If there has been one prevailing factor in the 2023 Virginia Tech baseball season, it has been the weather.
Looking back to last weekend, the Hokies' three game series against the Duke Blue Devils was cut to just a Sunday doubleheader due to storms in the Durham area.
Now back at home and looking to take its first series against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets since 2010, Virginia Tech’s baseball team was again pitted up against mother nature.
Friday’s series opener, which was originally set for 7 p.m., was bumped up to 2:30 p.m. due to iffy weather forecasts in Blacksburg, but the time change did very little.
Through just the top of the second inning, a lightning delay brought the series opener to a halt for forty minutes, and then, in the middle of the seventh inning stretch, the weather struck again, bringing the total delay time on Friday to two hours and seven minutes.
However, the game itself would end up being three hours and twenty minutes, with the Hokies (19-12, 6-9 ACC) taking down the Yellow Jackets (20-14, 7-9 ACC) 10-7 in a great bounce back effort from Tuesday’s disappointing midweek loss to Liberty.
Anthony Arguelles got the nod from John Szefc in the series opener, making his Friday debut for the Hokies with Griffin Green and Drue Hackenberg on just four days rest.
And Arguelles delivered a solid outing for Virginia Tech, going 4.1 innings on 81 pitches, allowing just one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts in a no decision.
The most impressive part of Arguelles performance may have been shutting down the Yellow Jackets for two more full innings following the first weather delay and a four-run bottom of the second from the Hokies' bats, giving the Miami transfer about an hour break between pitches.
For Georgia Tech - it was freshman Luke Schmolke on the bump. The righty came into the day with a 4-1 record in 2023, but the Hokie bats were too much, as Schmolke picked up his second loss of the year, lasting just 1.1 innings at English Field.
The backbreaker for Schmolke was the Hokies' big second inning, which featured multiple bases loaded situations in which Clay Grady walked a run in, Carson Jones singled two in, and Chris Cannizzaro brought the fourth runner of the inning in on a single of his own.
Clay Grady in particular had a stellar day for VT, going 3-3 in addition to the walk, bringing in a total of three runs on the day.
Virginia Tech was out to a 9-4 lead by the seventh inning stretch when the second weather delay was called, but the bullpen was stellar, as it held Georgia Tech to just four runs up until then through multiple runners in scoring position situations.
Brady Kirtner shined, picking up his first win of the season, and the second of his two year career at VT, going two hitless innings, while striking out five Georgia Tech batters.
Following the delay, Kiernan Higgins took the ball in the eighth inning, having allowed one earned run in his last seven innings pitched. ‘
However, a three-run bomb from Yellow Jackets center fielder Jake DeLeo would end that stretch, and bring the game within two runs, at 9-7.
Luckily for Virginia Tech, they have a guy named Jack Hurley, who simply mashes baseballs.
In the bottom of the eighth, Hurley took GT reliever Noah Samol deep, hitting a ball right over the wall, and launching his ninth homer in his last eleven games - pretty impressive.
Higgins took care of business in the top of the ninth, going three up and three down to secure the Hokies sixth conference win of the year.
With the win, VT is now just a win on Saturday or Sunday away from its first series victory over GT since 2010.
First pitch on Saturday is set for 7 p.m.