The NCAA baseball tournament will be a family affair for the Hungate brothers from Abingdon, Virginia.
Freshman Chase Hungate will be unleashing pitches for Virginia Commonwealth University and junior Cade Hungate will do the same for the Liberty University Flames as the siblings are on squads that made the field of 64.
Chase Hungate was the winning pitcher on Saturday as VCU earned a 10-7 victory over rival Richmond in the finals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.
He did not allow an earned run and struck out three over 4 2/3 innings.
“I felt great the whole time,” Hungate told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Luckily … I had a great defense behind me. They were able to make plays. Just going through each inning you just got to take each out at a time and each batter at a time and just do your thing.”
Just a season removed from leading Abingdon High School to the Region 3D title and a spot in the state finals, Hungate is 6-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 19 relief outings.
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The righty who earned a spot on the A10’s all-tournament team has struck out 42 and walked 12 in 57 1/3 innings and has surrendered just one home run. The Rams play Georgia on Friday in a first-round game in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Cade Hungate is 2-0 with seven saves and a 4.24 ERA in 18 relief outings for Liberty. The Flames play Oklahoma on Friday in Gainesville, Florida.
“They had a tremendous amount of success here and I’m just really proud to see them continue that at the high level,” said Abingdon coach Mark Francisco. “It’s a great opportunity for both of those guys.”
The following is a look at some more familiar faces in the national tournament:
>>> Virginia Tech slugger Gavin Cross (Tennessee High) is pegged to be a first-round pick in July’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and prior to that he’ll play in his first NCAA Tournament.
Cross is hitting .318 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs and is one of 31 semifinalists for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation’s top amateur baseball player.
The Hokies host Wright State on Friday at 7 p.m.
>>> A pair of pitchers from Southwest Virginia will try to help the University of Virginia Cavaliers reach the College World Series.
Freshman left-hander Matthew Buchanan (Lebanon) is 3-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 17 appearances for the Cavaliers, while sophomore righty Avery Mabe (George Wythe) is 0-0 with one save and a 3.97 ERA in seven relief outings.
>>> Nick Ascue (J.J. Kelly) is in his second season as the director of baseball operations at Georgia Tech.
>>> Shaddon Peavyhouse (Unicoi County) has pitched to the tune of a 3-3 record and 4.97 ERA in 18 games for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
>>> Tyler Cannon, who played his high school ball at Pigeon Forge and is the son of former John Battle and Patrick Henry baseball coach Larry Cannon, is an assistant coach at Liberty.
>>> Freshman left-handed pitcher Kaleb Meredith (University High) is on the roster of top-ranked Tennessee, but has yet to appear in a game for the Volunteers. Former Gray, Tennessee, resident Kirby Connell (3-0, 1.08 ERA) is one of the top relief pitchers for UT.
>>> Frank Catalanotto coached Hofstra to the Colonial Athletic Association tournament title in his first season as head coach.
Catalanatto’s first two seasons as a professional player were spent with the Appalachian League’s Bristol Tigers in 1992 and 1993. He eventually reached the majors and spent 14 seasons in the big leagues.
>>> Virginia Tech pitcher Drue Hackenberg and Virginia Commonwealth hurler Jack Masloff played for head coach Billy Wagner (Tazewell) at The Miller School.
Kirk Saarloos, Wagner’s former teammate with the Houston Astros, is the head coach at Texas Christian University.
>>> LSU’s pitching trio of Paul Gervase, Ty Floyd and Michael Fowler, Virginia pitcher Matthew Buchanan (Lebanon), UCLA catcher Tommy Beres and Mississippi pitcher Wes Burton played for the Appalachian League’s Bristol State Liners in 2021.
>>> Long Island pitcher Dominic Pieto and Virginia Commonwealth hurler Chase Hungate (Abingdon) will play for the Bristol State Liners in 2022.
>>> East Tennessee State University transfer Brandon Wallace pitches for UNC Greensboro, while veteran Coastal Carolina boss Gary Gilmore played briefly at ETSU.
>>> Seventeen players who took the field for Team USA’s Collegiate National Team during a game played at DeVault Stadium in Bristol on July 8, 2021, are in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Tech’s Gavin Cross (Tennessee High), LSU’s Jacob Berry, Miami’s Carson Palmquist, Texas Tech’s Jace Jung, Tennessee’s Drew Gilbert and Robert Moore of Arkansas are among them.
Smith takes over at Concord
George Wythe High School graduate Devin Smith is the new head baseball coach at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia.
A three-sport standout at GW, Smith played baseball at Concord from 2009-2013 and hit .328, while compiling a 12-8 record and racking up 100 strikeouts over 137 innings of work on the mound.
He has been an assistant coach at his alma mater since 2014 and takes over the program from longtime boss Kevin Garrett.
Mac Osborne (Richlands) logged the final two innings for Virginia Tech’s softball team on Saturday as the Hokies season ended with a 12-0 loss to the Florida Gators.
The sophomore right-hander allowed two runs on five hits and finished the season 2-0 with a 4.88 ERA in six outings. She earned a win on May 21 against Miami of Ohio in a NCAA tournament game.
Baggarly’s final rounds
Addie Baggarly of Baylor University tied for 81st on the individual leaderboard at the NCAA Division I women’s golf tournament, which recently concluded in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The former Tennessee High standout had rounds of 76, 78 and 75 for a 13-over par total in the final three rounds of her collegiate career.
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