Game 1: Hokies 3 and Kent State 1
It was a really special day for your Virginia Tech Hokies Baseball Team. There is almost never an opportunity to open the season at home. Usually the Hokies are playing a tournament somewhere in the deep south, mostly to avoid the normally cold and inclement Blacksburg mid-February weather. The actual series was supposed to be 3 games and they were supposed to be played starting Friday, but that weather we were talking about reared up and coated us with ice for a few days. Sunday, there was a nice respite, and Kent State agreed to a shortened two game double header. Game One was not the most exciting of baseball contests, but the W dropped into the Hokies’ Box Score chart, and it was a good start to the 2021 season.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs, Kent State Golden Flashes - Game 1
The opener started at 11:05, and the sunshine didn’t do much to stop the numbing cold from creeping into the hands and back. The Hokies number 1 starting pitcher the returning Chris Gerrard was on the mound, and he seemed to be having a bit of a low and right targeting problem. He was close enough that Kent State didn’t manage to connect too many times in too many critical situations, but pitching is not a cold weather operation, and Gerrard was often trying to pitch himself out of trouble.
The Hokie offense was as cold as the temperature at English Field, too. Fortunately Coach Szefc is a big fan of small ball, and his constant teaching of the “manufacture” a run offense resulted in Tech jumping out to a one run lead by turning a lead off walk by Brennan Reback into a stolen base, and then a sacrifice by Gavin Cross advanced Reback to third with 1 out. And a sacrifice RBI to 2nd by Kevin Madden got Reback across the plate.
Kent State evened it up in the top of the third, with a 2 out walk and then a deep double that resulted in a score from first base. The Hokies would get the lead back in the bottom of the 5th with their own walk/double combination, this time by Cade Swisher with Tanner Schobel contributing the stick.
The Hokies managed to grab another run in the bottom of the 6th when Kevin Madden managed a 1 out knock, and the Kent State pitching walked him around the bases to home. The Hokies didn’t do much else with the full bags, but the 2 run lead by the end of the second 3rd of the game and Kent State not managing any effective offensive combinations resulted in a nice opening 3-1 win for the Home Town Hokies.
The last out was a deep fly ball that probably should have never happened for some reason a one out force at 3rd was followed by a long throw to first, instead of a shorter throw to the force out at second. Well the coaches will have to think about that call. But it all ended with the HOKIES WIN! on the scoreboard so no harm, no foul... as it were.
Game 2: Hokies 9 and Kent State 2
Well, 62 year old men with severe arthritis and a serious case of numb feet can hang for one game, and maybe more in the heat of late Spring, but with temperatures hovering in the mid 30’s and the wind blowing in from the outfield picking up, the old man needed to have enough umph to walk back to the car and get the first game pictures sorted.
Virginia Tech hokies vs. Kent State Golden Flashes - Game 2
So, the report for the 2nd game is going to be pretty short. You can pick up the box score on Hokie Sports but there should be some mention of the general highlights of the game. Starting pitcher Anthony Simonelli came up with a nice quality start, and got credit for the win.
The batting and baserunning charts looked much healthier for Game 2.
Dingers: Gavin Cross (1)
On the Bags
Bag Heists: Fritz Genther (2)
Caught Stealing: Jonah Seagears (1)
Smacked with the ball: Kevin Madden (1)
The Hokies managed a nice pulse of runs with 3 in the bottom of the first to jump out to a healthy lead that they never gave up. Kent State didn’t really get close, because Tech pushed 2 runs across in the bottom of the 2nd. Kent State did look like it might manage to put a dent in the Tech lead with a 3-hit, 2 run rally in the top of the 6th, but that was the sum total of their offense for the game. The Hokies added 4 runs between the 7th and 8th innings, and there was no 9th inning rally for the Golden Flashes this time. They went 3 up and 3 down to end the game. The Hokies broke out the broom, and then the dust pan because they swept the shortened series and the double header (and we all know how rare sweeping double headers is...).
Next up, if the weather holds, we have our cross county rivals and family coming to English Field at Atlantic Union Park, as the Hokies host the Radford Highlanders for a spirited non-conference matchup that is always close. The first pitch is scheduled for 2pm on the 23rd of February. The old man still has to work the job, before having fun at the ball park so that’s going to be a straight report with no pics. We’ll keep you up to date.