2022 NCAA Tournament Blacksburg Super Regional Preview

Image credit: Virginia Tech shortstop Tanner Schobel (Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech)

Virginia Tech

Coach: John Szefc

Postseason history: First super regional appearance. Seeking first trip to Omaha.

Postseason route: No. 1 seed in Blacksburg Regional. Went 3-0, beating Columbia in regional final.

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Hokies)

“Everyone thinks they live off the home run, but they can ambush you in different ways. To me the way to beat them is you have to stay out of the big inning. They have an aggressive offense because they have an aggressive mentality to the game. You can get them to chase but you have to have power stuff to do it. They play very comfortably in their ballpark. I compare it to Coors Field of the East Coast because fly balls turn into home runs and ground balls turn into doubles and triples. You have to get them to chase with some strikeouts, but you have to play very, very efficient defense there, hold them to singles and minimize run scoring opportunities to keep the game intact.

“They’ve done a good job of trying to mix and match. I don’t want to say they do a good job of pitching to the park, but they understand it. It can play different every day. They understand their strengths, whether they’re high-spin guys or sinker-ball guys. They use those strengths of those individuals, and they have some different looks that can provide different opportunities for each and every guy.

“Everybody makes a big deal about Gavin Cross and he is a phenomenal player but the key is their length and ability to extend innings. You’ve got two outs and then they get a runner or two on and then they take advantage (of) something and all of a sudden they’re putting together big innings.

“The left side of their infield does a phenomenal job. Tanner Schoebel is a Dustin Pedroia leader mentality. Third baseman (Carson DeMartini) is a young guy who does a phenomenal job. They’re high energy, they take on John’s persona of, ‘We’re here to do business.’ Up and down their lineup, there’s not a lot of easy outs there.

“I think it (being their first super regional) can matter. I think it depends on how things are preached and taught there. If you can keep everything as close as what you’ve done all year from a staff and program standpoint, you can put yourself in good situations. When you try to make more out of it or change what you’ve done all year, that’s when it becomes a problem. Whenever it’s new for an individual, for a team, for a program it can be uncomfortable. You’ve never done it before.

“Looking from afar, Oklahoma is dynamic, playing at a high level, playing with confidence. If that series doesn’t go three games, it surprises me. I think Oklahoma is a team that can go on the road and surprise some people.”

Projected lineup

C: Cade Hunter
1B: Nick Biddison
2B: Eduardo Malinowski
3B: Carson DeMartini
SS: Tanner Schobel
LF: Jack Hurley
CF: Gavin Cross
RF: Carson Jones
DH: Conor Hartigan
SP: Drue Hackenberg
SP: Griffin Green
SP: Ryan Metz
RP: Graham Firoved
RP: Kiernan Higgins


Coach: Skip Johnson

Postseason history: Sixth super regional appearance, first since 2013. Seeking 11th College World Series appearance and first since 2010. 

Postseason route: No. 2 in Gainesville Regional. Went 3-1, defeating Florida in regional final. 

Scouting report (anonymous coach breaks down the Sooners)

“I thought their Friday night starter (Jake Bennett) is a future major league pitcher. He was really good against us, really dominant.

“When (David Sandlin) can throw that slider for a strike, he can be dominant. He had trouble commanding the ball against us.

“Their shortstop (Peyton Graham) is special. He’s got that wiry strength and he’s got really good bat speed and that bat head stays in that zone and on plane. You look at him and you wouldn’t think he has the power potential he has. He’s really dangerous.

“I think they have really good depth, too. (Skip Johnson) is one of those few college coaches that goes to the bench and when he uses a pinch hitter, the guy comes off the bench and they’re dangerous.

“They also do a really good job with their analytics as far as where to play guys defensively. They do a good job of breaking guys down and positioning their infielders.”

Projected lineup

C: Jimmy Crooks
1B: Blake Robertson
2B: Jackson Nicklaus
3B: Wallace Clark
SS: Peyton Graham
LF: Kendall Pettis
CF: Tanner Tredaway
RF: John Spikerman
DH: Brett Squires
SP: Jake Bennett
SP: David Sandlin
SP: Cade Horton
RP: Chazz Martinez
RP: Trevin Michael


Friday, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Saturday, Noon ET (ESPNU)

Sunday, TBD


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