No. 7 Tech primed for Commonwealth Clash at No. 11 UVA

BLACKSBURG – Competing in one of the most highly anticipated Commonwealth Clash matchups known to the rivalry, the No. 7 Virginia Tech baseball team (29-9, 12-7 ACC) will look to assert dominance against its in-state rival this weekend when it visits No. 11 Virginia (32-10, 13-8 ACC) at Davenport Field at Disharoon Park (April 29 – May 1).

Friday through Sunday’s games between the Hokies and the Cavaliers will air live on ACC Network Extra with coverage beginning at 6 pm, 4 pm and 1 pm, respectively. Fans may also tune into WRAD-FM 101.7 to listen to all three games as called by the play-by-play voice of Tech baseball, Evan Hughes.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Friday: Griffin Green (6-1, 3.44 ERA) vs. Nate Savino (4-3, 3.76 ERA)

Saturday: Drue Hackenberg (8-0, 2.10 ERA) vs. Brian Gursky (6-0, 2.47 ERA)

Sunday: TBD vs. Jake Berry (5-2, 3.95 ERA)

THREE THINGS TO KNOW
The Commonwealth Clash: Winner of six consecutive ACC series, Virginia Tech pulls into Charlottesville for the first time since 2018 eager to make a statement against its most loathsome rival. The Hokies are seeking their first series victory against the Cavaliers since 2015 – the year Virginia went on to win the national championship. For the first time during its ACC tenure, Tech will square off against Virginia as the higher-ranked program. The Hokies are ranked as a top-10 club inside five of the six major college baseball polls, highlighted by their D1Baseball-record No. 7 ranking that trumps the Cavaliers by four spots. As they are in the polls, Tech and Virginia are also neck-and-neck in the ACC Coastal Division standings. Entering Friday, the second-place Hokies are percentage points ahead of the third-place Cavaliers for in both the divisional and league races. This weekend’s series winner between Tech and Virginia will most certainly boast the strongest postseason resume among the two sides with aspirations of hosting during NCAA Regional weekend. For the Hokies, a series win at Virginia would only strengthen their No. 19 RPI ranking while chalk their fifth series victory against D1Baseball‘s top 25 rankings. Not to mention, Tech would also clinch the Commonwealth Clash trophy for the department should it champion its weekend on the diamond against the Cavaliers.

Spotlight Sluggers: Two of the nation’s top sluggers will collide at Davenport Field this weekend when Virginia Tech’s Jack Hurley crosses bats with Virginia’s Jake Gelof. While Hurley leads the ACC with the country’s fourth best batting average (.430), Gelof ranks sixth nationally in slugging percentage (.822) – three positions ahead of his Blacksburg rival. With a pair of two-baggers hit during Wednesday’s 11-8 victory against James Madison, Hurley became the first Tech player since 2017 to eclipse 20 doubles (Tom Stoffel), putting him in a tie for second nationally behind UNLV’s Joey Walls (22) . Where Hurley has edged Gelof in doubles, Gelof has outperformed him in home runs, rounding the bases 16 times to Hurley’s 11 trips. Behind Hurley and Gelof are two equally dominant lineups in the Hokies and the Cavaliers. Virginia Tech’s .320 team batting average ranks fourth in the country – precisely one position behind Virginia (.323).

All We Do Is Win: Virginia Tech is chasing its first 30-win season since 2013 when the Hokies posted a 40-22 record on their way to hosting the NCAA Blacksburg Regional. Tech’s 29 victories this season are the most the program has achieved under fifth-year head coach John Szefc, who has eclipsed 30 wins on 10 occasions. Since March 19, the Hokies have won 19 of their last 22 games, including a 12-3 mark against the ACC and a 7-3 record against opponents ranked in D1Baseball‘s top 25. During the stretch, weekend starters Griffin Green and Drue Hackenberg have combined to lead Tech to a 10-0 record during their appearances. Heading into the weekend, Hackenberg is one of six NCAA Division I pitchers with a record of 8-0 or better and has thrown the most innings (60) among freshmen with eight or more winning decisions this season.

UP NEXT
No. 7 Virginia Tech will return its home-and-home season series against Marshall on Wednesday, May 4. First pitch between the Hokies and the Thundering Herd at the Kennedy Center YMCA in Huntington, West Virginia, is scheduled for 6 pm

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