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#7 Virginia Tech Hokies Baseball Takes the Series with the #11 Wahoos 2 - 1

Not only did the Hokies manage to win the series in Hooville for the first time that anyone knows about, but it also clinched the Commonwealth Clash for the first time since 2018. No game was a dominant

Pitching and batting - the baseball thing
John Schneider - SB Nation (File)

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Virginia Cavaliers - Game 1 - April 29th

It was off to Hooville (oddly exit 118B off of I-64 for the unaware Blacksburg/Christiansburg is exist 118B off if I-81) for the big Commonwealth Clash series for the Hammerin’ Hokies. There were only two points available left after this series, so besides ACC standing, and overall college baseball visibility, there was a measure of pride on the line. The Hokies haven’t taken the Clash prize since 2018.

The best way to show up at the other guy’s house is to kick in the door. The Hokies took the trip up 81 and East on 64 with a bit of an attitude, it seems.

Hokies vs. Wahoos - Game 1

Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
>>Virginia Tech 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 5 7 0
Virginia 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 8 1
Winning the first game in a road series is critical Hokie Sports

The Hokies managed to keep the offense churning by getting someone on base in each of its first half innings. No, they didn’t score until the top of the 3rd but the pressure was there it was small ball pressure - singles and working walks, taking advantage of errors, but the point is to get men on base and eventually something positive in the runs department is bound to happen.

It did when Carson DeMartini took out the Hokie Hammer and dropped a tater over right center wall to get things rolling. Then Tanner Schobel and Nick Biddison worked two walks for which Jack Hurley earned an RBI with a single. Opening a 2 - 0 lead on a good team like the Wahoos is bad, it’s worse when that team is better than good - and the Hoos are consistently excellent.

The Hoos managed to plate a run by getting Hokie starter Griffin Green in a bit of a pinch. They worked some small ball into getting a player across the plate before Green managed to get them to give up their third out.

Hokie Offensive Numbers for Game 1

Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Walks KOs Stranded
Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Walks KOs Stranded
RF Nick Biddison 4 2 2 1 1 0 2
CF Gavin Cross 5 0 0 0 0 4 0
SS Tanner Schobel 4 0 0 0 1 4 1
LF Jack Hurley 5 0 1 1 0 2 1
2B Eduardo Malinowski 3 0 0 0 1 1 2
C Cade Hunter 3 1 0 0 1 0 0
DH Conor Hartigan 3 1 1 1 1 1 0
1B Lucas Donlon 4 0 1 1 0 1 0
3B Carson DeMartini 3 1 2 1 1 0 2
TOTALS 34 5 7 5 6 13 8
It wasn’t long ball, but patient small ball Hokie Sports

But Green took that lesson to heart, and essentially closed the door on the Wahoos while the Hokie bats kept up the steady small ball pressure with two RBI doubles by Connor Hartigan and Lucas Donlon. That stretched the lead to three runs with a third of the game to go, and no signs that starter Green was flagging. He kept hanging goose eggs and the Hokies kept up the contact pressure.

The scoring ended in the 9th inning for both teams. The Hokies’ Nick Biddison rang up a solo shot, and then the Hoos ran into one on reliver Graham Firoved. Graham was the quiet pitching second star of this series with this Save, and a door slamming win in Game 3.

Game 1 Offensive Highlights

Hitting:

Doubles: Conor Hartigan (1); Lucas Donlon (1)

Home Runs: Nick Biddison (1); Carson DeMartini (1)

The Hokies’ combination of Green and Firoved dominated the game from the mound and held a normally high-powered Virginia offense to 2 runs. The Hokies led from the first time that they scored until the last out of the game was called. That definitely makes an impression on the home team, and it would show as the weekend progressed.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Virginia Cavaliers - Game 2 - April 30th

You are absolutely going to lose in baseball. You might not lose a bunch, but at some point something is going to give and the game doesn’t go your way. Drue Hackenberg has been lights out for the entire season. He was 8-0 for the year and his ERA required a microscope to find. There was going to be “one of those” games (or in his case innings) that put some patina on the magic.

Hokies vs. Wahoos - Game 2

Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Virginia Tech 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 6 0
>>Virginia 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 0 X 6 9 0
Loses come in baseball, took a while for Drue, though Hokie Sports

Game 2 was somewhat of a downer, but not for the loss. We all know those come, it was sort of a bummer because the Hammers were left somewhere in the hotel parking lot next to the ice cream wagon and the pool maintenance truck. Hackenberg’s start was pretty nice, however. He had hung up three innings of zeros on the Wahoos and looked like he was going to keep up that egg in his record as well. EXCEPT by the 4th it seems the Cavalier bats were beginning to find Drue’s stuff. He gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 4th and seemed to shake it off by closing the inning without another run going across the plate.

