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Tuesday night at English Field at Union Park, more than 500 Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets members attended the Hokies’ baseball game against Campbell. The night started with the head of Virginia Tech’s Army ROTC, Colonial Kevin Milton, presenting the ROTC scholarship to Cadet Neil Schubel – which will cover his full college tuition for the remainder of his studies at Virginia Tech. Cadet Jack Crockett threw out the first pitch, Skipper made an appearance behind the outfield wall and the Highty-Tighties played during half innings. Check out some of the images from the event below and check out the game's recap for a full gallery.
Virginia Tech blanks Canisius 11–0 behind strong pitching and timely hitting - written by Nathan Loprete of The Collegiate Times
Coming off of a weekend series against Duke, the Hokies returned to action on Monday when they hosted Canisius. Due to the impending weather that is hitting the East Coast, the game that was scheduled for Tuesday was moved up.
After working out of the bullpen on Saturday, Connor Coward made the start for Virginia Tech. Coward, who has been the Hokies' most consistent starter this year, came in with 1.86 ERA. He got run support early and settled into a rhythm on the mound after a shaky first inning.
In the first inning, Hokie second baseman Jack Owens led off with a single. He later scored on a sacrifice fly from Sam Fragale.
In the third inning with the bases loaded, Fragale singled to left and Owens scored again. The Hokies' first baseman went 2–4 with two RBIs to raise his average to .400, which is a team high
To read more, CLICK HERE
The second week of MLB's spring training featured #ProHokies Jesse Hahn picking up his first win for the Oakland Athletics, while teammate Chad Pinder hit his first home run of the spring. Check out brief write-ups on all five Hokies below, which includes links to some stories and a tweet or two.
Jesse Hahn, Oakland Athletics (link to bio)
Hahn rebounded from his opening day start to toss three scoreless innings against Texas. He scattered three hits, struck out the side in the first and picked up the win. Here are links to stories from Athletics Nation and The Mercury News about his outing.
Chad Pinder, Oakland Athletics (link to bio)
Pinder has enjoyed a nice start to the month of March, getting a start against Cleveland at shortstop on March 4 and hitting his first home run of spring training. He also came off the bench in that Texas game and singled, walked and scored a run. In March 5's game against Seattle, his sac fly RBI in the eighth proved to be the game-winner in the A's 5-4 victory. He's also struck out just once in his last six plate appearances after a three-K in five-AB February.
Ben Rowen, New York Mets (link to bio)
Rowen continues to impress on the mound, tossing two perfect frames for the Mets in two outings. He struck out two St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth on March 1 and fanned one against Houston on March 4. This spring, he's thrown three innings, allowed one hit and struck out three. Link to a brief story on him.
Mark Zagunis, Chicago Cubs (link to bio)
Off the bench in a March 2 game against the Cincinnati Reds, Zagunis had his first hit and scored his first run of spring training. He's been limited to just one plate appearance and two games since then.
Joe Mantiply, New York Yankees (link to bio)
Mantiply continues to get his chances with the Yankees. In his last appearnce, he was called in from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth in a 2-2 game with the Blue Jays. After getting the first out, he surrended a walk-off home run.
Major League Baseball’s 2017 Spring Training games are in full swing and there are five Hokies who are currently playing for their respective clubs. Below is a quick summary of their first week of action. Click on the link next to their name to see their full bio page.Jesse Hahn, Oakland Athletics (link to bio)
Started the Spring Training opener for the Athletics and struck out two in 1.2 innings of work.
Joe Mantiply, New York Yankees (link to bio)
Has already posted a 1-1 record in two relief appearances. He picked up the win after a scoreless relief inning against Baltimore.
Chad Pinder, Oakland Athletics (link to bio)
Has appeared in three games so far and has drawn one walk in five plate appearances while playing at second base in the field.
Ben Rowen, New York Mets (link to bio)
Has pitched out of the bullpen in just one game, tossing a scoreless inning despite allowing a hit.
Mark Zagunis, Chicago Cubs (link to bio)
Has played in three games so far and has drawn one walk and also has an RBI while playing in the outfield.
Pitchers and catchers began reporting to camp this week, while position players start to arrive on Feb. 16 with first full workouts for all Major League Baseball teams scheduled for Feb. 17 or Feb. 18.
With that in mind, there will be five Hokies in Spring Training this year, with the Oakland Athletics housing two. Both Jesse Hahn and Chad Pinder are part of the A's 40-man roster, while Joe Mantiply (New York Yankess), Ben Rowen (New York Mets) and Mark Zagunis (Chicago Cubs) have all received non-roster invitations.
There has already been some buzz on social media about the five Hokies, check out the tweets below.
In January, Cashman called LHR Joe Mantiply an under-the-radar P who could have an impact. Surprisingly, Mantiply was unaware of the remark— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) February 14, 2017
Could see Joe Mantiply getting a long look in SP...been successful every step of the way through the minors— Bobby Milone (@BobbyMilone29) February 14, 2017
A look at the delivery of submariner Ben Rowen, also in Mets camp on a minor league deal. pic.twitter.com/Czz7yRN8ww— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 14, 2017
Virginia Tech baseball determined to start the season 1–0 - written by Nathan Loprete of The Collegiate Times
The college baseball season is just around the corner and the Virginia Tech baseball team is ready to re-write the script. Following a 19–36 campaign in 2016, head coach Patrick Mason has put his players in the right mindset to do so. Tech has plenty of returners on the mound, but will have to replace two key bats in the lineup. The Hokies also have solid senior leadership in the clubhouse and they hope that will translate into more consistent play.
The pitching staff in Blacksburg was a major area of concern in the offseason for the Hokies. With a team ERA of 6.49, Virginia Tech had to make a move. Mason brought in an experienced pitching coach, Jamie Pinzino, in July. Pinzino had been the pitching coach at Oklahoma for three seasons and helped turn the Sooners into one of the better teams in the Big 12.
Tech saw two of its best arms go down to injuries a year ago. Luke Scherzer and Aaron McGarity went down early and it had an effect on the season. With both healthy now, Tech seems to have more depth and stability.
