Local connection lifts Virginia Tech
Pete Hughes is in his sixth season at the helm of the baseball program at Virginia Tech, but the Brockton native has not forgotten his Bay State roots.
This season, a trio of area products - senior pitcher Andrew Aizenstadt of Norwell, sophomore leftfielder Tyler Horan of Middleborough, and sophomore southpaw pitcher Eddie Campbell - have contributed heavily for the Hokies (27-15, 8-13 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Horan has a team-high 11 home runs, while Aizenstadt, a transfer from Babson College, lends a veteran presence on the mound, and Campbell is 4-0 in 17 appearances, most in relief.
Aizenstadt, who was 17-4 over three seasons at Babson, has adjusted to Division 1 ball and the ACC. He owns a 2-2 record with a 4.96 earned-run average, and leads the staff with 41 strikeouts in 45.1 innings.
“Andrew has been a great asset to our staff,’’ said Hughes, who averaged 31 wins per year in his eight seasons as the head coach at Boston College before leaving for Blacksburg, Va. “It’s not very often that you get an accomplished 22-year-old pitcher coming into your program.’’
Aizenstadt, who graduated from Babson last spring with a degree in accounting, missed his junior season with a knee injury, so he had one year of eligibility remaining. Since Babson requires two years of work experience to enter its master’s degree program, he enrolled at Tech.
The 6-3, 195-pound righthander prepped for the jump from Division 3 to the ACC with his strong showing last summer in the Cape Cod League, which features some of the finest collegiate players in the country. Aizenstadt was 2-1 in seven starts for Falmouth, with a 2.46 earned run average.
Aizenstadt hopes that his success at the Division 1 level catches the eye of big-league scouts in advance of the June draft.
“Teams would be crazy not to draft him,’’ said Hughes. “He’s athletic with a good frame that is capable of more velocity down the road. There’s not much wear and tear on that arm. He throws strikes and if you can do that in our league, you’re bound to get some attention.’’
As for Horan, the 6-2, 220-pound former football standout at Boston College High is turning heads with his power at the plate, while batting .283 average and plating 32 RBIs.
“The ceiling is unlimited for this kid,’’ said Hughes. “He has great raw power. He has made a huge jump, from not being recruited in high school to batting in the middle of an ACC lineup in just three years. And he’s doing it against great pitching.’’
Here and there
Milton’s Edward Donovan earned his third victory in 12 days, allowing three hits and striking out six over eight innings, in Trinity’s 3-1 New England Small College Athletic Conference victory over Bates. Trinity (23-8) is ranked No. 3 in New England. The Boston College High grad is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA for Trinity (23-8).. . . Bentley sophomore Lauren Battista of Easton has received the Northeast-10 Conference’s Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence award for women’s basketball. Battista has maintained a 3.93 GPA as a double major in marketing and liberal studies. On the court, the 6-foot forward averaged a team-best 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Falcons (31-4). She was also the NE-10 Player of the Year, the Daktronics Division 2 East Region Player of the Year, and a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American.John R. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.