but that wasn’t enough to pull back into the game. Griffin Green had an excellent day on the mound, giving up seven hits but only allowing one run to cross home plate. In relief came on Graham Firoved who closed the game out only surrendering a solo home run and striking out one batter for the save.
In-game two, it was the Hoo's big day at the plate. They tagged the Hokies ace, Drue Hackenberg, with nine hits and six earned runs which knocked him out after 4.2 innings of work. Virginia Tech then saw five relief pitchers come into the game from then on, and they all pitched well. Tech allowed zero hits but three walks from their relief pitchers.
The bats of the Hokies showed up to the party too little too late, not scoring a run until the sixth inning. After a peculiar 0-4 day in game one, Tanner Schobel woke up in a fury with a single to score a run in the sixth and then a home run to cut the lead to three in the ninth. There wasn’t a late rally though as Virginia Tech went down in order after the Schobel homer.
For the second time all season, the Hokies had a rubber match to decide a three-game series. The first was against Pittsburgh where Tech dropped the first game only to win the next 2 and get their first ACC series victory.
With Hackenberg and Green’s arms unavailable from the first two contests, Virginia Tech tabbed usual relief pitcher Jordan Geber to open the game. Geber struggled to stop the Cavaliers who scored two runs in the first inning and two more to begin the second before being subbed out in favor of Henry Weycker. Weycker ended up being the steady rock the Hokies needed on the pitching side of things to allow the bats to get Tech back into the game.
In the fourth inning, Tech began their rally by cutting the deficit in half thanks to an Edward Malinowski sac fly to score Gavin Cross. Then they kept the line moving with Hunter hitting an RBI single which scored Schobel. Next inning, this dynamic was flipped as Schobel got an RBI double and Jack Hurley hit a sac fly to tie the game at four runs all.
Just before the seventh-inning stretch, Tech took the lead thanks in part to a Cross solo bomb. This was followed by two RBI singles from Hunter and Donlon. Just like that, the Hokies jumped into the driver's seat and didn’t get out. Firoved allowed one solo home run in the seventh but was dominant after that. He went 3.1 innings and gave up two hits with five strikeouts to close the rubber match victory against their arch-rivals.
After another historic weekend for Virginia Tech baseball, the team has returned to Blacksburg to finish out the regular season. They have 10 games remaining on the schedule and all 10 will be played on the beautiful baseball diamond of English Field.
First up this weekend, it will be a two-game non-conference series against the traveling Villanova Wildcats. Villanova comes in below .500 at 17-22 for the season so it should be a series the Hokies can handle.
Then after a quick game against Liberty to finish off their spread-out series, #5 Virginia Tech will face off against the also highly-ranked Louisville Cardinals on May 13-15.
Virginia Tech is 45-18 all-time against Louisville in baseball but has suffered back-to-back sweeps in the last two years to the Cardinals. Then after those series of tough tests, the Hokies take on Kansas State. The Wildcats are currently 23-21 and are led by former VT head coach Pete Hughes who was the last VT coach to lead the Hokies to hosting an NCAA regional.
In the regular-season series finale, Virginia Tech invites the Duke Blue Devils to come down to Blacksburg on May 19-21. Tech is 28-44 all-time against Duke and has lost seven of their past eight games to the Blue Devils.
Despite the Hokies' hot streak, they’ll have to conquer ghosts of recent baseball past in Louisville and Duke if they want to make a run at the ACC regular-season title. If there’s one thing this team has made a statement on, it's their ability to buck recent trends and write their names into the program's history books.