Other than the Weather and Crowds, It Just wasn’t a Good Night in Either Stadium
It would be really nice to have reported some great results on such a beautiful early Spring evening in Blacksburg. The crowd at Atlantic Union Park was good, and enthusiastic. There was a good attendance level at the Softball complex, too. Unfortunately, neither crowd found any joy in the results from either team.
The Softball Team was Just Over Matched and No Offense was to be found for the Lady Hokies last evening. The Lady Volunteers of Tennessee are ranked 5th and served up some notice that the top 10 teams are far and away better than the 2nd 10 in the rankings.
FINAL (5) Tennesse 11, VT 0— Virginia Tech Softball (@HokiesSoftball) April 12, 2023
Hokies are back in action this Friday at Notre Dame. pic.twitter.com/aToVbBteNa
Some games pitching just eats outgoing shots, and Emma Lemley just had one of those unfortunate trips to the circle. They happen. This would have been a great win, but the loss isn’t unexpected. The magnitude of it was disappointing for them, though. The weekend is coming and it’s time for the team to get back on track. The team is still 31-10 overall for the season and still 11-4 in the ACC. The loss is no reason to panic, but it is a warning that the season is far past halfway with 12 games left, and the team heads to South Bend to face off in a critical ACC series against always dangerous Notre Dame.
The Baseball Team Just Didn’t have “IT”, Either, with a 7-3 Loss to Liberty
We attended the game as fans, in my spiffy white Hokies baseball shirt and ACC Regular Championship Tee - with the white, orange, and maroon Hokie Bird hat that was such good luck last season. It even matched the team’s headgear. Yeesh, not doing that again.
The game started off on the wrong foot with the pitch-by-committee being ramped up by normally solid Grant Umberger (lefty reliever) on the bump. There was immediate concern for those of us directly behind home plate, though. Grant was missing the plate in warmups. The ball was consistently between the plate and the left-handed batter’s box, and he just wasn’t getting it, short of starting catcher Brody Donay lining up between the right-handed batter’s box and the plate. And then the ball was still on the outer edge of the plate. Maybe the pitching coach needed to intervene and pull him from the mound at that point, but Umberger, unfortunately loaded the bags with errant pitches and 2 walks and two hits - one a deep double to finish clearing the bases and plate the final two of the three runs on the bags pretty much sealed the trip to the mound by Coach Szefc, who had previously called for a replay on a missed tag at the plate which would have been the third out.
So, Grant had one of “those” games along with Emma on the softball field, and both of them will shake it off and get back to the good path. He wasn’t the only pitcher on the staff to have problems who normally doesn’t have them. Reliever Jonah Hurney struggled in the 7th and helped set up a game sealing 4 run inning for the Flames.
The Problem wasn’t as much pitching, as it was a total lack of realistic sustained offense. The Hokies faced a starting Liberty pitcher who could best be described as being so bad he was accidentally good. The Hokie sticks just couldn’t make meaningful contact. Even though their starter beaned two batters, he managed to strike out three and hold Tech to 1 run in 2 innings of work. His ball placement was nonexistent. He was all over the place, and it wasn’t on purpose. However, it worked and that set the offensive tone for the remainder of the game for the Hokie bats. Other than a booming 7th inning Home Run that would have been the tying run if there hadn’t been a melt down at the top of the inning, Jack Hurley was nearly the only big offense for the game.
Okay! Erase All of That! The Yellow Jackets are Coming to English Field on Friday
The Jackets are normally a very good program that seems to be in a bit of a quiet period, mirroring the Hokies in many respects. They roll into Blacksburg for a three game ACC series starting Friday. It’s a prime opportunity for a series win for the Hokies, and also a potential sweep, but the pitching is going to have to settle back down, and someone needs to go find the Hokies’ hammers because they misplaced them on Tuesday.
We’ll definitely be covering the Friday and Sunday Games. Maybe we’ll get some time in for Saturday but with the Spring Football Game coverage there might not be enough in the way of legs and knees for yours’ truly.
We’ll be writing a ton, over the weekend and into next week, and editing lots of pictures. Who said the Spring was boring for sports?