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Virgina Tech Hokies Baseball Starts Off with a Series Win over Charleston: 2-1

It wasn’t a glorious start for game one, but game 2 and three were blowouts. Tech starts the 2023 season with a bit of a worrisome whiff fest but finishes strong. GO HOKIES!!!

The opening 13 game home stand is coming up.
John Schneider - SB Nation (file)

That was Worrisome!

The Hokie baseball season finally opened with a road trip to Charleston, South Carolina and a matchup against Charleston College. These early games are all warm-ups as noted in the first schedule review, and you don’t really know how the team will respond to the new season. Well, Game 1 didn’t turn out the way that Tech anticipated. The series was a strong possibility for a sweep. The Hokies tripped over home plate to start, and seemed to have left the bats on the wrong truck which evidently thought it was West Virginia, not South Carolina. (humor there folks...) We say that in jest, but the reality is that the Hokies weren’t bringing anything approaching the description of a bat to the contest.

Virginia Tech vs. Charleston College: Game 1 (Feb 17th)

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 0 2 3 1
>>Charleston 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 X 5 4 1
NO BATS!!! Two runs on three measly hits! Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

Totaling only two hits isn’t really grand, but until Charleston popped a game breaking grand salami, in the bottom of the 6th, off of a combination of relievers Jonah Hurney and Kiernan Higgins the Hokies had a 2-1 lead and a really quality start from starting pitcher Griffin Green.

Hokie Pitching for Game 1

Player Innings Hits Runs Earned Walks KOs Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Hits Runs Earned Walks KOs Wild Stuff Plonks
Virginia Tech
Green, Griffin 4.2 2 1 1 3 5 1 0
Hurney, Jonah (L, 0-1) 0.2 0 2 2 1 1 0 1
Higgins, Kiernan 1.1 2 2 2 1 2 0 0
Siverling, Matthew 0.2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Kirtner, Brady 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 4 5 5 6 9 1 1
It was a quality start for Green, Hurney gets nailed for the loss. Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

Even with the 4 Charleston runs, Tech still had a chance, but the bats just didn’t show up to make the three-run turn necessary to win.

We’ve said this before, baseball is the epitome of the long game and beating your average performance. That means winning series, not necessarily sweeping. Well, the brooms got tossed in the trash on the way out of Charleston’s ball park last Friday. Saturday the Hokies were going to have to find that truck load of bats. It still wasn’t the best way to start the season.


Game 2 was tonic. Maybe there was a little discussion in the post-game skull session over not wasting good starting pitching with no offensive backup. Maybe the bats ended up rolling up to the hotel parking lot, but the explosion of scoring in Game 2 was much appreciated by the Hokie pitching staff, and Hokie Nation for getting back on the winning track after tripping over home plate in the opener.

Virginia Tech vs. Charleston College: Game 2 (Feb 18th)

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 1 0 0 0 2 5 4 0 12 12 1
Charleston 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 7 3
That was much better, thank you! Hokie Sports, Gobbler Country

The game started off in fairly mundane fashion. Starting pitcher Drue Hackenberg wasn’t pitching blue flame, but he was controlling the situation well and put up four solid innings. He did run into an issue in the 5th, with the Hokies in a very narrow 1-0 lead as the 5th inning opened. Remember, early starting pitching isn’t all stretched out and pushing past four innings in the opening weeks can be an issue. Charleston started ‘seeing’ Hack, working counts, and making connections.

It all started with a lead off error putting a man on 1st, which always comes back to bite. After a sacrifice bunt, a single and a double, Charleston evened it up and passed the Hokies 2-1. Coach Szefc pulled Hack before things got too bad, and Henry Weycker came in to relieve him. Henry had a misfire, early and the wild pitch plated another run that was also in the “unearned” category. (I was never convinced of that label... It’s not like the run counts for less in the final score.) But that was it, Weycker got the next out on three swinging strikes, and the Hokie offense had some serious work to do. Which it hadn’t been doing up to this point in the game, again.

