Virginia Tech dives back into midweek action at VMI
Tuesday’s game between the Hokies and Keydets will air live on ESPN+ with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. Fans can also tune in to WRAD-FM 101.7 to listen to the game called by Tech Baseball’s play-by-play radio voice, Evan Hughes.
|Mar.||March 29||6 p.m.||VMI||ESPN+||WRAD-FM 101.7|
• Tuesday: Ryan Okuda (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. JT Inskeep (0-0, 2.08 ERA)
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
• Midweek Mania: Virginia Tech is 3-1 midweek this season and heads to Tuesday’s tilt at Lexington hoping for its first such victory away from English Field. In four midweek contests this spring, the Hokies batted .300 and hit .477 to their opponents’ respective marks of .234 and .305. True freshman third baseman Carson DeMartini leads Tech in the middle of the week, having gone 7 for 14 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and team-leading totals in both runs scored (six) and RBIs (five). Jack Hurley (4 for 10), Gavin Cross (6 for 17) and Tanner Schobel (5 for 15) each hit north of .300 during midweek play, with Cross scoring two doubles and one of his ACC-leading four triples. Nearly half of Tech’s 34 stolen bases have been stolen in midweek games this season at perfect pace: 16 for 16. On the mound, fifth-year left-hander ryan kennedy leads the Hokies in innings pitched midweek (11.0), sporting a 1-0 record and 1.64 ERA to go along with his seven strikeouts. Like Kennedy, Jonas Hurney feasted on midweek batting out of Tech’s bullpen, producing nine strikeouts, no walks and a .158 opposing batting average while securing the Hokies’ only save of the season.
• Ride high: Unable to finish its weekend streak at No. 12 Notre Dame, Virginia Tech is still riding the peak of Friday’s magical win over the Irish. Jack Hurley’s A solo home run in the eighth inning — his second of the game and ninth of the season — prompted the Hokies to score seven unanswered runs and turn their 5-3 deficit into a 10-5 win. Tanner Schobel connected on the brace before Tech scored five more points in a wild goal-laden rally that culminated in Notre Dame’s three-point error on by Nick Holesa hit ball. Since the start of the 2021 season, Tech is 8-9 against ranked opponents in D1Baseball‘s top 25, dominating four of six regular-season series. During their current four-game winning streak, the Hokies are averaging 13.4 runs and 14.5 hits per nine innings. Tech’s offense — which ranks seventh nationally in batting average (.325) and second in slugging percentage (.609) — has produced 15 doubles, two triples and 11 homers in its last streak of four matches. On the mound, Hokies pitchers have posted a 3.75 ERA in their last four games — a mark that drops to 1.96 when considering Tech’s bullpen arms.
• Opposition mid-week: Virginia Tech’s history with VMI in baseball dates back to 1897 when the two programs met for their inaugural meeting in Roanoke. Since then, the Hokies have won more than 70% of their series encounters with the Keydets, coming into Tuesday’s game with the dominating 132-49-1 lead in the all-time series. History is not an indication of lopsided business as VMI has played Tech in straight sets in each of the last two meetings of the series. Last season, the Hokies trailed the Keydets until the seventh inning, relying on TJ Rumfield’s three-run homer to take the lead and make it 7-5. Ryan Okuda started the 2021 reunion for Tech, striking out four batters and walking none over three and two-thirds innings despite being chased for VMI’s fourth inning three-run. Okuda is set to start the teams’ first of two head-to-head meetings in the 2022 season on Tuesday.
Virginia Tech will open a three-game ACC road series on Friday, April 1 at No. 18 North Carolina. The first pitch at Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill is scheduled for 6 p.m.