Behind the numbers of Virginia Tech Baseball’s climb up the Top 25 polls

Fresh off a series win over then-No. 2 Miami (Fla.), The Virginia Tech baseball team has skyrocketed up the Top 25 poll all the way to No. 8, the highest-ever ranking in the program’s ACC-era history.

What has been behind the Hokies’ meteoric rise up the rankings? Go behind the numbers and see what has propelled Tech to new heights this spring.

A tough trip to Atlanta ignited the spark. After winning 10 of its first 11 games to start the season, the Hokies opened ACC play in mid-March on the road against then-No. 13 Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech played admirably against the top-15 Yellow Jackets, losing two of the three games by one run apiece, including an extra-innings defeat in the series finale, but left Atlanta with an 0-3 record in league play.

Since then, the Hokies have not lost an ACC series, including convincing victories over top-25 foes Notre Dame, North Carolina, NC State and the aforementioned Hurricanes, good enough for second in the Coastal Division standings.

Head coach John Szefc has Tech off to its best start through 33 games in 40 years and earned his 500th career win on Friday, April 18, in Tech’s 13-2 win over Miami (Fla.).

2. Tech’s lineup is full of hammerin ‘Hokies. Virginia Tech has won 14 of its last 19 games, largely due to its impressive hitting throughout its lineup. The Hokies are averaging 9.4 runs per game in that span, including nine outings of 10 runs or more, highlighted by 22 runs against Pitt on Saturday, March 19, and 21 runs versus then-No. 21 NC State on Friday, April 8th.

During this stretch, Tech has hit an astounding 46 home runs, recording at least one home run in all but two games. The Hokies have notched multiple homers in 15 of its last 19 games, including a season high seven in the opener series against the Wolfpack. Remarkably, Tech has seen every single spot in its batting order go yard in this 19-game span.

Cade Hunter leads the way with nine home runs in this stretch, followed by reigning co-ACC Player of the Week in Tanner Schobelwho has eight homers. Carson DeMartini (7 home runs), Gavin Cross (6) and Jack Hurley (5) are right behind, while all five of those players have at least two multi-home run games apiece.

Hurley was named to the 2022 Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list back on Tuesday, April 5, and recently had his 25-game hitting streak snapped, an ACC-era program record.

3. The Hokies’ pitching staff has raised its game. While Tech’s hitting prowess has grabbed the headlines, the Hokies’ pitching and defense has helped drive the program’s recent success. The 1-2 punch of starting pitchers Griffin Green and Drue Hackenberg has allowed Tech to get off to a strong start in every series over the last month.

Green has three wins in five starts, allowing just 12 runs in 27.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 23 strikeouts in this span while giving up just nine walks after facing 117 batters. Hackenburg is undefeated in his four starts while giving up just eight earned runs to go along with 27 strikeouts and five walks. All told, Tech pitchers have recorded 174 strikeouts in 169 innings pitched.

On the year, the Hokies’ .981 fielding percentage ranks second in the ACC and ninth nationally.

4. The support of Hokie Nation has created an intimidating home field atmosphere. Over 11,000 fans have passed through the Atlantic Union Bank Field turnstiles during Tech’s last 12 home games, helping foster a powerful advantage in the friendly confines of English Field. The support of Hokie Nation during this stretch culminated in a regular season-record 3,521 fans in attendance for Tech’s victory over Miami (Fla.) Last Friday, April 15.

Single game tickets are still available for the Hokies’ remaining home ACC contests against 16th-ranked Louisville and Duke.

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