Sorry, for the Delays with the Baseball Updates. Women’s Basketball and All
This isn’t going to be a huge, long report because the Hokie Baseball team seems to have dropped into a hole that hopefully the VMI game (never easy) will help with the rhythm and get them back to winning.
Virginia Tech has played six games since we last checked in, and the last five unfortunately have constituted a major skid. The big problem seems to be synchronization between the pitching effort and the offensive effort, accompanied by pitching issues in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. The combination of bad ju-ju started on Saturday March 11th, and just kept on poisoning the well.
It all seemed to start with a serious blow to the head called a double-header. The weekend of March 10-12 was, frankly, terrible weather in the Northeast. that bad weather stretched down the coast and threatened to make Boston College’s return home bad, but also the game conditions in Blacksburg for Sunday were projected to be awful. The teams agreed to a double header on Saturday during marginal but playable weather, and that just seemed to knock the spinning gyro off of the stand.
The BC Series Started Off with the Hokie Hammers Out Then - FOOP
Game 1 of the series on Friday March 10th was played in decent enough weather, and the Hokies managed to bring their “A” game offense for at least two innings of the contest. The Hokies scored a grand total of 13 runs with 7 in the 3rd, and 5 in the 8th. Maybe they should have saved that 8th inning work for at least one game on Saturday.
✅— Virginia Tech Baseball (@HokiesBaseball) March 10, 2023
≫ #Hokies ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/yz2u5ihEEh
Because as good as the Hokies were at stopping the BC winning streak, the Eagles got serious revenge, stopping the Hokie winning streak on Saturday. The story of the first game was not only the offense, but also the quality start for recently struggling Griffin Green. He was finally throwing tough stuff to hit and that buoyed the Hokies a bit and offered a bit of relief for the bull pen.
Games 2 and Game 3 Were Two Different Kinds of Pain
The Hokies hammers went from sledges to tacks and the story of the game was the shaky start for Drue Hackenberg as he was shelled in the 2nd and 3rd innings for five total runs. Coach Szefc, wanting to save his bull pen for Game 2 of the DH left Hackenberg in for 6 and a third innings, but he gave up four earned runs and errors generated two more. The Hokies only managed five scattered runs across the game, and that meant Tech was going to need to win Game 2 to grab the series.
'— Virginia Tech Baseball (@HokiesBaseball) March 11, 2023
Game ✌️ will start in approximately 40 minutes#Hokies ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/jHoRGvATjG
Game 2 of the DH (Game 3 of the Series) Less Offense and a Bull Pen Meltdown
There was some hope in Game 2 of the DH. Anthony Arguelles got the start and went five full innings in what is usually a two or three inning, pitch-by-committee outing. He gave up only two runs, both earned, and five more or less scattered hits. It, by all measures, was a solid start. Unfortunately, the Hokie offense left the lumber back in the clubhouse back storage room and generated a paltry 3 runs for the game. That meant that BC’s bats only needed to generate 2 those two runs in the sixth to take the lead. BC put up another 4 in the top of the 7th and with no one hitting much of anything of consequence in the Hokie lineup, the game was all but over, then. Tech had dropped its first series of the season, and there just seemed to be a general deflation that occurred.
#Hokies ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/HPTcYutfZi— Virginia Tech Baseball (@HokiesBaseball) March 12, 2023
Not Our Day, Indeed. And Not Our Week, Either
The entire week of March 12-19 was pure magic for the Women’s basketball program, and a complete mess for the baseball team. The first problem was a weather curveball that knocked out the mid-week game at ETSU. That game gave the Hokies a bit of a shot at getting the rhythm back and figuring out how to make solid contact again. The loss of that opportunity did not help with the long trip down to Coral Gables. That series was just one bitter disappointment after another.
Game 1 in Miami was Another Quality Start for Griffin Green. He did give up 7 hits and a 2 runs which given the offensive potential of the Hurricanes wasn’t a horrid start. The Hokies even managed to lead the game, limping, but leading into the bottom of the 7th when Miami tied it up. Tech just couldn’t manage to score any more runs, and before the tie went into extra innings Miami walked it off in the bottom of the 9th. The story of the game was the quality pitching effort that just didn’t sync up with the offense for support.
Hokies vs. Hurricanes - Game 1
Game 2 was a Royal Shelling - They Happen... Unfortunately
There isn’t much point it belaboring the entire issue, the 2nd game was a complete meltdown by the Hokie pitching staff from Drue Hackenberg to the relievers involved. When a staff gives up 21 runs on 23 hits there just isn’t a whole lot of individual finger-pointing to do. It just happens in baseball, and the team just has to get back up and go to the next game.
Hokies vs. Hurricanes - Game 2
Game 3 was Almost a Split Salvage, and Almost a Stop to the Skid...
Hurricanes vs. Hokies - Game 3
The game wasn’t lost on offense, that’s for sure. It was a pitch-by-committee slow fizzle that eventually gave up enough runs to drop the game for the Hokies. Sorry for that description the pitching just didn’t hold up, and a 9-run effort was erased by 12 plated by them. That’s why I am talking about synchronization of the performance curves.
This was a nice offensive effort by the Hokies, however.
At the Plate
Home Runs: DeMartini, Carson (2); Jones, Carson (1); Michel, Garrett (1); Tackett, Sam (1)
Put Outs: Hurley, Jack (1)
The problem was, the Hokies were living by the long ball, and the small ball game is still not getting done. Tech is having difficulty using three outs to score 1 to 3 critical runs by getting on base, moving the runners, and getting the critical points on the board. So far, it’s been the long ball or no ball.
The Hokies host the VMI Keydets this evening starting at about the time this article publishes. Good luck to them, because VMI has proven to be a tough challenge, and Tech really needs to halt this skid. They have dropped out of the polling for the top 25, and until they start winning consistently, again, are unlikely to reappear for a while.