Virginia Tech Baseball to host NCAA Regional as No. 4 seed

The Hokies will host their second NCAA regional, beginning Friday. (Virginia Tech Sports Photography)

Beginning in 2022, coaches at the ACC and nation have viewed this season as another John Szefc-era rebuilding year for Virginia Tech.

His throw — after losing four starters in the MLB Draft last July — is unproven. The Hokies brought in a few mid-major transfer bats and pitched a real, but relatively unknown, freshman on the mound in Drue Hackenberg, who became one of the best in the conference.

It all culminated in arguably the best regular season (41-12) and conference (19-9) record in program history, as well as the program’s first Coastal Division championship. That was enough for the NCAA to reward Virginia Tech with the No. 4 seed overall at the 2022 NCAA Baseball Tournament on Monday afternoon.

It’s only the second time in school history that Blacksburg has hosted a region in the tournament – the first came during Pete Hughes’ final season in 2013. Overall, it’s the 10th NCAA region in program history. However, the Hokies have yet to make a super regional.

That could change this spring after the Hokies drew favorable matchups in Gonzaga (No. 2 region seed), Columbia (No. 3) and Wright State (No. 4).

This is a three-day regional double-elimination competition that will take place at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park on Duck Pond Drive. Gonzaga and Columbia will open play Friday, June 3 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN+. Virginia Tech and Wright State will follow later in the evening with a first pitch at 7 p.m. on the ACC network.

Tickets will be available on Tuesday, May 31. Click here for more information.

The Hokies have no recent history with Gonzaga or Columbia, playing the latter two in 1995 and 2010, respectively.

The bats came alive for Virginia Tech in Games 2 and 3 against Wright State in March. (Virginia Tech Sports Photography)

Wright State, however, played Blacksburg earlier this season in Tech’s last non-conference series in early March. The Raiders got away with Friday’s game in an 11-5 victory in which Griffin Green had six runs in two innings. But Virginia Tech came back strong with wins Saturday (9-3) and Sunday (17-1) to win the series.

Ryan Okuda, who has since been taken out of the weekend rotation, gave Tech five two-run innings (one earned) in Game 2. Drue Hackenberg’s first real test came on Sunday and he proved himself up to the task – all while setting up his success to run away with the ERA ACC Regular Season Title (2.44) . He pushed for seven innings, allowing five hits and a run in his last inning. The freshman struck out six en route to the 16-point victory.

Sunday’s victory moved the Hokies to 9-1 on the year. The following week, Virginia Tech was swept on the road at Georgia Tech — the Hokies were ruled out twice — and lost a third-inning conference game to Pitt on March 18.

Sitting 0-4 in the ACC, they didn’t panic. Their confidence remained high and never wasted. They were 2-19 in their last 21 ACC games since last season. But they knew they had talent. They had learned to lose, because all of a sudden, a flipped switch.

The second Pitt game? Virginia Tech won handily, 22-6, its first ACC win of the year. Since then, he has won 18 in his last 23 ACC games and 29 wins overall in his last 35 games.

The Hokies are on a roll, having won 29 of their last 35 games. (Virginia Tech Sports Photography)

2022 marks the first NCAA tournament appearance for Virginia Tech since 2013, when Tech was eliminated by Oklahoma in the Regional Finals. It’s Szefc’s first appearance in the tournament since leading Maryland to a region in 2017 — he also did so in 2014 and 2015 when the Terps were in the ACC.

If the Hokies advance, they will host the winner of the Gainesville Regional in Blacksburg. No. 13 Florida, Oklahoma, Liberty and Central Michigan are the four teams in this bracket.

you can follow Chris Hiron and Tech Sideline Baseball Blanket on Twitter to follow everything surrounding Blacksburg’s first regional since 2013.

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