Scherzer talked about coming back and the role that he hopes to play in 2017. “I’m just sticking to the rehab plans,” he said. “I’m going to be expecting an innings limit. I won’t be able to throw back-to-back days.”
CLICK HERE to read the full story.
Virginia Tech Baseball Hopes for Healthy Pitching Staff in 2017 - written by Cory Van Dyke of Tech Sideline
Part two of TSL’s preview on Virginia Tech’s baseball team takes a look at the pitching rotation.
If you take one glance at the Hokies’ earned run average as a staff in 2016, the number will jump out at you. The 6.49 team ERA (last in ACC) was over a full run higher than the next worst team (Wake Forest- 5.24 ERA), and it was the obvious reason for many of Tech’s struggles in 2016.
In fact, injuries derailed the pitching staff last year and forced coach Pat Mason to put some guys in roles that they weren’t accustomed to. This year if the Hokies can avoid the injury bug, they have the arms in line to compete in the gauntlet that is the ACC.
Addition of Jamie Pinzino: In July, Tech bolstered their pitching staff when they hired Jamie Pinzino as the team’s pitching coach as well as recruiting coordinator. Pinzino had spent the previous three years at Oklahoma, where he was the pitching coach under former Virginia Tech head coach Pete Hughes. Over those three seasons, Pinzino acquired quite a reputation for developing his pitchers, as 13 hurlers from Oklahoma were selected in the MLB Draft.
CLICK HERE to read the full story.
Last week, D1Baseball.com released its 2017 season preview for the ACC and also announed its picks for Top Prospects for the 2017 and 2018 Draft and its Impact Freshmen for the year.
To see the entire preview, CLICK HERE, while below is who D1Baseball.com identified from the Hokies' roster and its capsule for the 2017 Tech program.
Packy Naughton was listed at 23, while Aaron McGarity was tabbed at 31 on its list for 2017 Top Prospects from the league, while Stevie Mangrum made the 2018 list at No. 40. The organization ranked JD Mundy at No. 31 and Connor yoder at No. 38 for the top freshmen in the ACC this incoming season.
Here is what D1Baseball wrote about the Hokies.
Virginia Tech was bad last year, finishing in the ACC basement and winning just 19 games overall, the program’s fewest since 1974. The Hokies returned to campus in the fall hungry to vanquish the memory of the 2016 season, and they appear to have a shot at posting a winning record for the first time in coach Pat Mason’s four years at the helm. Seven starters are back in the lineup, led by veteran 1B Sam Fragale (.267/.338/.445, 7 HR), a high-energy, hard-nosed captain with big power potential. Fellow fourth-year junior LF Nick Anderson (.339/.418/.483, 4 HR) was the team’s best overall hitter last year, a clutch performer with a good feel for his barrel and some pop to all fields. He figures to hit in the cleanup spot behind yet another fourth-year junior, RF Tom Stoffel, a compact lefthanded hitter who looks poised to increase his production this spring. So. DH Stevie Mangrum is a breakout candidate after a strong summer and productive fall; he’s a talented righthanded hitter with emerging power.
But Virginia Tech’s strength should be its pitching, thanks largely to the return of ace RHP Aaron McGarity and closer Luke Scherzer from injuries that cost them most (in McGarity’s case) and all (in Scherzer’s case) of the 2016 season. McGarity is a legitimate prospect who the Hokies say flashes mid-90s heat and a good slider — and he commands his stuff. Scherzer is a dogged competitor whose calling card is his swing-and-miss slider. He and polished four-pitch strike-throwing LHP Kit Scheetz will anchor the bullpen. For Virginia Tech to make some real noise, however, it will need Jr. LHP Packy Naughton (3-7, 6.75) and Jr. RHP Connor Coward (1-1, 7.42) to take big steps forward – and they both have the talent to do just that. Naughton boosted his stock significantly with a dazzling summer in the Cape, posting a 1.68 ERA over 42.2 innings while striking out 42 and walking just six. Naughton pitched at 90-93 and touched 94 mph multiple times per game in the summer, also showing a quality changeup with late action and an above-average breaking ball. Coward, meanwhile, has a fast arm that can generate low-90s heat and another putaway breaking ball when he’s on. Anderson will also see time on the mound, likely as the midweek starter. His strength is his ability to locate his 90 mph fastball at the bottom of the zone.
Virginia Tech Baseball Returns Experience Lineup in 2017 - written by Cory Van Dyke of Tech Sideline
The smell of freshly cut grass and ballpark hot dogs is in the air. Virginia Tech baseball is just under two weeks away from beginning their season on February 17 at USC Upstate.
Following a recent practice, I was able to sit down with Coach Pat Mason and discuss the 2017 season.
As a part of TSL’s increased coverage of the Hokie baseball team this year, a two-part preview on the team will be released. In the first part, I’ll take a look at Virginia Tech’s position players.
Outlook: Following a disappointing 19-36 record in his third season as Virginia Tech’s head coach, Mason intends to use last year as a learning experience and a little motivation to fire the guys up. Even through the fall practices and the practices leading up to the season now, he’s seen a renewed energy out of the team.
“You can’t forget anything that has happened in the past,” said Mason. “Good, bad, indifferent, that’s your life experience. Whether it’s on the field or wherever it is. You’re certainly trying to improve upon whatever it is that happened in the past. You’d like to maybe forget it, but it happened. How is that going to make us better this year and today? All we’re trying to do, all we focused on in the fall is trying to win the day, compete, be better today than we were yesterday. We really have a simple focus and a simple mindset with that.”
CLICK HERE to read the full story.
Last month, former Virginia Tech pitcher Ben Rowen agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Metsand was invited to attend their big league spring training.
Rowen, 28, was 0-4 with a 2.47 ERA and one save this year for Toronto's Triple-A team at Buffalo, then was claimed by Milwaukee off waivers on Aug. 4 and had a 1.69 ERA at Triple-A Colorado Springs with 12 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.
He allowed five earned runs over three innings during four games with the Brewers in September. His first big league action was eight games with Texas in 2014. He allowed five earned runs over three innings during four games with the Brewers in September. His first big league action was eight games with Texas in 2014.
