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Virginia Tech Hokie Baseball: The 2024 Roster Review

It’s February, and besides the rush to March Madness, it’s another crossover period for the media, because college baseball season starts off in the middle of winter. The first pitch of 2024 will be on the 16th, so let's get to who’s playing, shall we? GO HOKIES!!!

It’s almost time to “Play Ball!”
John Schneider - SB Nation (file)

February is Baseball in Blacksburg

Get your warmies on and prepare to eat that foot long corn dog fast before it freezes, because Hokie baseball starts up again in the middle of February. Let’s not be to loving about this, the college baseball season is probably too long, and starts way too early, but for those of us with a love for the diamond, the crack of the bat (well TINK with these bats), and the slap of the ball hitting a leather glove on a hot shot to 1st for a put out, it’s time to start thinking about getting to Atlantic Union Park, finding a comfortable place to sit, and wait to enjoy America’s Pastime.

This season the Hokies have managed to keep their arms around several returning players, and Coach John Szefc has gathered up a few transfers, especially at pitching, and a promising group of Freshmen to take to the field this season.

We’ll split this into two articles with this one concentrating on the 2024 roster, and then the next article we will do a general review of the schedule with a deep dive into the first third of the schedule. There are approximately 55 games in a season and that means too much to cover in one schedule article.

The General Overview of the Starting Situation

There are no minimizing things in this one, Tech had a good season last year with a positive record of 30-23 but had a disappointing run in the ACC falling short of .500. They were 12 and 17, and many folks feel that they were capable of doing much better. There are legitimate doubts about that particular estimation and a solid winning season might have been the best that an eviscerated Hokie squad could manage. Really, they accomplished much with a lineup of Freshman and Sophomores, a scattering of graduates, and few truly experienced players in the clubhouse.

That seems to be the price that most college teams face as Juniors and Seniors become eligible for the MLB draft and the lure of “The Big Show” compels them to leave school for tiny money in the minor leagues. The reality is that no matter the level of play in the minors, players really don’t make that much and their chances of making the big leagues are exceedingly low. There are just too many farm clubs chasing too few roster positions in the National and American Leagues.

(Personal Opinion here: If it were my sons, and they had baseball talent enough to play college ball with a shot at the pros, I’d tell them to stick it out all the way through college. Get their degrees, and if the MLB (minor leagues) wanted them, they’d go with something in their back pockets. Dreams of huge guaranteed stupid money contracts are largely dreams and need to be pursued with prudence.)

So, Coach Szefc was faced with an almost brand new, inexperienced team in 2023, and did pretty well with the situation. Of course, beating the Wahoos 2 games to 1 during the season sort of sweetened the end result of the ACC schedule a bit, and until the two last series against Clemson (0-3) and Wake Forest (1-2), the Hokies had a good shot to go .500 in the ACC. They did manage to get seeded in the ACC Tournament but lost both games in the double elimination round once to Boston College and once to Clemson (again). It was heart breaking, but predictable.

The Hokies hit a high point with a convincing 3-0 triumph over Florida State, and really never seemed to refocus on winning after that. The wheels had begun to come off the wagon as the season wore on, especially with Drue Hackenberg struggling and the loss of starting pitcher Griffin Green to an undisclosed pitching arm injury. Green is not on the roster to play this season. He’s listed as being on scholarship, but has no number assigned which means he’s in an extended rehab. That’s where the season left off, and where the Hokies are going to have to get back to the very positive work done in the front 2/3rds of 2023.

The Position Players

The Hokies return most of a lineup this season. After a few transfers, graduations and the draft, there are some wonderful players coming back to put another season in the books for Virginia Tech.

2024 Virginia Tech Hokie Baseball Position Players

Number Name Class B/T Position Height Weight Home High School Other Previous School
Number Name Class B/T Position Height Weight Home High School Other Previous School
5 Gehrig Ebel** Sr. R/R C 6' 0" 210 Ooltewah, Tenn. Baylor School
7 Henry Cooke So. R/R C 6' 3" 225 Stuarts Draft, Va. Stuarts Draft / Miller School of Albemarle
40 David McCann Fr. L/R C 6' 0" 185 Trumbull, Conn. Avon Old Farms
3 Christian Martin** Jr. L/R IF 5' 9" 180 Amherst, Va. Amherst County
4 Carson DeMartini** Jr. L/R IF 6' 0" 195 Virginia Beach, Va. Ocean Lakes
18 Warren Holzemer* Jr. R/R IF 5' 10" 187 Burke, Va. Robinson Secondary School
9 Clay Grady** So. R/R IF 5' 9" 170 Suffolk, Va. Nansemond River
25 Garrett Michel** So. L/R IF 6' 0" 205 Denver, N.C. East Lincoln
29 Carrington Aaron Fr. R/R IF 5' 8" 160 Callands, Va. Chatham
11 Eddie Eisert** Sr. S/R IF/OF 6' 2" 205 Fairfax Station, Va. Bishop O'Connell NC State
19 Eddie Micheletti Jr. Sr. L/R IF/OF 6' 1" 215 Wilmington, Del. Wilmington Friends School George Washington
21 Carter Newman* So. R/R IF/OF 6' 0" 170 Woodbridge, Va. Charles J. Colgan Sr.
12 Ethan Gibson Fr. R/R IF/P 6' 0" 182 Abingdon, Va. Abingdon
20 Preston Crowl Fr. R/R IF/P 6' 0" 202 Franklin County, Va. Franklin County
42 Jake Slade Fr. R/R IF/P 6' 4" 170 Purcellville, Va. Loudoun Valley
45 Matt Westley Fr. R/L IF/P 6' 0" 205 Manassas, Va. Charles J. Colgan Sr.
10 Ben Watson Gr. L/L OF 5' 11" 180 West Chester, Pa. Bayard Rustin Elizabethtown
24 Chris Cannizzaro** Gr. R/R OF 5' 10" 175 Staten Island, N.Y. Poly Prep Bucknell
8 Nick Locurto Fr. R/R OF 5' 11" 195 Garnerville, N.Y. Don Bosco Prep
17 Brett Renfrow Fr. R/R OF 6' 3" 225 Manassas, Va. Charles J. Colgan Sr.
50 Mitch Jones Fr. R/R OF 5' 11" 185 Greenville, N.C. Junius H. Rose
2 Sam Tackett** R-Jr. R/R UTL 6' 0" 200 Lexington, Ky. Lafayette
32 Trey Way So. R/R UTL 5' 10" 185 Asheboro, N.C. Randleman
** Returning Players with significant game experience in 2023
* Returning Players with some game experience before this season
Nearly a full lineup with lots of experience returns but lots of new players, too. Gobbler Country from Hokie Sports data