Weycker’s relief lasted the entire remainder of the game, and aside from his initial wild pitch event, he buckled down and was throwing serious stuff with 10Ks, 3 hits, and a walk. For those who can’t count, that’s pretty amazing stuff. His arm generated all of the outs for 2 innings (7th, and 8th). He KO’d two in the 6th - and induced a groundout. Of course, he closed the game with a big swinging strikeout.

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
Hackenberg, Drue 4.2 4 3 1 2 4 1 0
Weycker, Henry (W, 1-0) 4.1 3 0 0 1 10 1 0
Totals 7 3 1 3 14 2 0
Hack got in a sticky situation, Weycker bailed the Hokies out. Good team work Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

The offense in the beginning still was a tad on the lethargic side. The Hokies were just not making much in the way of solid contact and didn’t put more than one runner on base due to solid contact before the 6th inning. (They did have 2 runners on to score their run in the 2nd but that was on an error.) The top of the 6th the Hokie bats seemed to wake up a bit. Carson DeMartini started a short 2 out rally with a single after working an 8 pitch at-bat. Jack Hurley promptly came up with a deep ball, and tripled to tie it up because DeMartini scored, and Hurley made it home on what was called a throwing error instead of an inside the parker. That tied it 3 all and got Drue off the L list. The inning ended but it was tied up at 3-3 and there was hope that the team was finally starting to make contact and cross the plate.

The top of the 7th started off with something more typical of last year’s offensive performance. A new stick showed up at the plate, and DH Garrett Michel opened the inning with a lead-off double. Charleston’s pitching loaded the bases with two walks in a row to Eddie Eisert and Gehrig Ebel. That necessitated a Charleston pitching change. Loaded bags and no outs will often do that. That didn’t work. Lineup leadoff, David Bryant, finally made some solid contact and rapped a single up the right side which is perfect for scoring two runs. Michel and Eisert scampered across the plate, and Ebel did the catcher’s amble to third base from first. Then another new face and name checked in because transfer, Chris Cannizzaro, checked in with his stick for a double which scored Ebel. Cannizzaro would cross the plate on a Carson Jones RBI knock.

By the end of the inning, the Hokies had batted around the order +1 batter, scored 7 in the inning, and finally found their lumber. The score was a promising 8-3.

Hokies Box Score for Game 2

Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Free Bags Kos Stranded
Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Free Bags Kos Stranded
SS Bryant, David 4 2 1 2 1 2 0
PH/SS #Grady, Clay 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
LF Cannizzaro, Chris 3 2 2 2 2 0 0
PH/1B #Tackett, Sam 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
3B DeMartini, Carson 5 2 2 1 0 0 1
CF Hurley, Jack 4 3 2 2 1 0 0
RF Jones, Carson 4 0 1 2 1 0 0
2B Malinowski, Eduardo 4 0 0 0 1 1 1
DH Michel, Garrett 4 1 3 2 1 1 0
1B/LF Eisert, Eddie 4 1 0 0 1 0 6
C Ebel, Gehrig 3 1 0 0 1 0 0
PH/C #Donay, Brody 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Totals 38 12 12 11 9 5 8
The ball got rolling or flying as the case may be... Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

The Hokies would put four more runs on the scoreboard in the top of the 8th, which pretty much salted away the game because other than inconsequential hits, Henry Weycker was tossing a gem in relief. The game ended with Weycker notching the win, and the Hokies getting off of that embarrassing opener.

The Events are Nice and Healthy for This one, but it was all small and in the park ball:

At the Plate:

Doubles: Cannizzaro, Chris (1); Michel, Garrett (1)

Triples: Hurley, Jack (1)

On the Bags:

Stolen Bases: Jones, Carson (1)

Picked Off: Hurley, Jack (1)

The Hokie Hammer Reappears for 2023

Game 3 not only was the rubber game of the series, it was also the test of whether or not the contact was contagious for the Hokies. Often, for Tech, the Sunday “getaway” game also ends up being a “pitch by committee” event. This is especially true since starting pitchers are rare, and early starting pitching going more than 4 or 5 innings is nearly unheard of.

