The Virginia Tech baseball team finished its first weekend of the 2013 season with an unblemished 4-0 record.
The weekend event, which took place in UNC-Wilmington, saw a pair of victories over both the Kent State Golden Flashes and the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks.
For head coach Pete Hughes, who has been clear and vocal about the team’s goal, it was just the start the team needed.
“I love learning lessons through wins rather than losses, and I loved our guys approach,” Hughes said. “They came to play every inning. When you play four games, keeping your intensity level is very difficult in our sport, but they did.”
The opening game, a 10-9 victory against the Golden Flashes on Friday, was the only close game of the weekend.
The remaining three were comprised of great performances from starting pitchers Brad Markey, Devin Burke and Tanner McIntyre, and plenty of offense. The trio gave up three runs over the weekend combined — the same number of games the unit started for the Hokies in 2013.
Despite Burke’s shutdown performance on Sunday, Hughes is not quite ready to lock him into that fourth spot in the rotation.
“Between (Burke) and Tanner (McIntyre) right now, those guys are going to figure out if they are going to be our guys on the weekend or a main staple in our bullpen,” Hughes said. “Either way, we are going to be good."
For Markey, the seven innings of dominance on Saturday marked his first appearance at the Division 1 level since transferring from Georgia Tech over a year and a half ago.
He believes the biggest difference between who he is as a player now, and who he was as a freshman, is the increase in both his confidence and experience.
In the four game set, the Hokies scored 34 runs, had a team batting average of .303 and hit five home runs. While everyone contributed to the hit parade, the star of the weekend, Mark Zagunis, picked up right where he left off last year.
Zagunis batted .500 on the weekend, reached base on 60 percent of his plate-appearances and was successful on all four of his stolen base attempts.
“The key is to stay having fun and focused, don’t overthink the game," he said. "You have to take the positive encouragement from the team and coaches.”
The perfect record for the Hokies has earned them a No. 24 ranking in Baseball America’s national rankings.
The ranking means nothing, however, if they are not able to keep their success going.
On Friday the team will start another four-game set, this time in Blacksburg with games against Temple, Holy Cross and Delaware.
Tech will host the Owls on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Holy Cross at 2:30 p.m. The Hokies finish up with games against Delaware on Sunday at 6 p.m. and Monday at 3 p.m.
Neither the coaching staff, nor the players are willing to become content in 2013, and both believe they have much to improve on; this weekend gives them a great chance to do that.
“We have to play better defense — that’s it,” Hughes said. “I loved what our team did, and I loved our intensity level, but we have to play better defense.”
Even Zagunis, who has been virtually flawless thus far, knows there is more he can do.
“You can’t take a pitch for granted, defensively or offensively,” Zagunis said. “When you do, that can hurt you in the long run.”