Baseball welcomes 16 new Hokies for upcoming season

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech baseball welcomes 16 newcomers to its team for the upcoming baseball season, a squad that will be under new leadership in the form of head coach John Szefc and staff, and a team that will play in a newly renovated English Field at Union Park.

The class includes seven pitchers, four infielders, three outfielders and two catchers. There are four junior-college transfers in the class and 12 freshmen from a total of nine states, while two come from Canada. Two each are from North Carolina and Georgia, while a total of four call Pennsylvania home.

See all 16 players below - listed in alphabetical order. Clicking on a player's name will take you to his full bio page, complete with a head shot.

Zach Brzykcy - a freshman pitcher from Taylorsville, North Carolina. He earned three varsity letters while playing at Alexander Central for coach Pete Hardee. During his senior season, he posted a 9-2 record with a 1.53 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched. Brzykcy tossed four complete games, two of which were shutouts, while opponents hit just .098 against him.

Derek Drees - a freshman pitcher from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Drees earned varsity letters for three seasons while playing for coach Tony Cicalello at Benilde-St. Margaret's. As a senior, he went 6-1 with a 1.15 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 61 innings, while walking just 20 which led to a spot on the MSHSBCA AAA All-State Team. Drees earned his second straight All-Section and All-Conference honors in 2017. As a junior, he was 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 39 innings.

Michael Fernandez - a freshman infielder from Miami, Florida. He earned varsity letters for three years while playing for coach Joe Weber at Christopher Columbus and helped the Explorers to the 2015 8A state championship and a spot in the 9A title game in 2016. As a senior, batted .337 with seven doubles and five home runs, scored 25 runs and added 18 RBI while leading his team to a 25-3 record and a No. 5 ranking in the nation by MaxPreps and earning the 9A-15 Player of the Year award.

Gavin Hinchliffe - a freshman pitcher from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Hinchliffe earned varsity letters for three years while playing for coach Mike Welsh at Pottsville. In 2017, he posted a 0.30 ERA after allowing just two earned runs over 38.0 innings while striking out 63 to earn 2017 First Team All-Region and Perfect Game Atlantic First Team as a pitcher. He helped the Crimson Tide to a 23-5 record, the Schuylkill League and District 11 Class AAA championships and a berth in the PIAA semifinals in 2015.

Luke Horanski - a junior college transfer catcher from Dugald, Manitoba, Canada. Last season, he spent the year at Cisco JC and was named First Team All-Conference as a catcher after playing in 40 games and finishing fourth on the team in batting with a .356 average and second in both on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.526). He had 36 hits, including nine doubles, a triple and two home runs, walked 23 times (third on the team) and was hit by six pitches. Horanski scored 22 runs, added 19 RBI and struck out just 12 times in 101 at-bats, the fewest on the team of players with at least 80 ABs.

Cam Irvine - a freshman infielder from Penn Laird, Virginia. He earned varsity letters all four years while playing for coach Marcus Davis at Spotswood. Three times Irvine was named an All-Valley District team member, an All-Conference 29 team member and an all-area player at shortstop. As a senior, batted .377 with 29 hits, 18 RBI and 15 stolen bases while helping the Blazers to the 2017 Conference 29 semifinals after hitting a bases-loaded triple in the sixth that broke a 4-4 tie.

Darion Jacoby - a freshman outfielder from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He earned varsity letters all four seasons while playing for coach Mike Welsh at Pottsville. On the diamond, Jacoby helped the Crimson Tide to a 23-5 record, the Schuylkill League and District 11 Class AAA championships and a berth in the PIAA semifinals in 2015, batting .363 (33-for-91) with seven doubles, 31 runs scored and an area-best 34 RBI as a sophomore. As a junior, he batted an area-best .418 (28-for-67) with 26 runs scored and an area-best 10 doubles.

