ACC Regular Season Champion Virginia Tech Hokies Look Ahead To The NCAA Tournament
Batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, scoring, all offensive categories that the Virginia Tech Hokies’ ball-club has landed top 25 in the nation in. What do you get when you mix that, with arguably a top 3 ACC pitching staff? The no. 4 overall seed in the NCAA baseball tournament, and more importantly, a postseason berth for the first time since 2013.
In a regular season that saw the Hokies go from projected to land second to last in the ACC, to a 41-12 overall record that earned them the regular season title, Virginia tech has defied the odds since their first upset of the season, a win over No. 12 Notre Dame, back in late March. Since that day, their offense has exploded, most notably in the power category, where a plethora of stars ranging from MLB draft prospect Gavin Cross, to batting title contender Jack Hurley, have been the main contributors to a team slugging percentage that’s best in the nation next to No. 1 overall seed Tennessee.
But their rollercoaster to postseason stardom doesn’t come without some bumps. Following an expected 18-6 blowout win against Clemson in the first round of the ACC tournament, the Hokies’ run came to a screeching halt at the hands of 10-0 loss to UNC. Their main problem: plate discipline. Having struck out six times, without drawing a single walk, even hitters like Gavin Cross could not find their way on base.
On selection Sunday, the team rounded up, not to see if, but when they will host the first game of their very own regional. Now they will have to carry their on-base woes to a first round pool play matchup against Wright State, coming out of the Horizon as their conference champions. Before this year, the Hokies would be coming into this pivotal matchup blindly. But, for the first time in program history, they met in a regular season non conference series, where the Hokies hosted a 2-1 series win. Talk about perfect timing.
The breakdown: The main contribution to a 2-1 2022 series lead against Wright State was, once again, an absolutely potent power presence at the plate. A combined 8 home runs across a series where the Hokies outscored Wright State 31-15, they now have all the confidence to replicate their performance, come Friday, June 3rd, for a 7pm first pitch. In the case of a win, they will move onto the winner of the Columbia/Gonzaga matchup.
All it takes is two wins in pool play to advance. There, the worries only get thicker, as they meet the winner out of a pool ruled by SEC powerhouse No. 1 Florida, or Big 12 threat No. 2 Oklahoma. Once thing is for certain, if the Hokies do advance, their lineup will finally get the test they deserve. We know they can swing with any team in the ACC, but have yet to compete against the pitching abilities of SEC competition sprinkled throughout the bracket.