The Virginia Tech Hokies entered this series against Boston College needing to at least get a series victory and likely needing to get a sweep in their pursuit of an ACC Tournament berth and possibly a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles were also looking to get a road series victory in their pursuit of trying to make the ACC Tournament.
The Hokies have struggled some recently, but showed this weekend that they might just be out of their slump.
Virginia Tech had their most impressive weekend since they swept the Virginia Cavaliers as they swept the Boston College Eagles and moved into the top 10 in the ACC baseball standings. Virginia Tech has only one road series remaining, but the good news is that it comes against the worst team in the ACC, the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Hokies started off the weekend with another strong pitching performance from Kit Scheetz who has taken off since being moved to the starting rotation. Aaron McGarity has gone from being a solid starting pitcher to a dominant reliever though in this game, he did give up 1 earned run and 2 total runs in his 2.1 innings.
The Hokies had a strong offensive performance led by Saige Jenco who went 3-for-5 at the plate with one home run and two RBIs to lead the Hokies to a 5-3 victory on Friday night. Jenco has been hitting the ball better over the last few weeks, and this game was the latest example of his surging play.
In the second game of the series, the Hokies got the lead early and never let it go thanks to a grand slam from Erik Payne in the first inning with only one out. That would be the only hit of the game for Payne, but with Sean Keselica on the hill, the Hokies gave the senior a good lead that he wasn’t going to let get away.
On the way to a 6-3 victory, Keselica went seven innings giving up only three runs despite having nine hits and four walks. However, Keselica deserves a lot of credit for making sure Boston College left a lot of runners on base in this game. The Hokies got some late insurance from a two-run single by Max Ponzurick in the eighth before Luke Scherzer finished a six-out save in the ninth.
With the series clinched, the Hokies looked to get the sweep and do it on Senior Day. However, this Senior Day would provide the most intense game of the series and the best pitching matchup of the weekend.
Packy Naughton had the start of his life as the true freshman gave up only one run and five hits in 8.2 innings with four strikeouts. Naughton has emerged as an excellent starting pitcher late in the season, and may actually be the Friday starter next season for the Hokies with Keselica departing.
However, the Hokies were down 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, but the next four hitters due up for the Hokies were all seniors, but only two of those players got a chance to hit.
Alex Perez drew a walk against Boston College reliever Justin Dunn, which brought senior slugger Brendon Hayden to the plate. If anyone was going to hit a walk-off home run, it would be Hayden. TechSideline.com baseball reporter and Virginia Tech senior Jacob Emert also made the prediction that Hayden would hit a walk-off home run right before he came to the plate.
I’m not going to be surprised when Hayden hits a walk-off HR here, by the way.
— Jacob Emert (@JacobEmert) May 3, 2015
Brendon Hayden did exactly what he was predicted to do by Emert as he hit a two-run home run that sealed not only a Senior Day victory, but also a sweep of Boston College. This home run could be the one thing that helps puts the Hokies in the ACC Tournament while also potentially keeping Virginia out of it, which would definitely please many fans in Blacksburg.
This was a huge sweep for the Hokies that puts them in a good position to make the ACC Tournament. However, the Hokies need to make sure they take care of business at Pittsburgh, as they must win that series while a sweep would likely guarantee them a spot in the ACC Tournament.
The Hokies are surging led by a reloaded pitching rotation and a solid group of hitters headlined by Erik Payne, Alex Perez, Brendon Hayden, and Saige Jenco.