Western Pennsylvanian fingerprints will be all over the Division I Baseball Super Regionals this weekend. Four of the 16 teams remaining have a local product on their roster and each player is a major contributor for their ball club.
Pat Monterverde – Redshirt Senior LHP, Texas Tech
Monterverde Fox Chapel Area High School alum, is at the third and presumably last stop of his college career. After attending Virginia Wesleyan University for a year and excelling at the Division III level, Monteverde made a leap up by transferring closer to home and attending Seton Hill University. He spent three years with the Griffins, but after a strong freshman season, Monterverde made only four appearances over two years due to an UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery.
He transferred to Texas Tech in the summer of 2020. So far during his lone season in Lubbock, Monterverde amassed a 7-3 record over 15 starts and a 3.59 ERA while striking out more than 10 batters every nine innings.
In one start at the regional stage, Monterverde earned the win by throwing 5 ⅓ innings, striking out seven, walking one and allowing just two runs in a victory over third-seeded North Carolina.
The Red Raiders, who hosted the Lubbock Regional as a No. 1 seed, swept all three games they played to advance, becoming just the second team in the last three years to do so. Monterverde and Texas Tech will meet Stanford in the Super Regional. By virtue of their higher seed, the Red Raiders will remain within the friendly confines of Rip Griffin Park for the best-of-three series that begins Friday at 3 p.m. and will air on ESPNU.
Will Bednar – Sophomore RHP, Mississippi State
The brother of Pirates reliever David Bednar, Will hails from Valencia, Pennsylvania and attended Mars Area High School, where he played under his father, Andrew, for three years.
Bednar has become one of the best pitchers in the country during his brief tenure in Starkville. In 2020 — his shortened freshman season — Bednar was used in a variety of ways by head coach Chris Lemonis, but has settled into a more regular role as a starter in 2021.
For as well as his brother’s Major League career has begun (David owns 2.82 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 25 appearances for the Pirates this year) the younger Bednar projects to be even better. He doesn’t turn 21 for another three days, but has already been projected as a first round pick by The Athletic’s Keith Law.
Bednar is off to a strong start in the 2021 postseason. In his lone appearance during the Regional stage, he went seven innings and surrendered two runs against Stamford. He will look to keep his excellent sophomore campaign rolling this weekend, when the Bulldogs host Notre Dame at Dudy Noble Field for their Super Regional series. Game one is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Trent Vietmeier – Senior RHP, LSU
Prior to his arrival at LSU, Veietmier — a Pittsburgh native — was a dominant two-way player at Montour High School in McKees Rocks. In addition to his 174 strikeouts, 0.63 ERA and 14-3 record as a pitcher, Veitmeier batted .437.
Vietmeier is currently putting together the best season of his LSU career. In 20 appearances, he owns a 3.50 ERA and a career-low opponent batting average of .209. The 6-foot-3 right hander hasn’t allowed a run since May 1 vs. Arkansas.
He’s been a staple of the Tigers’ bullpen at the Eugene Regional, throwing three combined innings in as many games against Gonzaga and Oregon. On Sunday, with a trip to the Super Regionals hanging in the balance, he pitched in both of LSU’s wins, including the decisive final game vs. Oregon. He struck out five and surrendered just one hit and a walk in two outings during the doubleheader.
After emerging victorious from the loaded field in Eugene, the Tigers will return to SEC country for their Super Regional matchup with Tennessee, who will host LSU on their home turf at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Game one between Tigers and Volunteers is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
At the conclusion of this season, Vietmeier will join the West Virginia Black Bears of the newly created MLB Draft League, hoping to boost his stock for July’s draft.
Troy LaNeve – Sophomore Outfielder, Vanderbilt
LaNeve, a four-time All-WPIAL selection during his time at Pine-Richland High School, has broken on to the scene at one of the best baseball schools in the country this spring. After appearing in only two games before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down baseball during his freshman season, LaNeve became a reliable glove all over the outfield and is batting .349 with 22 RBIs and six home runs over just 63 at bats.
He’s seen a dramatic uptick in playing time over the past month. After only recording only two hits in eight at bats during the season’s first 10 weeks, he has made 19 of his 30 appearances in the month of May and hit .364 over that span.
His recent production hints at a more significant role in the Super Regionals. The Commodores, who did not lose any of their three contests during the Regional stage, will remain at home for the next round of the tournament. They will open the Supers against Eastern Carolina on Friday at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.