By Matt Jones, sports editor
Andrew Aizenstadt has appeared in both of Virginia Tech’s ACC wins and has a 1.80 ERA in his first season as a Hokie.
So why did Tuesday night’s appearance, in which he went 4.1 innings while allowing just five hits and only one unearned run represent his finest moment this season?
Aizenstadt came in the game in the fourth inning with the bases loaded to relieve Eddie Campbell with the Hokies trailing 4-2 and promptly got a groundout to keep the Hokies in the game.
“(The message) was to just throw strikes and get an out,” Aizenstadt said. “We were down in game at the time, so we were kind of kicking ourselves in the butt by walking guys and hitting guys, so I needed to come in and throw strikes and not have a repeat of Saturday.”
Saturday at Georgia Tech, a game in which the Hokies won 12-9, Aizenstadt went 1/3 of an inning, walking two.
“I’ll give you one positive nugget for tonight, and that’s Aizenstadt — I thought he was outstanding,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “We needed someone to come in and settle everyone down and knock the confidence down in the dugout across the way and that’s what he did.”
While the Hokies got the win Saturday in Atlanta, Aizenstadt had some things he needed to work, including channeling his adrenaline.
“I kind of let it get to me a little bit more than I did (Tuesday),” Aizenstadt said. “I just tried to stay calm, and coach Hughes was saying the big thing is to channel your adrenaline. When I get out there I get a lot of adrenaline going, and I maybe had a little too much of it on Saturday.”
A redshirt-senior transfer from Massachusetts, Aizenstadt has the role of weekday spot starter and long reliever. He said his role has been clearly explained to him, and that “We have such a good pitching staff and great bullpen everybody is fighting for innings.”
Hughes mentioned the possibility of Aizenstadt seeing some increased time this weekend against Duke, which is the usual weekend rotation spot of r-senior Marc Zecchino.
“I gave him an opportunity to pitch Sunday too,” Hughes said. “I said let’s stretch you out tonight and get yourself ready for Sunday, because that’s what we’re going to do this weekend.”
Mark Zagunis DH
Tyler Horan LF
Chad Pinder 3B
Johnny Morales SS
Andrew Rash CF
Kyle Wernicki RF
Gabe Ortiz 1B
Chad Morgan C
Alex Perez 2B
Pitcher: Colin O’Keefe (2-0, 1.54 ERA)
BIG RED (9-3)
JD Whetsel LF
Marshall Yanzick SS
Brian Billigen CF
Chris Cruz RF
Frank Hager 1B
Kevin Tatum DH
Brandon Lee C
Ben Swinford 3B
Brenton Peters 2B
Pitcher: Nick Busto (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
WEATHER: 72 degrees, partly cloudy, chance of rain
Photo by CJ Yunger, SPPS