Tech Pitching Off to a Strong Start

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It’s only March 5, but Virginia Tech has played 13 baseball games already.  The Hokies are 11-2 following a 4-game sweep of Yale this past weekend, and their ACC slate begins with a three-game series at UVA starting Friday, March 9.

You might have followed the Tech baseball program when you were in school, or when Chuck Hartman was in his prime.  You might have followed it two years ago when the Hokies were in the NCAA Tournament.  Last year things were a bit ugly, as Tech lost 10 players to the MLB Draft off of their NCAA Tournament team, including all starting pitchers, so you probably turned your head in the other direction.

This year head coach Pete Hughes has a lot more options on the mound, and it has been terrific pitching that has gotten the Hokies off to a good start.  Let’s take a quick look at the numbers of the players who have started games for Tech this year.

When you’re highest ERA is a 3.63, that’s good.  The first three pitchers above are expected to be Tech’s Friday-Saturday-Sunday starters in ACC play this year.  Let’s take a closer look at Tech’s pitching rotation.

Joe Mantiply: Mantiply is a big left hander who is in his second season as a weekend starter.  He got seven starts as a freshman two years ago, and overall he’s one of the most experienced pitchers in the ACC.  His ERA has steadily dropped from a 5.62 as a freshmen to a 4.36 as a sophomore, and he’s off to a great start in 2012.  Mantiply is walking fewer than two batters per nine innings, which has been a big part of his success.

Marc Zecchino: Zecchino made the transition from weeknight starter to weekend starter last season.  He was #2 in Tech’s rotation, going 6-5 with a 4.66 ERA.  His numbers have improved so far this season, though he’s yet to face a quality ACC opponent.  Right now he is Virginia Tech’s Saturday starter in league play.