Virginia Tech vs. Charleston College: Game 3 - February 19th

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 7 1 0 0 1 4 15 10 0
Charleston 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 10 6
The Hokie Hammers showed up for this one. Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

The Hokies did get a bit of a slow start in the third game. Charleston worked out a single two-out run to jump into the lead in the 1st inning. The Hokies managed one double (Catcher - Brody Donay) for the first two innings. There wasn’t too much to get concerned about, though, Tech, has been famous for needing to work into a pitcher before they start tagging the ball. Eventually, as the Hokie pitching held with Anthony Arguelles on the mound, Tech’s offense lit off.

Hokie Pitching for Game 3

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Arguelles, Anthony 4 4 1 1 2 6 1 0
Umberger, Grant (W, 1-0) 3 3 0 0 1 2 0 0
Stieg, Griffin 2 3 1 1 1 3 0 0
Totals 10 2 2 4 11 1 0
Solid pitching from the Sunday committee Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

The top of the 3rd was owned by second baseman Christian Martin - not for long ball heroics, but for rapping a critical leadoff single to get the blood flowing and a man on base with no outs. Shortstop David Bryant thumped a double up the right field line which allowed Martin to pull up at third, just a contact play away from tying up the game.

Chris Cannizzaro drove a sacrifice fly deep enough to score Martin and allow Bryant to get to third. Then Carson DeMartini repeated the process that allowed Bryant to tag up and score. The inning ended striking out after working the count up to six pitches. The Hokies had the lead and didn’t give it up, though.

Hokie Box Score for Game 3

Position Player Ups Plates Knocks RBI Free Bags Whiffs Stranded
Position Player Ups Plates Knocks RBI Free Bags Whiffs Stranded
SS Bryant, David 4 1 1 0 0 1 0
PH/SS #Grady, Clay 2 0 1 1 0 0 0
LF Cannizzaro, Chris 5 1 1 1 0 0 1
3B DeMartini, Carson 2 1 0 1 1 0 0
PH #Holzemer, Warren 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
3B #Donlon, Lucas 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CF Hurley, Jack 5 1 1 3 0 3 2
RF Jones, Carson 3 2 0 0 1 0 0
DH Michel, Garrett 3 2 2 1 0 1 0
PH/DH #Sparber, Chris 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
C Donay, Brody 4 1 1 0 0 1 0
C #Cooke, Henry 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
1B Eisert, Eddie 3 1 1 2 0 1 1
PH/1B #Tackett, Sam 1 2 0 1 1 0 0
2B Martin, Christian 5 1 2 2 0 1 0
Totals 39 15 10 12 3 8 5
BOOM!!! Hokie Sports/Gobbler Country

Their pitching held well, and Charleston didn’t score again until they worked a lone run in the bottom of the eighth. In the meantime the Hokies’ bats found the range and the team exploded for 7 runs in their half of the 4th inning, and one in each of the 5th and 8th to salt away the game. You’d have thought that would be the end, but the Hokies hung a 4 up on the scoreboard the top of the 9th to emphatically slam the door on Charleston and nab the series 2 games to 1.

Game 3 Event Tracker

The Hokies finally got that offensive explosion that they were looking for. If Game 2 was small ball with some medium stuff worked in, Game 3 was Hammerin’ Hokie time. The Hokies managed 4 doubles and four taters. There were lots of RBIs going around, and Michel Garrett had a big, long ball day with a double and a dinger. Christian Martin checked the box with a single and a double.


Doubles: Bryant, David (1); Michel, Garrett (1); Donay, Brody (1); Martin, Christian (1)

Home Runs: Hurley, Jack (1); Michel, Garrett (1); Eisert, Eddie (1)

Sacrifice Flies: Cannizzaro, Chris (1); DeMartini, Carson (1)

On the Bags

Stolen Bases: Cannizzaro, Chris (1)

Caught Stealing: Jones, Carson (1)

Hit by Pitch: Jones, Carson (1); Sparber, Chris (1); Cooke, Henry (1)

The Hokies finished up the series with some momentum building. The first game was disappointing, sure, but ultimately - in two different ways - Virginia Tech showed that they still have an explosive offense that must be respected.

It’s early in the season and East Tennessee State is visiting, this afternoon.