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Virginia Tech Baseball Wins Opening 2024 Series Against Charlotte

Renfrow B 24 BS ch1 DK 0868
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Ryan Duvall | @RyanGDuvall
Writer/Baseball Beat Reporter

Well, the 2024 college baseball season is officially underway, which means zpring is coming - hopefully.

Anyways, the Virginia Tech Baseball team opened up this weekend with a series in the Queen City of Charlotte against the 49ers - a preseason projected three seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament according to D1Baseball, giving VT a stiff test out the start gate of the season. This would not be some easy start for the Hokies to find their footing.

Surely enough, the Hokies came into Charlotte with the bats and the arms ready - for the most part; taking two out of three games against the 49ers to kick off the 2024 season on a good note.

The series started off in dominant fashion for Tech, winning the first two games; outsourcing Charlotte 20-5 in the process, prior to dropping the season finale 10-5.

The season opener was one that would go down in the history books for the Hokies, as seventh year skipper John Szefc handed the ball to Brett Renfrow, a six-foot-three 19-year-old freshman - the first Freshman in Virginia Tech history to start a season opener.

In his collegiate debut, Renfrow, a native of Manassas, Virginia, was dominant.

The freshman RHP tossed five scoreless innings, striking out seven batters, while allowing just two baserunners; all on an efficient 70 pitches.

Renfrow is now 1-0 in his young college career and could be a staple of the Hokies' pitching staff for not only the 2024 season, but the coming years.

In addition to Renfrow, fellow newcomer David Shoemaker, a graduate transfer student of Penn, showed out.

The six-foot-one southpaw mowed down 10-of-11 batters faced, striking out six batters on 40 pitches in three innings of work, before Ole Miss transfer Jordan Vera and first year hurler Madden Clement came in to complete the shutout in the 9th inning.

On the offensive end, the Tech bats were pretty good in game one, scoring in the first frame off a wild pitch.

Sam Tackett, a breakout candidate in 2024 following an excellent summer and fall, picked up his first RBI of the season with a single in the 4th that broke the flood gates open, with catcher Henry Cooke going deep for a three-run home run the next at bat.

The ‘Blacksburg Bombers’ hit three total home runs in game one, as Cooke, third baseman Carson DeMartini, and second baseman Christian Martin all left the park at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.

In total, the Hokies racked up ten runs in the opener, compared to the 49ers' zero - good for an opening game statement shutout.

Game two was at least a little closer, albeit 10-5, in favor of Virginia Tech once again.

The standout for the Hokies was outfielder Chris Cannizzaro, a second year member of Tech’s team, following four years at Buckell.

Cannizzaro, one of the returning bats from a middling 2023 Tech squad, had himself a day - going 4-4 at the dish, with two bombs and five RBIs, as well as crossing home-plate three times himself. Cannizzaro also eclipsed 200 career hits over the weekend - a well-deserved milestone.

In addition to Cannizzaro, Gherig Ebel, who is part of a 1-2 punch at catcher with Henry Cooke, hit a home run.

The other four Virginia Tech runs were scored on a throwing error, Garrett Michel RBI single, and Sam Tackett picking up his second and third RBIs of the series on a single up the middle.

On the bump, the start went to Wyatt Parliament - a six-foot-five RHP who came to Blacksburg after two seasons at Rugters.

Parliament threw four innings for the Hokies, allowing the 49ers to score just one run on a sac-fly, giving up no hits, and punching out four batters on 55 pitches.

However, due to only pitching four innings, the win went to Brady Kirtner, who pitched two innings in relief.

Kirtner, a redshirt junior right-hander, came back to Virginia Tech despite being selected in the 12th round of the 2023 MLB Draft in an effort to better solidify himself as a starter to scouts.

This weekend, Kirtner would have to settle for a relief role, which he thrived in, allowing no earned runs and just one hit in his appearance on Saturday.

Graduate transfer Grant Manning struggled in his third of an inning pitched on Saturday, allowing two runs, and three base runners before being pulled.

The last 2.2 innings were thrown by LHP Matthew Siverling and junior Jacob Stretch, who allowed a combined one run, sealing the series victory.

Going for the sweep on Sunday, Tech sent out sophomore RHP Griffin Stieg, ranked the No. 58 preseason starting pitcher in the nation per D1Baseball.

Unfortunately for the Hokies and Stieg, it was the 49ers day at the dish.

Stieg lasted just two innings in his first start of the season, allowing five runs on four hits and a walk - one of those hits being a home run.

Stieg was one of four Tech hurlers to allow a run on Sunday’s 10-5 series finale loss. Jeremy Nuff allowed three run in 3.1 innings of work while Jacob Exum and Carson Ohl gave up one apiece in relief.

Jordan Little, a junior, was the only Hokie to remain clean in his two-thirds of an inning to finish the eighth inning.

At the plate, Cannizzaro added two more RBIs via sac flies, Garrett Michel hammered his first home run of the season, and Carson DeMartini doubled Christian Martin (three walks in the game) home.

Following a solid 2-1 start against a potential tournament team in Charlotte, Virginia Tech heads to James Madison (1-2 against No. 3 Arkansas) on Wednesday, before coming back to English Field for the home opening series kicking off next Friday against Rhode Island (1-1).

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