Baseball Opens Season with Four Big Wins

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The Hammerin’ Hokies got off to a hot start over the weekend, sweeping two teams who made the NCAA Tournament last season in Wilmington, NC.  Tech is off to a 4-0 start, and they have an early #10 RPI ranking.  Baseball America released their top 25 on Monday, and the Hokies checked in at #24.

Virginia Tech beat Kent State 10-9 on Friday, and again 8-1 early on Saturday.  The Golden Flashes made the College World Series last season.  Late Saturday, Tech beat UNC-Wilmington 9-0, and knocked them off again 7-2 on Sunday.  UNC-Wilmington also made the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

It was thought coming into the season that hitting would be the major strength, while pitching would be the big question mark.  Through four games against good competition, the hitting has held up, while the pitching has been a pleasant surprise.

At the plate, the Hokies are hitting .303 as a team with five homers and a .479 slugging percentage.  On the mound, Tech has a team ERA of 2.31, and opponents are hitting just .221 against the Hokie pitching staff.  I don’t think anyone would have dreamed that those pitching numbers would be so good after the first four games against solid competition.

Hokies Hitting Well, as Expected

Let’s take a look at some of the individual performances so far, starting in the batter’s box:+

C Mark Zegunis: Zegunis is a sophomore who was a Freshman All-American last season while hitting .344.  Through four games in 2012, he is hitting .500, he’s drawn two walks and he has four RBIs.  He has an on-base percentage of .600.

2B Matt Dauby: Dauby is a freshman from Indiana, and he’s hitting .438 out of the 8-spot in the lineup through four games.  Obviously such production from the bottom of the lineup means a lot to the team’s success.  He needs to improve his glove after committing three errors in four games.

3B Chad Pinder: Tech’s returning junior starter at the hot corner is hitting .357 with two homers and nine RBI’s through four games.

RF Gary Schneider: The r-junior is a transfer from Maryland, where he was a very good hitter for the Terps.  He’s hitting .357 with a homer and a triple for the Hokies.

LF Tyler Horan: Horan smacked 15 homers for the Hokies last season.  Though he went homerless over the weekend, he still hit .316 with three RBI’s.

The Hokies faced solid competition over the weekend, so I expect the hitting numbers for some of these players to go up.

Hokie Pitching Staff Steps Up

I would not have thought the Hokies would come out of the weekend’s event with a 2.31 ERA.  Ironically, they got a bad game from their most reliable starter, and some outstanding starts by three unproven guys.

RHP Brad Markey: The junior originally played at Georgia Tech, and then was a 35th round draft pick of the Mets out of Santa Fe College in 2012.  He started on Saturday against Kent State, going seven innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits and one walk, while striking out five.

RHP Tanner McIntyre: After serving as Tech’s best pitcher out of the bullpen a year ago (7-0 with a 2.32 ERA in 20 appearances), McIntyre could serve as the #3 starter this year.  Despite his size (5-9, 171), the senior went six innings against UNC-Wilmington on Sunday, allowing two earned runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out eight batters.

RHP Devin Burke: Burke is a r-junior who transferred from Duke.  He got the Saturday start against UNC-Wilmington.  He went six innings, allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out six batters.  He did not allow a run.

That’s outstanding production from starters #2-4.  Pete Hughes will have to decide who will serve as his #2 and #3 starters in ACC play.  My guess is that Markey will be #2, while McIntyre and Burke will battle to be #3.  It would perhaps be ideal for Burke to earn the #3 spot, which would allow McIntyre to reprise his role as an ace out of the bullpen.

No matter who turns out to win the rotation jobs, those three guys combined to go 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a WHIP of 0.89.  If you are allowing fewer than one walk/hit per inning, then you are going to win a lot of baseball games.  Overall, that’s a very encouraging start for that group.

On the other hand, senior starter Joe Mantiply was roughed up in his start on Friday, allowing four earned runs and nine hits over four innings against Kent State.  Mantiply went 5-6 with a 3.53 ERA last season and was picked in the 28th round by Phillies, so we can probably expect him to come around.

Coming Up …

If you don’t mind chilly February Blacksburg weather, the Hokies will play five home games between this Friday and next Tuesday.

Friday, Feb. 22: Temple, 3pm
Saturday, Feb. 23: Holy Cross, 3:30pm
Saturday, Feb. 23: Temple, 6pm
Sunday, Feb. 24: Holy Cross: 2:30pm
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Radford, 3pm

That’s not difficult competition, and the Hokies get all those teams at home.  Tech has a chance to get off to an outstanding start.

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16 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Seems like there are a lot of guys moving around even within the ACC in baseball. Are there different rules for transfers in baseball?

  2. Great job hokieball! Pitchers will be doing work this year! my guess is Mantiply just didn’t have his stuff and he’ll bounce back. Did I read the box scores wrong? Thought Markey had 0 walks. I think you can’t go wrong with either Burke or McIntyre. Excited for this year. Omaha bound!

  3. CC –

    Great to see some articles about the Olympic Sports!

    Oops, that’s right – baseball and softball are no longer in the Olympics and neither is wrestling. What a shame.

    More articles on track & field and softball would be appreciated. How about wrestling, we have a top ten program dude!

    Go For It !!

    Spater, odios amigos & hange tough Hokie Nation!

    1. I limit myself to very few Olympic Sports articles for a couple reasons…

      1: Nobody ever reads them, so they become a waste of time. I could write a football article and make money, or write an Olympic Sport article and not make money. Not a tough decision.

      2: I don’t know much about Olympic sports. They’d be noting but recaps, so why repeat something HokieSports has already done?

      Out of all the Olympic sports, baseball is the most popular, of course. It’s also the sport that I know the most about, so I’m hoping to get a short baseball column out each week this season.

      1. CC –

        Like the spin you, Will, and GMSA put on articles. Although to be honest, don’t see much difference from your recaps than thos of HokieSports. But you do produce much more than Beamerball where only two new artciles in the last 52 days really blows. I’ve decided to give it a rest, not worth pursuing all the other sports – really wish VT would promote all of it’s sports better. It’s only fair – even if football is the big money maker. How narrow to promote football so widely and being football centric seems to be hurting our overall athletic performance. If football goes down, all the sports take a hit. Almost 1000 lost hokie club members this year? OUCH! Such a shame – VT is loved by most athletes and student in the state who are looking for a good reason to convince their parents they shuould come here. Can’t we round-out our perspectives and what we offer them?

        VT has so much to offer, or that it can offer.

        Hang tough Hokie Nation – the best is yet to come, just give it time.

  4. Actually, I hate to watch baseball games in February but I suspect the Hokies will play them anyhow. Seriously, back in the day, I hated to PLAY until March in this area. Of course, we didn’t wear gloves like these sissies today!.I’m always surprised to see some teams from up Nawth do so well. How do they get enough guys willing to play in frigidity? B-r-r-r-r-r!

  5. CC, you don’t say anything about Andrew Rash. You covered the leaders/”stars” for the weekend and Rash “only” hit .267 with a 2-bagger his only extra base hit. But I find him a compelling story, a guy who came back for a 5th year, a senior who had an off year as a junior and a lower than desired draft pick. I am hoping for big things from him this season.

  6. Ladies Softball team is 9-1. Wrestling team is in the finals next weekend.Virtually all of Olympic Sports are doing well.

  7. Thank you for the baseball update. Glad to see some good ‘Hammerin’ is back for the Hammerin Hokies.

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