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The Hokie 2018 Baseball Season Ends with Mixed Results

Well the baseball season is over for the Hokies. We didn’t make the ACC Tournament this season, again. That’s a pretty tall order but Coach Szefc has a plan and we need patience. We say good bye to our Seniors, and go into baseball wait mode for 2019. GO HOKIES!!!

Warmups or warmdowns
John Schneider - SB Nation

As Jay pointed out, earlier this morning, the academic year is over and most of the trailer, leftover sports are over for the Hokies. There were a few very pleasant surprises; but baseball wasn’t one of them. It wasn’t a grinding disappointment, either. None of us who really understood the condition of the program, and the probable long haul to get into any sort of winning approach expected too much, but a pleasant surprise would have been a .500 season and an upbeat end as everyone heads to Summer activities.

There was one up note, though. Tech defeated William and Mary to give Senior Night some meaning and good feelings. The trip to Chapel Hill and the final series didn’t go well, and the Carolina sweep probably didn’t sit too well with anyone. Maybe that will help motivate the team when they take the field in February of 2019. Or even the Fall practice season, for that matter.

The end total of the season might seem a bit disappointing to many, but hidden in those numbers were some very close games that with a bit of luck and better relief pitching could have ended in the Hokies’ favor. It wouldn’t have been enough to push the season much past the .500 mark, but there would have been a significant difference.

The final numbers for the 2018 campaign were; Overall W/L was 21 – 33. We actually did well in non-conference matchups, finishing with a 13-11 record, there. Again, the ACC was our snake venom and we barely got off the mat there at 8 wins and 22 losses. Maybe a better playing venue will perk up the Home field advantage, because there wasn’t anything there. The Hokies were 10-12 at home. Improving just that number would make a big difference.

Of course the end of the season means that there will be some young men heading out to ply their fortunes in other venues. The three position players were; outfielder and sometime pitcher Tom Stoffel, catcher Joe Freiday, Jr. and infielder (3rd and 1st) Sam Fragale. All three did a good job leading, and producing. Here are their career stats as Hokies:

Virginia Tech Hokie Senior Baseball Stat Lines

Player Batting AVG GP-GS At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Triples HR RBI SLG% Walks Strikeouts OB%
Player Batting AVG GP-GS At Bats Runs Hits Doubles Triples HR RBI SLG% Walks Strikeouts OB%
Tom Stoffel 0.305 192-173 699 110 213 47 4 18 133 0.461 69 125 0.393
Joe Freiday, Jr. 0.233 140-112 420 57 98 17 3 15 59 0.395 38 143 0.31
Sam Fragale 0.276 199-183 715 124 197 44 5 31 152 0.481 43 187 0.329
The Three Graduating Position Player Stats Hokie Sports

The pitching staff is losing Connor Coward, Joey Sullivan, Luke Scherzer, and Andrew McDonald. Coward started off the season with some impressive games, but time and inconsistent offense really can wear on a pitcher. The struggles of the Virginia Tech pitching staff for 2018 looked much like the struggles for 2017. Here are the stats for the Senior pitchers leaving for new challenges:

Virginia Tech Hokie Senior Pitching Stat Lines

Player ERA W-L App GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO
Player ERA W-L App GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO
Connor Coward 5.71 10-12 63 31 1 0/3 2 208 218 159 132 109 193
Joey Sullivan 5.61 6-9 81 12 0 0/2 1 154 209 120 96 48 123
Luke Scherzer 4.72 4-9 63 9 0 0/1 9 110.2 126 69 58 52 100
Andrew McDonald 6.43 5-14 61 16 0 0/1 6 149.2 200 130 107 71 160
Hayden Heflin 8.55 0-0 16 3 0 0/0 0 20 29 23 19 7 18
Pitching Stat Lines Hokie Sports

There are no two ways about it; Coach Szefc has much more work to do to get the team moving in a more positive direction. He has to fix the pitching staff, and further develop the position players. We are losing three excellent players to graduation. That means the next guys will have to step up.

Here is hoping that a fully completed Union Park (I’ll dispense with the “English Field at” compromise, and hope the Tech Athletic Department does, too) with a new season and some new energy will help get the Virginia Tech Hokie Baseball Team to make that one critical step up from the basement.

We are going to miss our Seniors, and certainly their effort and leadership will be a challenge to replace.

2019 is just around the corner!

GO HOKIES!!!