Zach Kokoska - a freshman outfielder from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He earned varsity letters all four years while playing for coach Matt Basciano at Greater Latrobe. Led the Wildcats to its first WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A titles to earn Pennsylvania's 2017 Gatorade state Baseball Player of the Year and USA Today's state Player of the Year honors to go along with the Tribune Review's Player of the Year and MSA's Diamond Stud's Player of the Year honors. As a senior, Kokoska batted .538 with a school-record five home runs, six doubles and a team-high 42 hits, while adding 29 RBI and 30 runs. On the mound, he was 4-0 with two saves, had 35 strikeouts and a 1.52 ERA in 24 innings.

Nick Menken - junior college transfer outfielder from Bartlett, Illinois. He spent the last two years at Iowa Western CC, and last season, helped the team to a 44-16 record and a Region XI tournament finalist. Menken hit .317 with 38 hits, including nine doubles (second-most on the team), three triples and two home runs. He drove in 31 runs and a scored a team-high 48 times and also led the team with 33 walks, and was hit by nine pitches to post a .488 on-base percentage, and stole a team-high 18 bases.

Ryan Metz- a freshman pitcher from Fishers, Indiana. He earned varsity letters for three seasons while playing for coach Matthew Cherry at Fishers. As a senior, Metz was 7-0 with a 0.83 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched and did not allow an earned run in 14 postseason innings. He helped his team to the state regional final in 2017 after tossing a complete-game shutout in the semifinal round. In his Tigers' career, set the school record for wins with a 15-4 mark and added a 1.68 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 137.2 innings.

Jojo Odachowski - a freshman infielder from Alpharetta, Georgia. He earned four varsity letters while playing for coach Kent Harrison at Mount Pisgah Christian and was once named a second team utility player. Odachowski was also a member of the East Cobb Astros that won the WWBA National Championship.

Ryan Okuda - a freshman pitcher from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. Okuda earned varsity letters for three seasons while playing for coach Kurt Wolfe at Pine-Richland. He helped his team to the WPIAL Class 6A championship and was named the 2017 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 6A Player of the Year. As a senior, he had a perfect 8-0 record with a 0.38 ERA, a 0.69 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched with his best performance of the season was throwing a 17-strikeout, no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Hempfield.

Nick Owens - junior college transfer infielder from Marvin, North Carolina. He spent the 2016-17 seasons at St. John's River State College and was a two-time Mid-Florida All-Conference selection as a shortstop and earned a spot on the Florida JUCO State All-Tournament Team in 2016. Last season, he played in 55 games, and was third on the team in batting with a .328 average and was second in on-base percentage (.449) and had a .414 slugging percentage. He led the team with 65 runs scored and was third in hits with 65 hits, including nine doubles, a triple and two home runs, and added 23 walks and 21 hit by pitches. He knocked in 27 RBI, stole five bases and struck out just 23 times in 198 at-bats, the fewest on the team of players with at least 80 ABs.

Ian Seymour - a freshman pitcher from Westborough, Massachusetts. Seymour earned varsity letters for three seasons while playing for coach Charles Eppinger at St. John’s. During his senior season, he went 4-0 with a 0.48 ERA on the mound to help the Pioneers to the Division 1A Super 8 State Championship as well as earning the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association 2017 Super 8 MVP award. He was a three-time All-State player while compiling a career .380 batting average with 52 RBI in his time at the plate.

Nick Vickers - a junior college transfer pitcher from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He spent the 2017 season at Colby Community College and appeared in 13 games with nine starts, the fourth-most on the team. Vickers posted a 4-6 record after tossing 60.1 innings and allowing just 35 hits, for a .169 batting average against, which led the conference. He led the team in strikeouts (87, fourth in the conference), strikeouts per nine innings (12.98, led conference) and ERA (3.58, ninth).

Nolan Wilson - a freshman catcher from Atlanta, Georgia. He earned varsity letters all four years while playing for coach Donnie Hayes at Lakeside and was a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason Honorable Mention All-American and a Southeast - All Region Second Team member.

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