Links to articles about the signing:
Newly-signed RHP Ben Rowen could bolster middle relief - By Maggie Wiggin
Featured Post: Ben Rowen might be Mets' Diamond in the Rough - By Mathew Brownstein
Virginia Tech held its December graduate on Dec. 16 in Cassel Coleseum and two former members of the Tech baseball team earned their degrees with Chad Pinder, who last played for the Hokies in 2013, and Luis Collazo, who just ended his career back in May, both finishing their coursework the past semester.
Below are some of the social graphics made for the occasion.
On November 30, #Hokieball was in the weight room for one of its last times in 2016. During the session, players attempted to lift their maximum weight in several areas and one of the Hokies' records went down and a second was almost surpassed. Tyler Horan previously held the cleaning record, but held on to keep his bench record.
Joe Freiday, Jr. took an attempt at Horan's mark and was successful.
And Horan was quick to acknowledge the effort.
Just a bit later, Sam Fragale was looking strong to break Horan's bench record, but missed. However, did get within 15 pounds, which isn't too bad.
The Virginia Tech baseball program partnered with the St. Baldrick's Foundation to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer and held their seventh annual Shave for the Brave on Sunday, November 13 on Tech's Drillfield. The Hokies were joined by members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets for the 2016 #Hokieball Shave that saw more than 80 participants go bald for the great cause.
CLICK HERE for the full release.
Below, see some of the social media posts from the event.
Trailing 2-0 entering the third frame, Team World's Sam Fragale sparked a comeback for his team as they outscored Team Virginia 10-1 over the final seven innings and won the 2016 Hokieball Fall World Series with a 10-3 victory in Game 3 on Saturday at English Field at Union Park.
Fragale, who was named the Series' MVP, hit a two-run home run in the third to turn a one-run deficit into a 3-2 lead. Team World never looked back as its pitchers were solid the entire game. Nick Anderson got the start and struck out six in three innings. Tim Salvadore (1.0 IP), Andrew McDonald (2.0 IP/4 K), Tom Stoffel (0.2/2) Culver Hughes (0.2) and Kit Scheetz (1.2) combined to allow just five hits in the last eight innings.
Fragale added a double and another run to his totals, while Stoffel also hit a two-run home run and drove in three total to lead Team World. Jake Rosen led the team with three runs scored and Ryan Tufts also crossed the plate twice.
Graham Seitz struck out six over four innings for Team Virginia to lead his team on the mound. At the plate, Jack Owens, Rahiem Cooper and JD Mundy all had two hits, with Owens getting the only extra-base hit - an RBI double in the first. Stevie Mangrum knocked home Owens in the first to give Team Virginia the 2-0 lead.
Joey Sullivan worked three perfect frames and a total of five Team Virginia pitchers combined to allow just four hits to help their team to a 10-4 victory on Tuesday night at English Field at Union Park and even the #Hokieball Fall World Series at one game each and set up a final winner-take-all scenario on Saturday.
Sullivan struck out five and walked two in his 3.2 innings of work while Keagan McGinnis (1.0 IP), Robert Riddick (2.1), Paul Hall, Jr. (1.2) and Graham Seitz (0.1) held Team World to just four runs, as walks hurt the staff - all four runs that scored got on base with a free pass.
It was not enough for Team World, though, as Team Virginia came out with two first-inning runs and never looked back. Mac Caples and JD Mundy had RBIs in the first, while Stevie Mangrum knocked in three total - two with a single in the fifth and another with a double in the seventh.
Caples led his team with three runs, with Grant Maiorana and Jack Owens each crossing the plate two times. Rahiem Cooper had two hits, including his third triple of the series and Marcus White also had a three-base hit.
Matt Dauby led Team World at the plate with two hits, including a double, and two RBIs and Sam Fragale added an RBI double.
The final game of the #Hokieball Fall World Series will take place on Saturday afternoon at English Field at Union Park with a 4 p.m. first pitch.
Behind Ryan Tufts and Nick Anderson, Team World opened the #Hokieball Fall World Series with a 13-2 victory over Team Virginia on Friday night at English Field at Union Park. Tufts finished with four doubles, drove in three runs and scored three times, while Anderson had a triple, three RBIs and pitched four strong innings on the mound to open the game.
Leading 2-1 after three, Team World scored in every inning from the fourth to the eighth with everyone in its lineup contributing to the offense. Tom Stoffel had an RBI and two runs, Joe Freiday, Jr. had three RBI singles, Sam Fragale scored twice and knocked in two, Matt Dauby had a double, a triple and two runs, and Jake Rosen also crossed the plate twice.
For Team Virginia, Rahiem Cooper had two triples and scored two runs - in the first and ninth - to highlight his team's offensive efforts.
Team World's pitching staff of Anderson (4 IP), Tim Salvadore (1 IP), Cole Kragle (1 IP), Culver Hughes (1 IP), Andrew McDonald (0.2 IP) and Kit Scheetz (1.1 IP) shutdown their opposition's bats for most of the night to help lead the squad to victory.
Game 2 of the Fall World Series is set for Tuesday at English Field at Union Park with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. Game 3 will be Saturday starting at 4 p.m.
The Virginia Tech baseball team has practiced and scrimmaged the past five weeks, now it's time for the Hokes' Fall World Series. The squad split up into two teams and will play a best-of-three series strarting tonight at 5:30 p.m. at English Field at Union Park.
Game 2 is slated for Tuesday night, Oct. 25 with a 7 p.m. first pitch and Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 29, with a 4 p.m. start.
The Virginia Tech baseball team has seen an increase in the media interest for the program this fall which has led to a couple of postscrimmage availability for players and coaches. Below are the outlets covering the team this fall and links to the stories they have posted so far.
