Austin Wates named first-team all-ACC in baseball
The Virginia Tech baseball team, ranked 18th nationally by Baseball America as it prepares to start postseason play, had four players named to all-ACC teams, including a first-team selection for utility man and potential first-round draft pick Austin Wates.
In addition to Wates, catcher Steve Domecus, starting pitcher Justin Wright and relief pitcher Ben Rowen were each included on the second team.
In the Hokies' previous five seasons in the ACC, they had a total of one player picked to an all-conference team, when Domecus was named a second-team outfielder in 2009. The four-player selection for Virginia Tech is another milestone moment in its best season in a decade and underscores the impressive program-building effort by Manager Pete Hughes.
In becoming the first Hokie to earn first-team all-ACC honors, Wates ranked ninth in the league with a .369 batting average and also recording team-highs of 34 walks, 15 stolen bases and a .480 on-base percentage during the regular season. He has hit a career-high seven home runs, with 48 RBI and 53 runs.
Wates, a junior, could be a first-round pick in the entry-level draft in June. He has been projected as a center fielder at the next level because of his athleticism.
The Hokies (36-19) open play in the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday and will almost assuredly make their first NCAA tournament since 2000. They are seeded sixth in the seven-team ACC tournament, where they will start off against third-seeded Georgia Tech.
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