No. 8 Virginia Tech to host VMI, visit Radford this week

BLACKSBURG – Boasting its highest national ranking since joining the ACC, the No. 8 Virginia Tech baseball team (23-9) will begin a two-game midweek stretch on Tuesday, April 19, when it hosts VMI (12-25) at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park (6 pm). The Hokies will then travel to Radford (12-23) on Wednesday, April 20, for a 6 pm contest against the Highlanders at Sherman Carter Memorial Stadium.

Tuesday’s home game between Tech and VMI will air live on ACC Network Extra while the Hokies’ Wednesday away game at Radford will air live on ESPN +. Fans may also tune into WRAD-FM 101.7 to listen to both games as called by the radio play-by-play voice of Tech baseball, Evan Hughes.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Tuesday: Ryan Kennedy (1-3, 3.98 ERA) vs. Alex LaRou (2-1, 3.00 ERA)

Wednesday: TBD vs. TBD

THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Poll Vault: Virginia Tech deservingly benefited from the shakeup that was Monday’s reveal of the D1Baseball top 25 rankings. The Hokies soared to No. 8 in the outlet’s presentation – a jump of 13 positions after winning their fifth consecutive ACC series by two games to one against then-No. 2 Miami. As it stands, Tech is the second highest ranked ACC squad in D1Baseball‘s poll, trailing the now-No. 5 Hurricanes as well as two SEC sides and two Pac-12 programs. The Hokies’ No. 8 ranking also marks their highest D1Baseball poll placement all-time. Elsewhere, Virginia Tech cracked the top 10 of Perfect Game‘s top 25, earning the No. 9 spots. The Hokies also came in at No. 11 in Baseball America‘s top 25, vaulted to No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports baseball coaches poll and placed No. 16 in the NCBWA’s top 30. After improving its quadrant one record to 10-7 following its two victories against Miami, Virginia Tech also leaped to No. 26 in the NCAA Division I Baseball RPI.

National Player of the Week: Sophomore shortstop Tanner Schobel was named the ACC Co-Player of the Week on Monday, sharing in consideration with Georgia Tech’s Tim Borden II. Schobel was the catalyst to Tech’s big offensive performance against then-No. 2 Miami, batting 7-for-14 (.500) against the Hurricanes with a double and three home runs. Having scored seven runs and totaled 10 RBIs against Miami, the second-year infielder had a factor in scoring 17 of the Hokies ’30 runs scored during the series. On Thursday, Schobel recorded his third multi-homer game against ACC competition this season – part of his recent stretch that features eight home runs across his last 11 appearances, including a grand slam on Saturday against the Hurricanes. From the third spot in Tech’s batting order, Schobel’s .370 batting average and .717 slugging percentage are both third best on the team while his 11 home runs and 43 RBIs both rank second on the squad behind Hunter falls (13 homers, 46 RBIs). As a team, the “Hammerin ‘Hokies” continue to rake in college baseball; Virginia Tech is the only NCAA Division I team that ranks top-five in batting average (.326, second), slugging percentage (.616, second) and on-base percentage (.428, fifth). The Hokies have also hammered the second most home runs nationally (76) and are equipped with two more double-digit home run hitters (five) than first-place Tennessee (three).

Midweek Rematches: Virginia Tech is 2-0 this season against its upcoming midweek foes, knocking off both in-state opponents during its seven-game winning streak that spanned late March and early April. Despite matching both programs in hits on both nights, the Hokies combined to outscore their Commonwealth rivals, 23-7, downing Radford at English Field (10-3) while clobbering VMI in Lexington (13-4). Tech scored during seven of its eight offensive innings against the Highlanders, whom the Hokies will visit on Wednesday. Tech earned eight walks from Radford pitching while registering five extra-base hits, breaking away from a 5-2 ballgame after six innings. Against VMI, Tech burned the Keydets for four crooked numbers, rallying behind Hunter’s falls 5-for-5 night that featured four runs, a double and two homers. Nick Biddison and Gavin Cross both recorded multi-hit games from the top two spots in the Hokies’ lineup while Kiernan Higgins toed two and two-thirds innings to earn his first victory at Tech. The Hokies begin the week having won five straight series meetings against both VMI and Radford.

UP NEXT
No. 8 Virginia Tech will travel north to Boston where the Hokies will contest a three-game ACC series at Boston College between April 22 and April 24. Friday and Sunday’s games will take place at the Eagles’ home ballpark in Brighton, Massachusetts, while Saturday’s ALS Awareness Game will take place at America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, Fenway Park.

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