Hughes not only played baseball at Davidson, but he was also a four year starter at quarterback on the football team.
Hughes considers this to be the toughest non-conference schedule he has scheduled since he came to Blacksburg. He felt like that would prepare the team better for ACC play. They need to do well in conference play to make the national tournament.
Hughes likes where the pitching is right now. They need to clean some things up defensively, but he loves where the hitting is.
Brad Markey has been a pleasant surprise. He’s been dominant. Devin Burke has also been very good. Markey started his career at Georgia Tech, and Burke is a transfer from Duke. They shut Joe Mantiply down because of some arm soreness. They want to make sure he is ready for the ACC schedule.
Tech has a lot of veteran guys in the lineup. It’s one of the better hitting lineups in the league. However, it’s good pitching that will make or break the Hokies.
Hughes felt like the Hokies broke through in 2010 when they were ranked #11. He thought they had an Omaha team that year. Tech’s ranking this season is helping recruiting. They are getting immediate call backs from recruits.
Baseball is a year round sport. In the fall, they are waking up at 5:30 in the morning and working at baseball 20 hours a week. Combined with their class load, it takes a lot of hard work.
Pete Hughes has known Andrew Rash for seven years. As a comparison, he’s known his youngest son for eight years. He wants to be around good people. He wants guys who he enjoys coaching, and guys who are good teammates.
ACC baseball is very good. Six teams are ranked in the top 25, or seven teams depending on the poll you use. That will help RPIs at the end of the season. Sometimes the Selection Committee leans on RPI, and sometimes they don’t. Last year Tech was #35 in the RPI, but they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies have to be able to make the ACC Tournament this year.
Hughes will have a conference call on future ACC scheduling on Tuesday. Conference expansion is not good for college baseball. There are too many teams. They’ll obviously do whatever is good for football and basketball, because they pay Hughes’ salary.
Hughes doesn’t think there should be an ACC Tournament. The ACC would cringe if they heard that, but the coaches are all in agreement. The conference tournament can hurt you more than it can help you.
Recruiting the Tidewater is a priority for Virginia Tech. It is a talent rich area. The Hokies have made some inroads there. The high school programs there are great. The players are very fundamentally sound when they get to college.
Virginia Tech hasn’t beaten UVA, UNC, South Carolina, Clemson or Vanderbilt for a recruit in six or seven years. Not one. Tech gets in on those players first, and they offer them a higher scholarship most times. Therefore, the Hokies try to stay in-state and try to get guys with VT ties. Then they go to New England, where the cost of education is through the roof. Some schools are around $60,000, so $37,000 at Virginia Tech sounds like a deal. It’s also much warmer in the ACC area, and that’s attractive to kids from the northeast and the midwest.
If a player goes to college, he has to stay three years before he can enter the MLB Draft. The baseball model encourages kids to get a degree. That’s a good thing because the vast majority will never make the big leagues.
Georgia Tech is a very good team. They have great hitters. The prototypical Georgia Tech team is powerful at the plate. It could be a high scoring series. These are two very similar teams. Both teams have power threats and running threats. It should be a fun weekend. Hughes isn’t sure who will start for Tech on which day. Brad Markey will probably start Friday, with Devin Burke on Saturday. Joe Mantiply could possibly pitch on Sunday.
Matt Dauby has done a great job for Tech at second base. He’s starting as a true freshman. He came from Indiana, and he was a very advanced defensive player when he was recruited. He’s been a pleasant surprise offensively. He’s hitting .333.
Monday day 3,020 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup!