Asserting the depth of national talent on its roster, the Virginia Tech baseball team proudly bumped its contingent of 2023 Preseason All-Americans from three to four this week when sixth-year graduate pitcher Kiernan Higgins received his first such honor on Thursday from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
Among the 2023 NCBWA Preseason All-American mentions, only junior outfielder Jack Hurley and sophomore pitcher Drue Hackenberg joined Higgins while sophomore infielder Carson DeMartini was omitted. Hackenberg and Hurley placed on the Second Team while Higgins collected Third Team praise.
Considering college baseball’s five leading Preseason All-American presentations this season, Hurley led the Hokies as a consensus selection while Hackenberg was named by four of five outlets (all but Baseball America). Both DeMartini and Higgins scored one mention apiece, earning nods from Perfect Game and the NCBWA, respectively.
≫ Third Team: NCBWA
The eldest student-athlete on Tech’s 2023 roster, Higgins arrived at Virginia Tech in 2022 by way of Coastal Carolina (2018-19) and Shippensburg University (2020-21), making 21 relief appearances and stamping five saves for the Hokies during last season’s run to NCAA Super Regional weekend. Tech’s 6-foot-4 right-hander led the Hokies’ arms in ERA (1.99) and opposing batting average (.202), toeing a 3-0 record while racking up 38 strikeouts through 31 and two-thirds innings on the mound.
From April 19 until game two of the 2022 NCAA Blacksburg Super Regional (June 11), Higgins logged nine consecutive scoreless outings, including three during the postseason. Together with Jonah Hurney and Henry Weycker, he is one of three returning Tech relievers who made 20 or more appearances and threw 30 or more innings during the 2022 campaign.
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