Tech baseball to complete road swing Tuesday at JMU

BLACKSBURG – Completing its first road swing of the 2022 season, the Virginia Tech baseball team (10-4) will seek a return to winning form on Tuesday, March 15, when Tech pays in-state foe James Madison (8-8) a visit at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg.

Tuesday’s game between the Hokies and the Dukes will air live on FloBaseball with coverage beginning at 4 pm Fans may also tune into WRAD-FM 101.7 to listen to the game as called by the radio play-by-play voice of Tech baseball, Evan Hughes.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Tuesday: Jackson Ritchey (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Ryan Murphy (0-0, 1.93 ERA)

THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Hokies Contend in Atlanta: Virginia Tech is eager to hop back in the win column on Tuesday when the Hokies look to turn the page after their hard-fought, ACC-opening series in Atlanta. Tech nearly cashed in two road wins at No. 13 Georgia Tech last weekend, despite being unable to preserve either of their late-inning leads against the Yellow Jackets. After losing their 5-1, mid-game lead on Friday, the Hokies rallied for three runs during the ninth inning to control the 8-7 advantage, though they were walked off by two run-scoring plays during the bottom half of the inning. On Sunday, Virginia Tech battled for 23 combined doubleheader innings against Georgia Tech that lasted nine hours and 11 minutes, coming from 5-1 down through six innings to force extras. There, the Hokies heroically staged two game-saving plays with two outs and runners on third base, charging ahead, 6-5, during the 14th inning before succumbing to their second walk-off defeat of the weekend.

Prospect Watch: Tuesday’s midweek tilt between Virginia Tech and James Madison has the potential to serve as a regional showcase for two of the best outfielders in college baseball. During the offseason, Gavin Cross (Virginia Tech) and Chase DeLauter (James Madison) shuffled themselves to the top of several prospect lists that have been ranking talent and pro outlook ahead of the 2022 MLB Draft in July. Respectively, Cross and DeLauter garnered five and four 2022 Preseason All-American honors, sharing in First Team honors together courtesy of D1Baseball and Perfect Game/ Rawlings. This season, Cross is already the owner of three triples to his name while batting .358, slugging .679 and boasting a .443 on-base percentage through 12 appearances – hitting safely during each of them. DeLauter has mastered similar success with the Dukes, posting a .459 batting average and an .811 on-base percentage across 10 of the team’s 16 games. However, DeLauter has yet to appear for JMU since March 4.

Midweek Opposition: Separated by a two-hour drive on Interstate 81, Virginia Tech and James Madison will renew their all-time series for the first time since 2014 when the teams contested a bizarre midweek affair. With the Hokies out to the 11-5 lead during the sixth inning in Blacksburg, a power outage cut out the stadium lights at English Field, forcing the teams to settle for a non-weather related shortened game. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Hokies have won six of their eight meetings against the Dukes, despite trailing the all-time series by six games: 32-26. Tech is seeking its first road win at Veterans Memorial Park since 2012 when the Hokies defeated JMU, 6-4, on a Tuesday evening. James Madison enters this year’s tilt riding a four-game losing streak that began with its extra-innings loss to No. 10 Tennessee on March 8. Tuesday will also mark Tech outfielder Conor Hartigan’s return to Harrisonburg following his four-year career at JMU. Hartigan, who has produced three doubles and a home run for the Hokies this spring, batted .304 during his 88-game tenure with the Dukes, accounting for 21 doubles there along with nine home runs and 54 RBIs.

UP NEXT
Virginia Tech will return home to English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park on Friday, March 18, when the Hokies open their three-game ACC series against Pitt. First pitch in Blacksburg is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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