Fresh off a so-No series win. 2 Miami, Florida, Virginia Tech’s baseball team skyrocketed in D1Baseball.com’s Top 25 poll to No. 8, the highest ranking ever in era history program ACC.
What’s behind the Hokies’ meteoric rise in the standings? Go beyond the numbers and see what propelled Tech to new heights this spring.
1. A tough trip to Atlanta ignited the spark. After winning 10 of its first 11 games to start the season, the Hokies opened ACC play in mid-March on the road against No. 13 Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech played admirably against the top-15 Yellow Jackets, losing two of three games by one point apiece, including an overtime loss in the series finale, but left Atlanta 0-3 in the league.
Since then, the Hokies haven’t lost an ACC series, including convincing wins over top 25 foes Notre Dame, North Carolina, NC State and the aforementioned Hurricanes, good enough for second place in the Coastal Division standings. .
The head coach John Szefc gave Tech its best start in 33 games in 40 years and earned its 500th career win on Friday, April 18, in Tech’s 13-2 victory over Miami (Florida).
2. Tech’s lineup is full of pounding Hokies. Virginia Tech has won 14 of its last 19 games, thanks in large part to its impressive hitting throughout its roster. The Hokies are averaging 9.4 carries per game over that span, including nine 10-or-more-carry outings, highlighted by 22 carries against Pitt on Saturday, March 19 and 21 carries against then-No. 21 NC State on Friday, April 8.
During that streak, Tech hit an incredible 46 home runs, recording at least one home run in all but two games. The Hokies have homered multiple times in 15 of their last 19 games, including a season-high seven in Game 1 of the series against the Wolfpack. Remarkably, Tech saw every berth in his batting order soar over that 19-game stretch.
cade hunter leads the way with nine homers in this streak, followed by the co-defending ACC Player of the Week in Tanner Schobelwhich has eight circuits. Carson DeMartini (7 home runs), Gavin Cross (6) and Jack Hurley (5) are right behind, while those five players each have at least two multiple home games.
Hurley was named to the 2022 Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list on Tuesday, April 5, and recently had his 25-game hitting streak snapped, an ACC-era program record.
3. The Hokies pitching staff have raised their game. While Tech’s hitting prowess has grabbed headlines, the Hokies’ throwing and defense have contributed to the program’s recent success. The 1-2 punch of starting pitchers Green Griffin and Drue Hackenberg got Tech off to a strong start in every series over the past month.
Green has three wins in five starts, allowing just 12 runs in 27.1 innings pitched. He recorded 23 strikeouts during that span while giving up just nine walks after facing 117 batters. Hackenburg is undefeated in his four starts while allowing just eight earned runs to go along with 27 strikeouts and five walks. In total, Tech pitchers recorded 174 strikeouts in 169 innings pitched.
On the year, the Hokies’ .981 fielding percentage ranks second in the ACC and ninth nationally.
4. Support from Hokie Nation created an intimidating atmosphere on the pitch. More than 11,000 fans have passed through the turnstiles at Atlantic Union Bank Field in Tech’s last 12 home games, helping to foster a powerful advantage within the friendly confines of English Field. Hokie Nation’s support during that streak culminated in a regular season record 3,521 fans in attendance for Tech’s win over Miami, Florida on Friday, April 15.
Single match tickets are still available for the Hokies’ remaining ACC home games against Louisville and 16th-placed Duke.