Tech Sidelines: Cory Van Dyke
- Virginia Tech Baseball makes strides in fall ball (Oct. 3, 2016)
- Virginia Tech Baseball looking for improvement in fall ball (Sept. 26, 2016)
Collegiate Times: Nathan Loprete
- Hokies' pitching staff right on schedule for spring (Oct. 5, 2016)
- Tech baseball looks forward to 2017 (Sept. 28, 2016)
FOX Sports Radio 1340 AM: Amber Miller
- Hokie Fall Ball: Freiday, Jr. coming back stronger than ever (Oct. 1, 2016)
- Virginia Tech fall ball recap (Sept. 25, 2016)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference has selected host locales and venues for eight of its 2016-17 league championships. Championship sites and dates announced on Tuesday includes the 2017 ACC Baseball Championship, which will be held from May 23-28.
The 2017 event will be held at Louisville Slugger Field, in Louisville, Kentucky. The stadium, which opened in 2000, boasts a seating capacity of 13,131 and is home to the Louisville Bats’ minor league team. Louisville Slugger Field played host to the 2008 Triple-A All-Star Game and features 32 private suites in addition to second-level club seating.
Last Friday, Tech Sidelines' baseball beat writer Cory Van Dyke attended the Hokies second fall scrimmage and afterwards spoke with head coach Patrick Mason and several players. He posted a story on the site on Tuesday. Below are the first few graphs of the story, CLICK HERE to read the story in its entirety.
After a long offseason, Virginia Tech baseball is finally in the full swing of their fall season, lacing up the cleats and stepping back onto the diamond. With a week of practice now complete, the Hokies had their second intrasquad scrimmage Friday night under the lights at English Field at Union Park.
“Last week they each threw one inning, and tonight we saw a couple guys throw two innings, so they’re still finding their identity,” said head coach Patrick Mason. “Some guys who are new to our program and maybe aren’t comfortable yet, and some of the older guys in leadership roles are still trying to figure out what their role is. I think what I’ve seen from our team is still a team searching for their identity, but we’ve had some leaders like Sam Fragale be more vocal. Kit Scheetz has been pretty vocal, as well as Luke Scherzer. So we’ve had some guys emerge as leaders who weren’t necessarily leaders last year. Sam in particular has done a really good job in that role.”
Again, CLICK HERE to read the story in its entirety.
On May 2, 2006, Virginia Tech baseball's legendary coach Chuck Hartman announced during a meeting with his team that he would retire as the Hokies' head coach following the completion of the 2006 season. Just over four months later, the Tech Athletics Department honored Hartman for his years of service as the Hokies' coach at a retirement dinner.
That evening, Sept. 22, 2006, it was revealed the familiar No. 1 he wore for 28 seasons as the Hokies' skipper would no longer be seen on a baseball jersey at Virginia Tech. The No. 1 became the first baseball number retired by the school and joined the late, great Johnny Oates as the only numbers honored by Tech on its outfield wall at English Field at Union Park. Oates jersey was retired on May 4, 2002.
Left: Coach Hartman at the conclusion of his final home game at Tech on May 16, 2006 - Chuck Hartman Night - alongside his late wife, Ellen.
Recently, Tech Sidelines writer Cory Van Dyke caught up with Tech players Connor Coward and Andrew McDonald to talk about their 2016 summer league experiences in the Prospects League. Below are the first few graphs of the story, CLICK HERE to read the story in its entirety.
Sometimes in life ‘Plan A’ isn’t always going to happen as anticipated. It’s during those times when the true character of an athlete is tested.
For junior Connor Coward and redshirt junior Andrew McDonald, the 2016 campaign left a bitter taste for both, as each had their struggles on the bump. However, instead of dwelling in the past, both pitchers found refuge in the Prospect League over the summer to work on their craft.
As a member of the Butler BlueSox, Coward excelled, posting a 3-1 record in nine starts along with a 2.22 earned run average and 68 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched. McDonald found similar success with the Champion City Kings, holding a record of 2-5 in 11 starts despite a paltry 2.80 earned run average.
“It’s my second year playing there,” said Coward. “I absolutely love the organization. It’s one of the best run organizations I’ve ever played for. They fill the seats every night and the fans are great. Overall, I wanted to go back to the basics pretty much and just get my footing in a place where I know that I can succeed.”
For full story, CLICK HERE.
Recently, Roanoke Times sports writer Mark Berman caught up with former Tech player Chad Pinder, who became the school's 18th Major League Baseball player, and Oakland Athletics' assistant general manager Dan Feinstein for a story. The article appeared in the paper over the weekend. Below are the first few graphs of the story, CLICK HERE to read the story in its entirety.
Three years ago, Chad Pinder helped the Virginia Tech baseball team reach the NCAA tournament.
Now, he’s in the major leagues.
The former Hokies infielder was promoted by the Oakland Athletics from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 17, and made his major-league debut three days later.
“It’s been awesome,” Pinder said Saturday in a phone interview. “It’s something that you work for your whole life, and now, you get to experience it.”
Pinder entered Saturday having started five games for Oakland — three at shortstop and two at second base. Oakland put second baseman Tyler Ladendorf on the disabled list on the day it promoted Pinder.
“At first, you get to the [Oakland] locker room and you’re like, ‘Wow. This is it. This is awesome,’ ” Pinder said. “But now, you know you’ve got a job to do.”
For full story, CLICK HERE.
Recently, John McConigal of the Centre Daily Times (State College, Pennsylvania) wrote a story on former Virginia Tech centerfielder Saige Jenco and his adjustment to the minor leagues. Below is the first couple of paragraphs, CLICK HERE to read the full story.
On Wednesday, August 17, former Virginia Tech infielder Chad Pinder was called up to the big leagues by the Oakland Athletics and joined the team in Texas. Shortly after the official announcement, Hokie Nation responded on social media - below are some of those mentions. CLICK HERE to see all the most recent tweets about our most recent MLB player.
Congratulations to Chad Pinder on his call up with @Athletics .. Good Luck! #hokienation is proud! #HokieBall pic.twitter.com/3pUoTKRd7j— Patrick Mason (@PatrickMason22) August 17, 2016
McGarity, who was drafted in the 34th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft by the Boston Red Sox, did not sign with the organization prior to the signing deadline, which was July 15. McGarity was limited last year due to injury, but did appear in 10 games, struck out 19 in 11.1 innings pitched and posted a 2-0 record with one save and a 2.38 ERA. The Richmond, Virginia, native returns to the Hokies as a redshirt-junior, which means he could still pitch two more seasons with the program.
