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Baseball Report Week 9: Hokies Coming Back Down to Earth, Looking for Bounce Back

By Sam Jessee | April 17
BB GT Cover
via @HokiesBaseball on X

Life in the ACC is tough.

The Hokies have found that out over the past two weekends, dropping back to back series against Wake Forest at home and now Georgia Tech on the road. 

The gauntlet that is an ACC schedule has victimized even the best teams in the conference. The Hokies are no exception. Now, at 11-7 in ACC play, the Hokies are in danger of getting stuck in the mud in the middle of the ACC standings. But the rule of thumb for making the NCAA Regionals from the ACC is simple: go .500 or above. The Hokies are on pace to eclipse that. Still, a 1-5 stretch is not going to make life easy, and the matter of the losses is troubling. The Hokies have shown some good, and some bad, consistency is needed over the next month.

BB W9 Standings

Series Loss @ Georgia Tech (1-2)

Game 1


Friday's game was the best of what the Blacksburg Bombers have to offer.

Brett Renfrow continued his stellar freshman season tossing 6 innings of solid stuff, only allowing 1 run. Behind him, Jacob Exum cleaned up the game with a rare 3-inning save, not allowing a hit or walk. The usually potent Yellow Jacket offense was squashed, but the Hokies would feel their sting soon enough.

Offensively, six Hokies had multi-hit games, including LF Chris Cannizzaro who went 4-5. Freshman C/DH David McCann continued to provide power with a 2-homer performance, and RF Eddie Micheletti, Jr. added another homer to his impressive season tally. All in all, the Hokies offense was dominant and complete, something we've come to expect. 

Game 2


Rarely do things go so well and then so poorly in the span of 16 hours. Unfortunately, the Hokies were victims to one of the more shocking results of the ACC season. 

After 20 hits in game 1, the ACC's most consistent offense only managed 3 hits on their way to being shut out. It seemed everything the Hokies hit was directly at a Yellow Jacket fielder, and plate discipline was lacking in general. A stiff wind blowing towards home plate didn't help the fly balls, and the Hokies were unable to find other ways to get on base. 

On the mound, the Hokies could not find the strike zone. A shocking 19 walks were awarded to the Yellow Jackets, who were on the base paths all game. The Hokies threw eight pitchers in the game that ended mercifully in seven innings, and all eight of them threw a walk as well as 2 hit batters. Over the course of the game the Hokies threw a whopping 201 pitches. 

You may never see a game like that for the rest of your life. Georgia Tech scored 19 runs on just 11 hits, and the Hokies only committed one error. One team drawing 19 walks while the other drew none is the kind of statistical anomaly that will be bookmarked in the scoring book for years to come. As they say, every time you go to the ball park you'll see something you've never seen before.

Game 3


For a few hours, it looked as if the Hokies has put Saturday's monstrosity behind them. 

The Blacksburg Bombers were back to their usual selves, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the Top 4th. 3B Carson DeMartini got things started with a 3-run homer to right-center, followed by a 3-run 2nd inning. But the Hokies would leave a few on in the 4th inning after a fielder's choice RBI by 1B Gehrig Ebel made it 7-0, and the potent Yellow Jacket offense was primed for another breakout. 

Sunday starter Griffin Stieg pitched a gutsy 4.1 innings allowing 2 runs, but struggled to keep Yellow Jackets off the base paths allowing 7 hits. He had to be pulled after 93 pitches, and that's when things started to unravel.

Tech's bullpen allowed 9 hits and 9 runs over the last 4.2 innings on the back of 8 walks. The Yellow Jackets got back into the game by showing great plate discipline and timely 2-strike hitting vs Brady Kirtner and Matthew Siverling, who struggled to get two outs in the 5th inning. After that, the Hokies offense went ice cold, and never really threatened. It was one of the worst blown leads of the John Szerfc era, and another baffling loss for a team that had done so well at avoiding them.

Sharkey's Classic Win vs Radford

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Every year on April 16th, Hokies and many around the nation reflect on the victims and their loved ones of the awful tragedy that will forever engrain itself at Virginia Tech. Sports have played an integral part in both rememberance and healing for the community. While much of the college sports world remembers the first football game the Hokies played, a matchup vs East Carolina featuring College GameDay, the first athletic event to be held that spring was a baseball game. 

Just a year later, on March 18th, 2008, one of the first organizations that reached out to Virginia Tech made a trip to Blasckburg. That day, little ol' English Field hosted one of the biggest teams in world sports, the New York Yankees. 

Even to today, the baseball program annually plays on April 16th. The game, coinciding with football's Spring Game as well as softball, has become a somber yet heartfelt tradition that Hokies embrace in only a way that Hokies can do. 

This year, the Hokies hosted local rival Radford. In a game the Hokies needed to play well in, they did. 

The offense knocked 11 hits on Radford, led by Cannizzaro's double and home run. The 6th-year senior is getting back to his early season self just in time. On the mound, the Hokies had redemption on the mind. Opener Madden Clement pitched a near flawless first two innings, follows by scoreless innings from David Shoemaker, Grant Manning, and Matthew Siverling. Saturday starter Wyatt Parliament was surprisingly brought tin the close down the 9th, seemingly just to get him feeling right after a tough outing in Atlanta. He did allow a solo homer to his first batter faced, but then reared back throwing upper 90's for the rest of the inning and shutting down the game.

The Week Ahead

The Hokies have done well to not drop a midweek game, which is helping out their RPI tremendously. The Hokies sit at #40 in the RPI, but there are plenty of chances to get into the top 25 by season's end. That starts with the biggest series of the season to date when the Hokies host ACC Coastal leading Duke.

Currently, the Hokies are slotted as the top #2 seed in the NCAA Regionals. That spot comes with a juicy matchup in the Morgantown regional vs rival West Virginia. 

BB W9 Projections
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I'm a born and raised Hokie. My first game in Lane Stadium was in September of 1997 when Tech stomped Big East rival Syracuse 31-3. 

I was born and raised in Richmond, VA, where I developed a passion for local cooking, scenic nature, and everything Orange and Maroon. I graduated from Tech with a degree in Finance in 2019 and received my Master's in Data Analytics in 2021. I'm a certified analytics nerd with a passion for data visualization and modeling, which fuels much of my work.

I joined the Sons team in 2020, and now act as the Website Content Manager overseeing all online content and mentoring our talented tea of writers. I also co-host the Two Deep podcast with Pete B.

I currently work in Virginia Beach, VA, as a data and financial analyst for LifeNet Health, a biotech and organ transplant non-profit.

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