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#14 Virginia Tech Baseball Upset By Bryant 7-3 in Series Opener

Hokie Dugout VT ETSU 2023 From VT
Ryan Duvall | @RyanGDuvall
Writer/Baseball Beat Reporter

When Bryant right handed pitcher Coleman Picard stepped off the mound to end the fifth inning, it was clear he got the job done.

The Bryant Bulldogs entered the series opener against the 14th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies winless, but came to not only play but to win.

Much to the dismay of Virginia Tech, and the Blacksburg faithful, Bryant (1-3) dominated Friday’s game against the Hokies (3-2), coming out strong offensively, while holding a Tech squad that scored double-digit runs in each of their past three outings to just three runs. The Bulldogs would end up on top, by a final score of 7-3.

The star of the game was undoubtedly Bryant starter Coleman Picard. The righty shined in his second start of 2023, frustrating the Hokies with a great breaking ball, as the junior struck out 12 in just five innings pitched.

In those five innings, Picard would give up just three hits, one walk, and one earned run, all on 95 pitches, completely flustering the Tech offense.

“Throwing his sliders and breaking ball for consistent strikes, which he didn’t do last weekend,” Tech head coach John Szefc said postgame regarding the performance of Picard. “Our guys never adjusted to it, so combination of him being real good and our guys not making any adjustments.”

The only two Hokie bats that were able to do real damage on the day were Bucknell transfer outfielder Chris Cannizzaro, and sophomore second baseman Christian Martin. The tandem combined for four of Tech’s nine total hits, including an RBI for Martin.

This was Martin’s third-straight multi-hit game, and as he gets hot, he continues to take away from sixth year senior Eduardo Malinowki’s playing time.

“Can’t get too high, can’t get too low, I’m just trying to stay right here the whole time…I feel good,” said Martin on his early season tear.

The second Hokie run came via a Carson DeMartini double, which would end up scoring Cannizzaro. David Bryant had an RBI single with his lone hit, but outside of that, the Bryant arms were lights out, which Szefc attributed to them being better than the numbers said.

Griffin Green was on the bump for Tech in this one, and was awarded the loss after allowing four runs in the first two innings.

The runs came off of a first inning opposite field RBI single from second baseman Jake Gustin, followed by a groundout to first from first baseman Carmine Petosa that scored a runner on third. The second inning was marred by a two-run shot from Bulldog catcher Jackson Phinney that went about 441 feet, well over the 375 sign in left center.

Green would settle down in the third inning, tossing three scoreless innings starting there, before he was removed early on in the sixth, after walking the first batter he faced and plunking the second. His line on the day would end up being six earned runs on four hits, two walks, and two strikeouts in five innings pitched with 67 total pitches.

Tech sent six pitchers on to the mound in this one, but the two that stood out had to be sophomore RHP Brady Kirtner, and freshman southpaw Andrew Sentlinger. Both pitchers struck out the Bryant side in the inning each was on the bump.

The Hokies struck out 16 times on Friday, and now find themselves in a similar situation to last weekend, in which they dropped the first game of the season to Charleston, but came out guns blazing on the Saturday and Sunday games.

“We were thoroughly beaten last Friday, as we were today…sucks losing obviously…I feel pretty good about our guys coming back and putting some good stuff together,” said Szefc on the remaining two games in the series.

First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 4 p.m. weather permitting with Drue Hackenberg getting the start for the Hokies.

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