Dauby, who played four seasons with Tech and went through Senior Day ceremonies at English Field at Union Park back in May, was recently granted a hardship appeal by the NCAA and thereby established another year of eligibility. The Carmel, Indiana, product played in 125 career games for the Hokies. The now, redshirt-senior made the most of what could have been his final season by posting career season highs in every offensive category, including 31 runs, which tied for fourth on the team, and three home runs (tied for third).
In Monday's Roanoke Times - on the front page of the main section - Travis Williams wrote a great story on Blacksburg native and former Virginia Tech baseball player Tom Blaszak (2002-05) and his wife Whitney, who spent four years trying to adopt an Ethiopian girl they had met during a mission trip in 2012. Below are the first few graphs of the story, CLICK HERE to read the story in its entirety.
Whitney Blaszak knelt to catch the tiny Ethiopian child hurling through the airport gate towards her.
With tear-soaked cheeks, the mother received the embrace she and her husband, Tom Blaszak, had worked tirelessly for four years to make happen.
“It’s better than I ever imagined,” Whitney Blaszak said.
Last month, Tom Blaszak made the 8,000-mile trip to Ethiopia to officially adopt Tigest, a 10-year-old orphan the Christiansburg couple met during a 2012 mission trip.
On Saturday, he returned with the girl and introduced her to her three younger sisters — Sydney, 6, Kaylee, 2, and Taylor, 11 months — to her grandparents and to family friends who had gathered at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
The moment marked the end of the family’s four-year battle that included struggling with the American and Ethiopian governments, being caught in the middle of an international fraud scheme with a corrupt adoption agency, and spending more than $50,000 to make the child their daughter.
“It’s almost unreal ... It’s like a dream come true,” Tom Blaszak said.
The Blaszaks’ dream began when they decided to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary in June 2012 by taking a 10-day mission trip aimed at helping children in the Korah village of Ethiopia.
For full story, CLICK HERE.
Stadium Journey has visited and reviewed almost every ballpark in Division I college baseball and recently posted its newest rankings of the Top 50 best ballparks in college baseball and Virginia Tech's English Field came in at No. 4.
With the College World Series completed, Stadium Journey compiled the work of correspondents across the country to produce the 2016 NCAA Ballpark Experience Rankings. With 295 NCAA Division I ballparks reviewed, they're just four short of their goal to review each Division I college baseball venue (sorry to Washington State, Monmouth, Tennessee-Martin, and NYIT).
Stadium Journey used the "FANFARE" system to provide an overall fan experience rating based on several important categories. These categories include F - Food & Beverage (concessions), A - Atmosphere, N - Neighborhood, F - Fans, A - Access, R - Return on Investment, and E - Extras. The combined average score is based on a five star system, where five is the highest rating possible.
CLICK HERE to see their complete rankings and be sure to click on each review for an in-depth description of the ballpark's rating.
On June 17, Saige Jenco officially signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who drafted the Virginia Tech outfielder in the 24th round of the 2016 MLB draft. Three days later the organization assigned the State College, Pennsylvania native to the Odgen Raptors. Jenco (CLICK HERE for his MiLB page) sent out an instagram just before his first game, shown below, and several congratulations then poured in.
During the week of May 23-28, the Virginia Tech social media accounts honored the six seniors of the program with posts thanking them for their time with the Hokies, which included an image from each of their seasons with the program. Follow @VT_Baseball to better see the full images and to follow what the players are doing this summer.
Currently there are 12 former Virginia Tech baseball members who are currently playing professional baseball during the 2016 season. Below (by level) is a brief progress report on each. CLICK HERE for a page that includes all players and links to their professional bios.
Jesse Hahn – Nashville Sound
Has made two starts, has tossed six innings in each and has 11 strikeouts … Despite not allowing an earned run in either game, has not factored into a decision … Opponents are batting just .154 against him (six hits and four walks) and has a 0.83 WHIP.
Chad Pinder – Nashville Sound
Ten games into his first Triple-A season, Pinder is batting a healthy .250 with 10 hits (two doubles) in 40 at-bats … After getting just two hits in his first five games, has eight in the last five including a 3 for 5 night on April 18 … Has collected three RBIs and has scored a pair of runs … Has started mostly at shortstop.
Ben Rowen – Buffalo Bison
Has made six appearances out of the bullpen, tossing 6.0 innings and striking out six … Struck out the side in his first appearance of the year, April 8 … Has allowed eight hits and just one earned run, while walking four batters, one intentional.
Tim Smalling – Albuquerque Isotopes
In 11 games so far, Smalling has seen action at third, second, DH and has been up and down the lineup … However, he’s batting .278 with 10 hits, which includes a double and a grand slam … Has posted three multi-hit games, including a season-high three hits with two runs scored on April 18 … Adds five runs and six RBIs to his totals.
Justin Wright – Memphis Cardinals
Has made five appearances out of the bullpen, tossing 4.2 innings and striking out five … Struck out two batters in his first game, April 7 … Has allowed four hits and four walks, but has given up just one run, on a solo home run on April 11 … Has not factored in any decisions … Closing in on 300 career innings pitched in the pros (298.2 IP) and has 321 strikeouts in that time.
Tyler Horan – Richmond Flying Squirrels
Being used mostly off the bench, Horan has two hits, including a pinch-hit RBI single on April 18 … Has two RBI in his last two games … In two starts, has been in left field.
Joe Mantiply – Erie SeaWolves
Has made six appearances out of the bullpen, tossing 6.2 innings and striking out six … Struck out two batters in two relief appearances … Has allowed five hits and three walks, and has yet to allow an earned run (two unearned) … Has not factored in any decisions.
Brad Markey – Tennessee Smokies
Has made two starts, has tossed five innings in each and has five strikeouts … Despite allowing just two earned runs, has not factored into a decision … Opponents are batting just .222 against him (eight hits and two walks) and has a 1.00 WHIP.
