First the good news...
Your Virginia Tech Hokie Baseball Team just nipped the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in a full 9 inning scoring marathon; 10-9. We are waiting for the box score to come through. The game tracker was from Wake Forest, and it’s play by play was not easily found, so all we could do is watch the summary and wince as the Hokies 6th inning lead began to evaporate. The box score is really fresh and we’ll just post the summary line. Ten runs is a really good thing, but the bullpen giving up five is not.
Hokies vs. Wake Forest: Game 3
All in all though the Wake series; which was a two to one loss - wasn’t as horrible as it might seem. Wake and Tech did violate the usual double header standard. Wake swept the last minute DH with short rest between games. Tech dropped the first 3-8 with relatively quiet bats and a full four run Ian Seymour meltdown in the 6th. Before that, the Hokies and Wake were knotted up 2 and 2. The game just seemed to get away with Ian, this time. The Hokies managed a run in their half of the 8th, but the Deac’s matched it, and any Tech offensive momentum failed to develop.
Hokies vs. Wake Forest: Game 1 of the Saturday Split DH
Game 2 was a very different story. It seems that Tech found their game bats in the moving van, and managed to put a real scare into Wake. Jack Owens led off with an impressive at bat that included seven pitches... the seventh being parked over the Demon Deacons’ right field wall. The Hokies ended the inning with two doubles and an extra run courtesy of Kevin Madden and Luke Horanski. Wake would strike back with one run, but the game was on and the Hokies looked like they wanted this one.
Hokies vs. Wake Forest: Game 2 - Night Cap of Split DH
Wake took the lead by the bottom of the 3rd, but the Hokies came out with a serious cap set and glued together a small chain of events that resulted in a very solid three run offensive effort that put the Hokies up 5-3 in middle of the 4th inning. Wake ran into a pitch for a home run in the bottom of the 4th and then Tech pushed it back to a two run difference by loading the bases and Kerry Carpenter getting a ground ball sacrifice on a contact play. It sure would have been better to have taken advantage of those loaded bases, though. Tech would pay for the men left on in the 2nd half of the game.
The Hokies’ Nic Enright managed to hold Wake’s offense off for a few innings, but by the bottom of the 7th, Wake was nibbling at the inning trading outs for hits and base runners. With 2 outs but two on, Coach Szefc made a move to the bullpen and Peyton Alford was not the answer to the need for a single out to get the inning over with another goose-egg up. He gave up 3 runs on a ringing homer that also put Wake Forest in the lead for good. Wake added a run in the bottom of the 8th, and then Tech attempted a rally with a big Nick Holesa homer, but nothing else developed around it.
It was disappointing to win, but heartening because the offense re-appeared and the game wasn’t lost on offense.
And that sort of ends the good news. The tough news is something that is just not going to be addressed easily. The Hokies’ bull pen is still struggling. The starting pitching has really come up in the world, and we are seeing impressive outings by Ian Seymour, Chris Gerard (who checked in with the game today as his third win) and starter/reliever Nic Enright. The remainder of the pitching staff is still building skill and often struggling instead of being able to close doors on single innings.
The second bit of tough news is that the fielding errors are still plaguing the team at inopportune moments. It isn’t every time but there seems to be the tendency to get sloppy and it makes a difference in critical moments. That’s a “young” problem, and hopefully that gets better as time goes on.
Checksum for the season:
The Hokies have really struggled for the last 10 games. Most analysts seem to break seasons into segments. I sort of hang with the “Last 10” guys. What has the team done over the last 10 games? Where are the numbers?
Well, the Hokies seemed to trip over a base during the North Carolina Weekend. The 5-7 loss on March 23rd (the weekend of the pictures salted through the article). Seems to have delineated the current Tech high watermark. Since then (which coincidentally was 10 games ago) Tech has a rather slumpy looking 2-8 record. There have been a few relatively close games, but overall the numbers don’t show a great deal of recovery from the slide. The win, today, would be a really good opportunity to turn around some of the team’s fortunes.
The W/L for the 2019 season still registers above .500 (.562) with 18 wins and 14 losses. We are still up on away games at 7-6, 9-8 at Home, and 2-0 in neutral territory. The numbers are slipping, though.
It’s time to turn this around. The remaining regular season schedule isn’t a complete bomb out. The Hokies can get some good wins under their belt. Remember, I said at the beginning of the season that .500 would be a seriously good year for Coach Szefc and the Hokies. Let’s hope they can keep ahead of that curve.