Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
It’s a new weekend and another crucial series for Virginia Tech baseball. What’s new in the ACC?
The No. 12 Hokies (19-10, 14-7 ACC) find themselves up two games in the ACC Coastal, and are well-positioned to be the top seed in a regional for the first time since 2013 after one of the best starts to the season in the league in program history.
The two teams that immediately stand behind the Hokies? The Pittsburgh Panthers, who Virginia Tech swept earlier this season, and the No. 21 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (15-13, 12-9 ACC), who will be the team in the opposing dugout this weekend.
It’s more than just a game though this weekend; it’s also the 14-year anniversary of the shooting that killed 32 innocent professors and students on the campus of Virginia Tech back in 2007.
It’s a big weekend in Blacksburg – and this three-game set makes it even more significant.
Game Day Information
When: Friday, April 16 at 6 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 17 at 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 18 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: English Field At Atlantic Union Bank Park
TV: ACC Network Extra
Series History: Georgia Tech Leads 37-19
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech Won 7-6 on March 8, 2020
Last Time Out
The Hokies are rolling.
Not only has Virginia Tech won eight out of its last nine ACC contests, but is coming off its first-ever sweep of Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem.
The offense was a runaway freight train.
The Hokies put up a combined 34 runs in the three games at Wake Forest, winning 8-4 on Friday, 16-4 on Saturday, and 10-9 on Sunday.
Virginia Tech’s Gavin Cross won ACC Player of the Week after hitting for the cycle earlier in the week against East Tennessee State. He followed that up with a 6-for-14 weekend (.429) in Winston-Salem. The Bristol, Tenn. native has continued to rake in his first full season as a Hokie.
Across the board, the lineup has been pretty lethal for Virginia Tech. TJ Rumfield, Kevin Madden, Tanner Schobel, Nick Biddison, and Tanner Thomas have been raking recently for the Hokie. Even backup catcher Dayne Leonard has been solid at the dish for John Szefc’s ballclub.
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Virginia Tech did drop a mid-week game to Liberty this past Tuesday in Lynchburg. That’s not necessarily a surprise.
The combination of a mid-week lineup and the Flames just being a really good baseball team out of the Atlantic Sun, was the perfect ingredient for Virginia Tech’s six-game win streak to come to an end. Besides, Liberty has beaten North Carolina twice, Virginia, and Wake Forest. They’re a solid program.
What To Watch Out For – Virginia Tech
Szefc and company have to feel pretty good about where they stand right now. Not only are they riding high, but they’re finally at full strength.
Not only is the aforementioned Biddison back, but lefty starter and ace Chris Gerard returned last weekend after missing his previous two starts with a groin issue suffered against Clemson.
If there’s any time to get the Yellow Jackets, a team that’s been in the top 10 for the majority of the season, it’s now.
Here’s how the Hokies project to line up this weekend.
- CF Jack Hurley
- 2B Nick Biddison
- RF Gavin Cross
- 1B TJ Rumfield
- 3B Kevin Madden
- SS Tanner Schobel
- LF Tanner Thomas
- C Dayne Leonard
- DH Cade Swisher/Lucas Donlon
Projected Starting Rotation
- LHP Peyton Alford
- RHP Anthony Simonelli
- LHP Chris Gerard
Georgia Tech has long been a huge threat in the ACC under longtime head coach Danny Hall. The nine-time conference champions are no exception this season.
A lot of that credit goes to star catcher Kevin Parada, who’s posted a team best .368 average while slugging five home runs and 22 RBIs. Other offensive threats include Tres Gonzalez (.326, HR, 12 RBIs) Drew Compton (.321, 6 HRs, 23 RBIs), and Luke Wadell (.319, 5 HRs, 18 RBIs). The bullpen may be suspect, but the starting rotation is solid led by righty hurler Andy Archer (4-3, 2.47 ERA).
They’ve been skidding a little bit recently though, dropping two series to both Virginia and Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets are also coming off a mid-week loss this Tuesday to a weak Auburn team. They’re still one of the biggest threats in the ACC.
Here’s how they project to line it up this weekend in Blacksburg.
- SS Luke Wadell
- 3B Justyn Henry-Mallory
- C Kevin Parada
- 1B Drew Compton
- CF Tres Gonzalez
- LF Jake Deleo
- RF Stephen Reid
- DH Andrew Jenkins/Jake Holland
- 2B Austin Wilhite
Projected Starting Rotation
- LHP Brant Hurter
- RHP Andy Archer
- LHP Sam Crawford