Ronnie Shaban – Springfield Cardinals
Has made four appearances out of the bullpen, tossing 3.2 innings and striking out five … Is 2 for 2 in save opportunities … Struck out two batters game on April 12 … Has allowed three hits and no walks and two earned runs … Has a 0.82 WHIP.
Mark Zagunis – Tennessee Smokies
Ten games into his first Double-A season, Zagunis is batting a healthy .250 with eight hits (two doubles) in 32 at-bats … Had a season best 3 for 4 game on April 11 … Has collected two RBIs and has scored three times, while adding six walks for a .368 on-base percentage … Eight of his 10 starts have been in left field, with one in right and one as DH
Eddie Campbell – Bakersfield Blaze
Has made two starts for the Blaze and has a 1-0 record … Picked up win on April 16 after tossing 5.0 innings, allowing four hits and no runs and striking out seven … Has a total of 8.2 innings pitched, which pushed his career innings pitched to 302.0 and has 263 strikeouts in that time.
Brendon Hayden – Lakewood BlueClaws
Has been the starting first baseman for the BlueClaws and already has 11 games under his belt … Has eight hits, including a double, and three walk and has crossed the plate three times … Also stole his first professional base on April 13.
On Tuesday, April 5, the Tech baseball team held its annual Military Appreciation game at English Field at Union Park, which included several pregame ceremonies, the Highty Tighties performing the National Anthem (and during some inning breaks) and Skipper firing at the end of the anthem.
Almost 500 members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets attended the game and were on hand during a scholarship presentation pregame and the ceremonial first pitch delivered by freshman cadet Christopher Us.
The five members of the Corps of Cadets' Army ROTC program who were presented ROTC scholarship awards were Samuel Strickler, Nathan Stanley, Kathryn Strauss, John Shevlin and Anastasia Alvarez-Johnson.
With Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season starting today, it’s a good time to reflect on what former Virginia Tech players did during spring training with MLB clubs and where the Hokies will call home to start the 2016 season.
Below (listed alphabetically by MLB team) are seven former players who saw action in spring training and where (if available) they will open their seasons. Below that are other Hokies with assignments (if available). CLICK HERE to navigate to the 2015 “Follow the Hokies in the pros” page that includes links to each players’ official MiLB bio page.
Mark Zagunis – Played in five games and had six at-bats … Had a hit, a triple, and two walks, scoring two runs … Has been assigned to the Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League.
Tim Smalling – Played in five games and had seven at-bats … Hit .429 with three hits, including a double … Also added a walk and two RBIs to his totals … no official news on assignment.
Joe Mantiply – Pitched in one game, a total of 0.2 innings … allowed an earned run in that appearance … has been assigned to the Erie SeaWolves, Double-A, Eastern League.
Jesse Hahn – Started five games and threw a total of 15.1 innings … was 0-1 with an 11.15 ERA … Struck out 11 and walked seven … has been optioned to Triple-A Nashville to start the season … is on the A’s 40-man roster.
Chad Pinder – Was a non-roster invitee to spring training … Played in 19 games and had 25 at-bats … Hit .240 with six hits, including a double and two home runs … Scored seven runs and knocked in four … Had a .520 slugging percentage and a .321 on-base percentage … no official news on assignment.
San Francisco Giants
Tyler Horan – Appeared in three games and went 0 for 2 and drew a walk … no official news on assignment.
Toronto Blue Jays
Ben Rowen – Appeared in three games and pitched a total of 1.2 innings and posted a 1-0 record … Allowed six earned runs in his time on the mound … Has been optioned to the Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A, International League.
Brad Markey – Has been assigned to the Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League.
Brendon Hayden – Has been assigned to the Lakewood BlueClaws, Class-A, South Atlantic League.
No assignments yet for …
Virginia Tech President Dr. Timothy Sands, Athletic Director Whit Babcock and Hokies’ Baseball Coach Patrick Mason joined Union Bank & Trust CEO Billy Beale on the field today for a special ceremony. See Photo Gallery and Video below.
Earlier this week, Virginia Tech announced a partnership and $3.5 million gift from Union Bank & Trust, which will be used for upgrades to what is now known as English Field at Union Park. The baseball team presented Beale with a framed jersey and he also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Hokies’ game against Notre Dame.
Name: Connor Yoder
Position: Right-hand pitcher
Weight: 230 pounds
Hometown: Enola, Pennsylvania
High School: East Pennsboro
Other Schools considered: Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia
Why did you choose Tech? I liked the family feel, the scenery and the outdoor environment.
What was your favorite thing about your visit? Hanging out with my future teammates.
What do you like about the Tech baseball program? It is one big family, and I think the coaching staff will make me a much better player.
What are your baseball strengths? My mental toughness and my power to not give up.
Who is your favorite pro baseball player? Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan
What is your most memorable baseball moment and why? Winning in Cooperstown and throwing 14 consecutive no-hit innings last spring.
What do you think you will major in? Economics
What's one thing you'd want Tech fans to know about you? I love the outdoors – hunting and fishing.
Name: Jake Rosen
Position: middle infield
Weight: 170 pounds
Hometown: Northborough, Massachusetts
High School: Saint John’s (Shrewsbury, Mass.)
Other Schools considered: Holy Cross, Northeastern, UConn
Career numbers (through junior season): In 64 games over three seasons, has a combined .325 batting average, a .450 on-base percentage and an .800 OPS percentage … Mostly batting leadoff, scored 61 runs, added 42 RBIs, stole 53 bases and hit one home run.
Why did you choose Tech? I chose Virginia Tech because the moment I stepped on campus, I felt at home. The campus is amazing and I loved the Hokie spirit all throughout Blacksburg. The baseball coaches are awesome and I cannot wait to develop both on the baseball field but also in the classroom.
What was your favorite thing about your visit? My favorite thing about my visit was the football game. It was the last home game for Coach (Frank) Beamer and the environment was electric. It was a great game and although VT lost, it was really exciting being there for Coach Beamers last home game.
What do you like about the Tech baseball program? I like that the team comes together and really forms a bond. Everyone has one goal, and that is to make it to the tournament. I hope to contribute as much as possible and help the team reach the goal of getting to Omaha.
