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February 20, 2014

Around The Bases: Week 1

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The weather forced a change of Virginia Tech's plans last week, as the Hokies opened the season with two games in Charleston, S.C. as opposed to four games in Charlotte, N.C. Come inside to recap the week in Virginia Tech baseball.

The Week In Review

Friday - Game 1: 6-2 L to The Citadel
Right handed pitcher Tanner McIntyre got the start in the season opener and struggled through 1.2 innings of work. McIntyre, who the Hokies are hoping can develop into a quality Saturday starter this season, gave up four runs on four hits and was bounced after facing just 11 batters.

The biggest news from this game was the effort of pitcher Kit Scheetz. He's an undersized left-hander who had to have Tommy John surgery last year and redshirted his freshman season. He threw 6.1 innings and surrendered just a run in the second and third innings before shutting down The Citadel the rest of the game.

Offensively, the Hokies were limited to just two runs in the final frame and five hits overall. The top three in the lineup (freshman center fielder Saige Jenco, junior second baseman Alex Perez, and junior catcher Mark Zagunis) combined to hit 0 for 11 with two walks.

Saturday - Game 2: 8-1 W over Delaware

Saturday was a much better performance, as ace right-hander Brad Markey threw six innings and surrendered just one run on six hits. He struck out nine batters on 87 pitches. The Hokies will need this kind of effort from Markey throughout the season.

This time, the top three in the order went 5 for 11 with five RBIs. Cleanup hitter and first baseman Sean Keselica and DH Brendon Hayden each drove in a run as well.

True freshman right-hander Aaron McGarity, who is a candidate to start a handful of games this season, made his collegiate debut in relief of Markey. McGarity, who is a slender right-hander who can reach 90 mph on his fastball, threw two innings without surrendering a hit and struck out three. Sophomore left-hander Sean Kennedy threw a perfect ninth inning to close out the game and give Virginia Tech head coach Patrick Mason his first career win.

What We Learned

There's not much that we didn't already know. It's far too early to make judgments on some of the young players that made their debuts last weekend, as they will undoubtedly face some tough spots this season. Markey threw very well Saturday, although his big early test is this weekend against LSU.

The Week Ahead

Fri, Feb. 21 - at LSU (Baton Rouge, La. - 8:00 p.m.)
Sat, Feb. 22 - vs. Texas Southern (Baton Rouge, La. - 2:00 p.m.)
Sun, Feb. 23 - vs. Toledo (Baton Rouge, La. - 12:00 p.m.)

This weekend the Hokies head to the Bayou to play three games as part of the LSU Tournament, which will present the Hokies with the biggest test of their non-conference slate. The Tigers are ranked eighth in the country in this week's Baseball America Top 25 and went 48-8 last season on their way to Omaha. The Hokies will most likely face right-hander Aaron Nola, who was 12-1 with a 1.57 era last season. As mentioned above, this is huge measuring stick game for Virginia Tech's Markey.

The Hokies should cruise against Texas Southern, who lost 11-1 to South Dakota State and 4-2 to Jackson State to open the season last week. This might be a good opportunity to get McIntyre some confidence after last week or perhaps give McGarity his first career start.

Finally, the Hokies close out the weekend against Toledo, who went 1-2 last weekend with a win over Norfolk State but losses to Xavier and Furman. The Rockets were picked to finish third in the MAC West Division this year, so the Hokies should win this one as well.



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