Virginia Tech Baseball Rides The Wind To Sweep Notre Dame

Carson DeMartini and Virginia Tech hit four home runs and three triples in their Sunday sweep of Notre Dame. (Virginia Tech athletics)

With 45 mile per hour wind gusts blowing out to center field, Virginia Tech used Sunday afternoon’s weather to its advantage, slugging four home runs and three triples in an 11-8 win over Notre Dame to sweep the opening ACC series of the season at English Field.

The sweep gives the Hokies (11-3, 3-0 ACC) their best start to ACC play in program history. 

“We had a really good weekend,” Tech head coach John Szefc said to the media after the game. “It’s hard to sweep anybody. It’s certainly hard to sweep in conference play, especially early in the season. You’re trying to figure some things out, figure out some roles.

“There’s a big difference in this league between 3-0 and 2-1. It’s huge when they start counting up wins at the end of the season. That’s kind of what we’re supposed to do. I just thought it was a big step for us. We’ve struggled a little bit on Sundays.”

Even with the weather, Tech’s winning formula was largely similar to Friday and Saturday: its starter shoved while its lineup did its usual damage.

Griffin Stieg tossed five innings of two-run ball, giving up four hits while striking out three Fighting Irish (9-5, 0-3) batters. In 18 ⅓ innings in the series, the Hokies’ starters gave up only four runs, striking out a whopping 23 hitters while walking just two.

“[They’re] phenomenal,” star third baseman Carson DeMartini said of Tech’s arms. “As good as it gets. When we get starts like that, man, it’s really hard to lose. You can’t argue about that. And from there, once we sit back and let our offense work and those guys are pitching well, it’s unstoppable.”

While Stieg held things down on the mound, the Hokies got off to a fast 4-0 start with a pair of runs in the first and third innings, highlighted by a DeMartini home run that had a 37° launch angle and rode the wind all the way off the batter’s eye in center field.

Coming off a series in which he went 0-for-11 with six strikeouts, DeMartini registered five hits with two homers and three RBI over the weekend against Notre Dame. 

“The big thing is to not dwell on those failures,” DeMartini said. “Some people like to sit back and just let those eat them up. I think it’s good that sometimes you fail because you learn from it. I just kind of learned from it and kept with my approach, kept trusting my process because I know that it’s worked in the past and it’s gonna work here in the future.”

Two of Tech’s other longballs came from Eddie Micheletti, who went 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBI on Sunday. The George Washington transfer finished the series with three home runs and nine RBI, highlighted by a grand slam on Friday.

“He’s been really big,” Szefc said. “When we lost Garrett [Michel] — Garrett and him together were a pretty good combo there [at] four and five. And he’s stepped in and really soaked up a lot there. There’s not one player that’s gonna soak up Garrett’s numbers or his run production, but Eddie has done a pretty damn good job of it thus far.”

The Hokies’ last swing of the hammer came courtesy of a Christian Martin solo shot in the bottom of the sixth inning — a knock that increased his hitting streak to 10 games.

“I’m just being aggressive,” Martin said. “I’m seeing [the ball] well. It’s super easy to see at home; I love our batter’s eye. And I’m not really missing the pitches I’m supposed to hit. You’ll do well when you do that.”

With the wild winds, Tech also raked three triples on the day (Gehrig Ebel, Ben Watson and Clay Grady), something it hasn’t done since April 15, 2022, against Miami. Of its nine hits on the day, eight went for extra bases — a Watson RBI single in the bottom of the eighth was the lone exception.

Despite the highlights, Sunday’s win didn’t come as easy as Tech would have liked. The bullpen saw more struggles as Grant Manning, Jacob Exum, Carson Ohl and Jacob Stretch combined to face 10 batters and recorded just two outs while giving up six hits and four runs. 

Neither Ohl nor Stretch could record an out in the top of the eighth, where Notre Dame scored four runs and brought the tying run to the batter’s box. That’s when East Carolina transfer Jordan Little entered the game and cleaned up the mess, retiring the next three Fighting Irish batters in order to record an unlikely save and clinch the sweep for Tech.

The Hokies close out their eight-game home stand with a Tuesday matchup with Marist — the program where Szefc has coached the most games in his career (353) — at 4 p.m. ET on ACC Network Extra before returning to the road for a weekend series at Louisville (10-5).

“We’re only 14 games in,” Szefc said. “It’s still pretty early in the season. We’ve still got 40 games to play. I think every single team you would talk to is gonna say, ‘We’ve got to figure out this, that and this.’ Any team that says they’ve got it all figured out in 14 games is lying, because we don’t.”

Box Score: Virginia Tech 11, Notre Dame 8 

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Entire Hokie baseball schedule is on Hokie For most games you can see live stats.

  2. That was kinda fun to listen to and/or watch this weekend. Any time you can sweep Notre Damn, I’m all in.

    Did anybody notice how many ACC teams scored double digit runs this weekend?

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