What are your baseball strengths? My baseball strengths are fielding, hitting for average and my speed on the base paths. I always give 110 percent and I’m always trying to learn and craft my skills.
Who is your favorite pro baseball player? My favorite professional baseball player is Detroit Tigers middle infielder Ian Kinsler. He plays the game the right way and is very gritty and hard nosed.
What is your most memorable baseball moment and why? My most memorable baseball moment was during my freshman year in high school. I was called up from my JV baseball game to pinch-hit for the Varsity team just right across the street. I ended up hitting a double and scored the tying run that resulted in our team winning on a walk-off single.
What do you think you will major in? I will be majoring in liberal arts undeclared.
What's one thing you'd want Tech fans to know about you? I’d let fans know I love the water and someday hope to own a big boat!
Name: JD Mundy
Position: Corner infield
Height: 6 foot
Weight: 210 pounds
Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia
High School: Northside
Other Schools considered: None
Career numbers (through junior season): Has a .445 batting average with nine home runs and a .545 on-base percentage.
Why did you choose Tech? I love the field, the coaches and the facilities. It’s close to home so my family can come see my play.
What was your favorite thing about your visit? The James C. Weaver Baseball Center.
What do you like about the Tech baseball program? I think it’s up and coming. I believe in the coaching staff and I think we can do good things in the future.
What are your baseball strengths? Hitting. Working the count. Power. I can be coached. I love the game.
Who is your favorite pro baseball player? Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.
What is your most memorable baseball moment and why? Hitting a home run to the opposite field with a wood bat over the “Monster” at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.
What do you think you will major in? Business
What's one thing you'd want Tech fans to know about you? I’m hardworking. I like the big moments. I love playing the game.
Name: Keagan McGinnis
Position: Right-hand pitcher
Weight: 215 pounds
Hometown: Haymarket, Virginia
High School: Battlefield
Other Schools considered: Maryland, North Carolina, Old Dominion, VCU
Career numbers (through junior season): Appeared in 13 games, tossing 41.2 innings … Allowed just seven earned runs and posted a 4-2 record with one save.
Why did you choose Tech? The family-feel of the team and it’s a great choice both academically and athletically for me.
What was your favorite thing about your visit? Meeting my future teammates, the ones in my freshman class, and also the current players on the team.
What do you like about the Tech baseball program? There seems to be great team chemistry and close relationships between the players and coaches.
What are your baseball strengths? My mental toughness, my athleticism and my length.
Who is your favorite pro baseball player? Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer.
What is your most memorable baseball moment and why? It would be the entire Sports at the Beach Tournament in Rehoboth, Delaware, where I was named the MVP. I won two games, including the championship game, and saved two games. I had 23 strikeouts and only allowed three hits in 14 innings pitched. I also hit .415 with a home run and three doubles. The team went 7-0 and was the tournament champions.
What do you think you will major in? Business
What's one thing you'd want Tech fans to know about you? I lived in the same town my whole life and I will be the first in my family to attend Virginia Tech.
Name: Dylan Hall
Position: Right-hand pitcher
Weight: 220 pounds
Hometown: Stafford, Virginia
High School: Mountain View
Other Schools considered: Maryland, VCU
Career numbers (through junior season): Three-year letterwinner … First team all-conference pitcher … 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold … USA Baseball Capitol region team … 2014-15 all-area athlete … Perfect Game preseason all-american high honorable mention … 1.175 ERA, 0.923 WHIP.
Why did you choose Tech? Growing up I always liked VT. Virginia Tech offers very high-level baseball being in the ACC. Education is also very good at VT. They give you all the opportunity to succeed. The coaches made it clear they wanted me.
What was your favorite thing about your visit? I enjoyed touring the campus and meeting coaching staff. It gave me a better understanding of the facilities and support at VT.
What do you like about the Tech baseball program? They work hard to put the players in position to be successful both on and off the field.
What are your baseball strengths? I handle pressure well and I’m a team player. I’m coachable and I command the strike zone well.
Who is your favorite pro baseball player? St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainright, he goes about his game very classy and is an All-Star pitcher.
What is your most memorable baseball moment and why? Throwing a complete game, one-hitter and hitting a home run to win the game, 1–0, last season to lead our team into the playoffs.
What do you think you will major in? Business
What's one thing you'd want Tech fans to know about you? I can’t wait to be a part of something great at VT. My high school colors are already maroon/orange, so I’m already used to it.
Former Virginia Tech catcher Wyatt Toregas (2002-04) will be returning to the West Virginia Black Bears to manage the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates for a second season. Toregas led the team to the New York-Penn League Championship in 2015, his first year with the team. CLICK HERE for the official release.
We are excited to announce that Wyatt Toregas will be joining us again as our Manager in 2016! pic.twitter.com/Jbtxv60V1F— WV Black Bears (@WVBlackBears) December 15, 2015
Melissa Lockard, who writes for the website 2080 Baseball, recently posted an article on the organization's site about former Virginia Tech player Chad Pinder. Below is a link to the story and credit goes to Assistant Coach Ryan Connolly for finding the piece.
On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Virginia Tech baseball team held its second annual Video Game Tournament/Toy Drive that supports the Montgomery County Christmas Store. The tournament this year was NHL16 with the entry fee being a new or unopened toy. The event had over 50 competitors and over 75 toys were donated to the Montgomery County Christmas Store in Christiansburg yesterday. The winner of the tournament was sophomore Max Ponzurick, who beat sophomore Chris Monaco in the title game. It was Event No. 14 during the 2015-16 academic season of the team's 19 Ways campaign.
On Thursday, the Virginia Tech baseball program stopped by head football coach Frank Beamer's office to present him with a special framed No. 25 jersey which included an image of when he threw out the first pitch at a baseball game in 2014.
Beamer, who earned several varsity letters during his high school days at Hillsville High before coming to Blacksburg to play football, announced earlier this season that his 29th season as Tech football coach will be his last.