His 5th inning effort wasn’t happening, however. The Cavs took advantage of a 2-out letdown that allowed them to score four runs with two outs hung on the scoreboard. Hackenberg was pulled after a wild pitch and he gave up a two RBI single. It’s all part of the game, we’ll see how he adjusts to it next Saturday when he starts again. All was fine but for one out in one inning.

Hokie Pitching for Game 2

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player IP H R ER BB SO WP HBP
Drue Hackenberg (L, 8-1) 4.2 9 6 6 1 7 1 0
Grant Umberger 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Christian Worley 2 0 0 0 1 2 1 1
Ryan Metz 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Sean Fisher 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Brady Kirtner 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 9 6 6 4 9 2 2
Drue Hackenberg gets his first L Hokie Sports

The Hokie offense just never caught any sort of real momentum, even with a two-run 6th inning and a Gavin Cross lead-off homerun in the 9th that failed to ignite any sort of rally. The Hokies just lost the magic pixie dust to sprinkle on the bats for this one.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Virginia Cavaliers - Game 3 - May 1st

Game 3 was the rubber game, the series determiner, the big hurtle of grabbing a major series win in the ACC and a winning record in the conference over ranked teams. Tech took the field and unfortunately looked very much like they did in Game 2. The bats were just not doing their magic for the beginning of this game. It got worse when the Wahoos came out firing and knocked starting reliever after giving up 2 runs in the 1st, and then another 2 runs in the 2nd without getting an out in that inning. The game looked to be in serious doubt. Even with the pitching finally having settled down and Henry Weycker putting up 4 13 scoreless innings, the Hokie offense just hadn’t managed to do much of anything spectacular.

Hokies vs. Wahoos for the Rubber Game of the Series

Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
>>Virginia Tech 0 0 0 2 2 0 3 0 0 7 11 0
Virginia 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 7 0
A big Sunday comeback for the series Hokie Sports

There was steady pressure, though. By the top of the 7th the Hokies had worked a run an inning to slowly claw back the four given up early in the first two innings. Then, as he often does, Gavin Cross put the fifth pitch in his lead-off at-bat over the wall right field wall. It broke the tie, and the scoring dam, too.

Game 3 Hokie Offensive Highlights

Batting:

Doubles: Gavin Cross (1); Tanner Schobel (1)

Homers: Gavin Cross (1)

Sacrifices: Carson DeMartini (1), Jack Hurley (1); Eduardo Malinowski (1)

After getting some baserunners on the bags, both Cade Hunter and Lucas Donlon each managed RBI singles that stretched the lead to three runs at 7-4 before the inning closed. That’s not much of a lead, but it was enough for a pitching name familiar in this series, Graham Firoved. He had relieved Weycker in the middle of the 6th, and now was on the mound to stay for the remainder of the game. The Hoos did manage a solo shot, but that was the sum total of their rally back hopes. Firoved managed with a mix of strikeouts, flyouts (one pop), and a grounder without piling up a ton of pitches (47) for working 3 and a 1/3d innings.

Hokie Pitching Came through after a rocky start

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Jordan Geber 1 3 4 4 1 2 0 0
Henry Weycker 4.2 2 0 0 2 3 0 0
Graham Firoved (W, 2-0) 3.1 2 1 1 1 5 1 0
TOTALS 7 5 5 4 10 1 0
Game 3 Pitching for the Hokies Hokie Sports

The series was a team win. There was no domination from either team. Every single run and out counted in this one. There is something major that changed in this team after the five-game skid back in mid-March. Back then there seemed to be some sort of morale sag. Something like seasonal affected syndrome or the Winter blahs just before Spring blooms. The team shook it off and won the Pitt series and has never lost another for the season.

This steady four run comeback in a Sunday pitch-by-committee away game to take a critical ACC series shows Hokie Nation that this team has something special about it. Not only do they play baseball until the absolute last out, but they play every game that way.

The Hokies did a few more things than just take another ACC series win home, it also sealed the Commonwealth Clash points between us and the Hoos for the first time since 2018. There are two more ACC series (Louisville and Duke - the regular season finale) There are some mid-week games left and a weekend series against Villanova upcoming, too. This week the Hokies were listed as ranked 5th by D1Baseball.

Since when are we used to seeing that, especially this late in the season.

That definitely deserves a loud and emphatic...

GO HOKIES!!!

Next up, Marshall on the road in Huntington to complete the two-game home and home and then Villanova visits for the long homestand until the season wraps.