Look for the starting lineup to include infielders; Gehrig Ebel at starting Catcher, Garrett Michel at 1st, Christian Martin at 2nd, Carson DeMartini at 3rd or SS, and Clay Grady at either position, too. Some of these are sort of wild card guesses. As you can see by the chart there are few infielders with experience on the list, and based on last season we could see quite a few new faces on the diamond this season.

The outfield will be some mix of Chris Cannizzaro, and some new faces, with Sam Tackett doing utility duty in either the infield or the outfield as needed. We’ll have to wait and see during the first 3rd of the season as to who Coach Szefc settles on for his usual starters.

Pitching - The Great Unknown

Who is on the bump as a starter, and who is the best lineup of relievers to either throw a pitch by committee game or close out the last innings of a normal series game is going to be seriously up in the air with this roster. With Green out, there are no returning starting pitchers for the Hokies, just a few relievers, so these are mostly all new faces or returning Hokies with very little to no mound appearances.

We won’t hazard a guess for this one, just present the pitching roster and hope for the best this season. Pitching has traditionally been the weakness of most college programs, and Tech definitely has had its ups and downs with it over the last few eons. 2021-2023 saw some good starters all either leave or go down, so we are also going to have to wait and see how this all works out.

Virginia Tech Hokie 2024 Roster - Pitching

Number Name Class B/T Position Height Weight Home High School Other Previous School
Number Name Class B/T Position Height Weight Home High School Other Previous School
15 Jeremy Neff Gr. R/R P 6' 3" 200 West Palm Beach, Fla. Palm Beach Central Richmond
16 Matthew Siverling* Gr. L/L P 6' 5" 215 Matthews, N.C. Charlotte Christian
23 David Shoemaker Gr. R/L P 6' 1" 210 State College, Pa. State College Area Pennsylvania
44 Grant Manning Gr. R/R P 6' 6" 215 Dublin, Calif. Dublin Chapman
47 Carson Ohl Gr. L/R P 6' 3" 175 Simi Valley, Calif. Grace Brethren Grand Canyon
INJ Griffin Green Sr. R/R P 6' 4" 220 Chelmsford, Mass. Phillips Academy
48 Brady Kirtner* R-Jr. R/R P 6' 0" 180 Christiansburg, Va. Christiansburg
33 Jordan Little Jr. L/R P 6' 4" 205 Mint Hill, N.C. Hickory Grove East Carolina
39 Wyatt Parliament Jr. R/R P 6' 4" 215 La Fargeville, N.Y. La Fargeville Central School Rutgers
49 Jacob Stretch Jr. S/R P 6' 0" 190 West Grove, Pa. Avon Groves Frostburg State
INJ Luke Jackman R-So. R/R P 6' 0" 195 McLean, Va. Gonzaga College
13 Jordan Vera So. R/R P 6' 2" 205 Miami, Fla. Elite Squad Academy Mississippi
26 Griffin Stieg* So. R/R P 6' 3" 215 McLean, Va. McLean
27 Ryan Kennedy* So. R/R P 6' 5" 225 Manassas, Va. Charles J. Colgan Sr.
30 Andrew Sentlinger* So. L/L P 6' 2" 205 Charlotte, N.C. Ardrey Kell
35 JT Gibson So. R/L P 6' 4" 215 McLean, Va. St. John's College
37 Jacob Exum* So. R/R P 6' 4" 200 Virginia Beach, Va. Miller School of Albemarle
31 Madden Clement Fr. L/L P 6' 2" 200 Butler, Pa. Butler Area Sr.
38 Justin Herbstman Fr. L/L P 6' 2" 195 Old Bridge, N.J. Old Bridge
43 Ryan Buckler Fr. R/R P 6' 0" 163 Marstons Mills, Mass. The Winchendon School
51 Garrett Mason Fr. R/R P 6' 3" 213 Henrico, Va. Mills E. Godwin
* Returning Players with Game Experience
Very few returners with experience, and lots of new names. Gobbler Country from Hokie Sports Data

So, that’s the 2024 Hokie Baseball Roster. Next up we look at the schedule and go over the first 3rd of the season. It’s all a huge guess work because the starting lineup might be familiar faces, but there are enough new ones in the mix to make it an analytical fog bank.

But that’s what actually playing ball is all about, isn’t it?