BLACKSBURG – For the third straight fall, the Virginia Tech baseball program will end the semester by hosting its Military Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday morning, Dec. 3 for approximately 50 veterans, corps of cadet members and their superiors. Part of the team’s 19 Ways campaign, which challenges the team to find 19 ways to help give back to the community, the breakfast also serves as a thank you to the corps for the year-long relationship the Hokies have maintained with them.
This fall, not only did the team participated in two grueling morning sessions with the military – working out on the ROTC obstacle course (images of event can be seen by clicking here) and taking part in an Air Force Special Operations Preparation Team workout, but Colonel Dave Miller, Ph.D., Deputy Commandant for Leader Development and Director of the MG W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development, also met with the team several times in the fall to help them work on developing personal leadership skills. At the last session of the fall semester, the Hokies presented Colonel Miller with a Tech jersey (image right).
Event No. 13 will be followed by No. 14 just two days later, as the team will hold its second annual Video Game Tournament/Toy Drive. The date for this event is Saturday, Dec. 5 and entry into the tournament is a new or unopened toy that will be donated to the Montgomery Country Christmas Store. (CLICK HERE for more information).
Over the past month, since the team’s signature event – the Shave for the Brave – the team has also been helping out with the Special Olympics Taste of Inspiration event, assisting with a soccer clinic at Eastern Montgomery Elementary School and volunteering at the Special Olympics bowling league in Christiansburg.
For more information on the team’s 19 Ways campaign or to see images from the events, please visit the Facebook page.
Former Virginia Tech players Chad Pinder and Mark Zagunis recently concluded their seasons in the Arizona Fall League which brought to a close the 2015 calendar for the Hokies in the pros.
Pinder, who is with the Oakland Athletics’ organization, played in just 13 games for the Mesa Solar Sox, but was able to get in 51 at-bats. He posted a .235 average, but slugged .549 as seven of his 12 hits went for extra bases. He hit four home runs, which was tied for fourth in the league, while his slugging percentage would have ranked him sixth, but he did not qualify. Pinder also had two doubles and a triple, scored 11 times and drove in nine runs.
He was named to the AFL’s Fall-Star Game, going 1 for 4 in the contest, and was a member of the MLB Pipeline’s 2015 All-Arizona Fall League Team. Here’s what was written about him in the article (see full article here) …
"2B: Chad Pinder (A's No. 7 prospect) - Pinder, 23, hit a career-high 15 home runs (and 32 doubles)
this year at Double-A Midland, eliminating much of the doubt about whether his power would
translate outside of the California League. That trend continued in the Fall League, where he hit
four home runs in only 13 games and once again showed an impressive blend of bat speed
and barrel awareness. While Pinder possesses the arm strength for shortstop, his range and
tendency to field balls close to his body are better suited for the keystone long term."
Zagunis, who is with the Chicago Cubs’ organization, played in 16 games, also for the Mesa Solar Sox, and batted .234. However, Zagunis was a walking machine, leading the league with 19 bases on balls, good for a .455 on-base percentage, which was second in the league. He added 11 hits, two doubles and a home run, scored six runs and collected six RBIs. He reached base safely in 14 straight games to start the AFL.
MLB.com reporter William Boor wrote a very good article the other day on former Tech player and Oakland A's No. 7 pro prospect Chad Pinder. Pinder is working toward finishing his communications degree from Virginia Tech while playing in the Arizona Fall league.
To read the story, CLICK HERE.
Getting ready for the 2016 baseball season isn't all hard work on the field, in the cages or in the weight room. Sometimes, guys get to relax and get ready for it in other ways (see below regarding a group team-building outing - Oct. 18 entry). Yesterday, a handful of upperclassmen were in the James C. Weaver Baseball Center taking part in a photo shoot - images that will be used for the team's poster and other marketing materials. Below are a few images of the shoot. CLICK HERE to go to the team's facebook page and see more images.
A couple days before Halloween, the Virginia Tech baseball players received a special treat from the equipment room as their customized Easton gloves arrived. Many of the Hokies took to social media to thank the company and display their new prized possession.
Senior Andrew Mogg belted two home runs, including a grand slam, to help Orange to a decisive 19-9 victory on Sunday over Maroon, which clinched the Virginia Tech Fall World Series for his side. Mogg, who was named the series' MVP, racked up seven RBIs with a three-run bomb in the fourth and the grand slam in the sixth.
Freshman Stephen Polansky was a double away from cycle, as he went 5 for 5 with a triple and solo home run, scored four times and drove in three more. Phil Sciretta, who also tripled, also crossed the plate four times.
Freshmen led Maroon at the plate, with Stevie Mangrum registering a home run and two doubles and collecting five RBIs, and Grant Maiorana scoring four times. Senior Matt Dauby had two hits, which included a two-run home run.
After being held scoreless in the top of the first, Orange scored at least one run in every inning after, responding each time to Maroon, who scored in each of the first four innings. Tied at 7-7 entering the fifth, Orange put four on the board to take control of the contest and extended that with a seven-spot in the sixth.
In Game 2 of the Virginia Tech Baseball's Fall World Series, Andrew Mogg delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap a three-run frame for Orange and Luis Collazo tossed a scoreless seventh to help the team even the series at one game apiece.
Pitching ruled the game early as freshmen pitchers Payton Holdsworth (Maroon) and Culver Hughes (Orange) combined to throw 10 innings (five each), allow nine hits and surrender two earned runs.
Holdsworth added four strikeouts to his total, but Orange scored one run in the fourth off him when Phil Sciretta scampered in from third on a wild pitch (video below).
Hughes, who struck out eight in a no-decision effort, allowed a lead-off double in the sixth to Joe Freiday, Jr., before Collazo came in from the pen. Maroon took the lead on a two-RBI double by Matt Dauby (video below), who then scored on a single by Sam Fragale.
Orange battled back in the bottom of the frame, pulling to within one at 3-2 on a Rahiem Cooper sacrifice fly before Mogg, who went 3 for 3 in the game, brought in Stephen Polansky and Sciretta with the go ahead run (video below).
Collazo allowed a baserunner in the seventh, but closed the game out with a strikeout and groundout to give Orange the win. Game 3 will be held Sunday morning at English Field.