Confident Hokies take to the diamond ready to raise expectations

BLACKSBURG, Va. – “Build it in Blacksburg” has been the motto John Szefc brought with him when he took over the baseball program at Virginia Tech. With that, the expectation level has continued to grow--just like the Hokies success level over the years. As the team preps to take the field to start the 2023 season, the goal is to build upon the consistency coming off an historic 2022 campaign.

“I think the one thing that will separate us this year from last is the experience factor in the postseason,” said coach Szefc. “We have a lot of guys returning from last year’s team that had never played in the postseason, never played in an NCAA Regional, NCAA Tournament. Some of them had never played in the ACC Tournament before.”

Virginia Tech, ranked as high as No. 14 in preseason rankings, is coming off a 45-win season and are poised to bring the pop at the plate yet again. The team has a core of returning stars including Jack Hurley who toted the teams best batting average at .375.

“Our offense has been really good this preseason arguably better than last year’s preseason,” said Hurley. “It’s been really strong--a lot of homers, a lot of extra base hits and a lot of new guys stepping up into some new roles.”

The Hokies feel confident in their pitching staff this season as well, a true strength in the 2022 season. Drue Hackenburg looks to make a difference on the mound following a freshman campaign where he tallied a 10-2 record.

“All those guys who played big roles last year especially,” Hackenburg said. “We return those guys and the freshmen kids we brought in are something else, really good. Being able to have that season last year and get these guys in here that we needed definitely will say the pitching staff will be a lot better than last year based on experience and talent.”

Virginia Tech will open its season on the road this weekend at the College of Charleston before its home opener next Tuesday against ETSU.

About the Author:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.