The Pitching Staff
As mentioned in the prior slide, the Hokies have a new pitching coach coming into the fold this season, with Jamie Pinzino joining the staff from the University of Oklahoma. He will oversee an improving pitching group that will look first to become healthy this season. Last season, the Hokies lost pitchers Aaron McGarity and Luke Scherzer to injury, but with both now healthy, the hope is that they can make up for lost time from last season.
When talking specifically about McGarity, he got out to a strong start last season prior to the injury, compiling a 2.38 ERA. He, along with Packy Naughton, are expected to be the leaders of the pitching staff, Andrew McDonald, and Nick Anderson as a few other names to watch in the back end of the rotation.
Friday’s anticipated starter, Packy Naughton, will certainly be one of the pillars of the staff responsible for the long-term success of the Hokies in 2017. The junior had a rough 2016 in which he posted a 3-7 record with a 6.75 ERA, but spent the summer pitching in the Cape Cod League, where in addition to gaining valuable innings, was able to post a 1.68 ERA over nearly 43 innings. Success such as this at the top of the rotation will be paramount to improvement for Virginia Tech this season.
As for the bullpen, the Hokies will likely lean heavily on redshirt-senior Kit Scheetz. Scheetz struck out 53 batters over 84.0 innings in 2016, and is hoping to continue to be effective this year, his last as a collegiate pitcher. He will open the season as the team’s closer.
The rest of the bullpen will likely consist of Luke Scherzer, who while effective out of the ‘pen early in his career, is coming off of the injuries mentioned above, as well as Tom Stoffel and Connor Coward, who will all look to provide the Hokies with valuable innings in relief.