“He’s a four-pitch guy, and he’s got command,” Hughes said. “We look for him to make that adjustment from Division III baseball to the ACC a pretty seamless one, and he’s on track to doing that.”
Aizenstadt, who is enrolled in the MBA program at Tech, graduated from Babson with a degree in accounting. Because he wasn’t offered an MBA program at Babson, Aizenstadt is immediately eligible to play.
“He’s mature, and he’s been around it,” Hughes said. “Just to have a kid that’s a fifth-year senior, that age, that level of maturity, he’s in the MBA program, really helps your clubhouse and team. But he’s also very talented.”
Chad Morgan, who starts for the Hokies behind the plate, gave his scouting report on the tall right-hander.
“He’s free and easy and has good arm action,” Morgan said. “He throws fastball, curveball, slider, changeup. He can throw all his pitches for strikes, which is always a good thing.”
One of the main selling points by Hughes while recruiting Aizenstadt to Tech was the chance to go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. With the opportunity to win a national title and pitch against some of the country’s top talent, Hughes made it an easy choice.
“To have me come down here and have the chance to go to Omaha,” Aizenstadt said of the deciding factor. “After seeing what we’ve got — and I haven’t seen some of the other teams, but I’ve seen a lot of talent in summer leagues — we’ve got a lot of talent.”
Hughes feels the same way.
“Our expectation absolutely is to get into the national tournament, get hot at the right time and make a run at Omaha,” Hughes said.
At 22 years old, Aizenstadt is the third-oldest player on the roster. Yet when he arrived in August to start the year, he felt just like a freshman.
“At the beginning, it really did feel like I was a freshman,” Aizenstadt said. “The guys reminded me of that. It was my first year here, and I didn’t know any of these guys. It’s like going through the whole freshman thing again — trying to find people you know.”
Morgan, a redshirt-sophomore, believes the transition Aizenstadt has made to life at a bigger college has been successful.
“We’re one big family at Hokie baseball, and I think he’s made the transition well,” Morgan said. “We all get along, and we’ve got a lot of team chemistry this year, which is important to have. It should be a fun season.”
Starting the season out of the bullpen, Aizenstadt was in the running for the third-starter spot for much of the preseason.
“I was hoping to win a spot (in the starting rotation), but I think everybody was,” Aizenstadt said. “We have such a deep pitching staff — it didn’t really shock me, and just like everybody else (I will) just work my way up. I’m a new guy here, so I have to put in my time before I can get up (to the rotation).”
Not accustomed to ACC play, Aizenstadt believes the toughest part won’t be physically holding his own, but mentally bringing his best stuff every day.
“At Babson, I’d pitch against a really good team maybe twice a year, and I’d get really hyped up for that game, then the rest of the season just go through it,” Aizenstadt said. “Here, I have to be focused every single game, especially in the (bullpen).”
With a degree in hand and his final season of college baseball underway, Aizenstadt has confidence in himself, the coaches and his teammates.
“It’s going to be a big adjustment, but I think the coaches have been preparing me for it,” he said. “I’ll be ready, and we’ve got a really good team this year. It won’t be too hard with these guys fielding behind me.”