Heading into Virginia Tech’s 8-3 win over VMI on Tuesday, Andrew Webb didn’t think he would be in the lineup.
Shortly before the first pitch, though, his plans for the evening changed.
“I didn’t have time to tell my family or anything,” Webb said, adding that he found out he was starting just 20 minutes before the game.
Webb, who had only ever seen time as a pinch hitter, impressed in his debut as a starter. The sophomore catcher went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-RBI single in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
“I was real excited rounding first base on the first at-bat,” Webb said. “That was good to get my first hit and that just kept me going for the rest of the game.”
Facing VMI for the second time in a week, the Hokies went back-and-forth with the Keydets early in the game.
VMI took a one-run lead in the second, but the Hokies answered with two of their own. VMI scored two more in the top of the third to make it 3-2.
Tom Stoffel scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Menken in the fifth, and it was all Tech from that point on.
Stevie Mangrum extended the lead with a solo home run to left centerfield in the sixth, followed by a two-RBI double by JD Mundy.
Webb came up in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and drove in Michael Fernandez and Nick Owens to make the score 8-3.
“You see stuff like that happen in college baseball where guys that are kind of behind the scenes get a chance to hop in there and do their thing and that’s really what he did,” head coach John Szefc said of Webb’s first start. “You’re just happy for the guy that he gets an opportunity, and he’s able to come through and help us win.”
Tech did well on the mound in Tuesday’s game as well, sending Dylan Hall to face the Keydets. Hall exited in the fourth with the game tied at three runs apiece. Nic Enright’s 2.1 shutout innings earned him the win as he struck out two batters and didn’t allow any baserunners.
“I thought we pitched really well,” Szefc said. “We gave up three runs and four different guys, you know each guy kind of did their job, kind of bent, didn’t really break so to speak.”
Hayden Heflin and Andrew McDonald pitched relief innings as well. McDonald retired eight batters, seven via strikeout.
“I think he had some of his better stuff I’d say, for sure,” Szefc said. “I’ve seen him better, I’ve seen him a lot worse. I’d say he was kind of right in the middle.”
The Hokies didn’t have usual starters Luke Horanski, Joe Freiday, Jr., and Jack Owens in the lineup today, but they were still able to put up 14 hits.
Webb was never worried about having to fill in for one of the team’s key performers.
“I just always from day one around here trust and believe in my ability and know that once I was given that opportunity, I’d make the best of it,” Webb said. “That’s just what I try to do every time I’m on the field.”
Virginia Tech will travel to Lynchburg tomorrow to take on Liberty in another midweek matchup. The two teams faced each other on March 27 in Blacksburg, with Liberty winning 4-3 in extra innings.
First pitch for tomorrow’s game is at 6 p.m.