Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Despite the snow flurries falling on English Field at first pitch, the Hokies used a hot start to power themselves to their fourth straight victory of the season, 15-4 against Bryant.
The offense clicked early for the Hokies in this game as they used a big first and fourth inning to dominate the Bulldogs, and closed up the contest with an impressive eighth inning.
Bryant struck in the top of the first inning off a James Cliento RBI single to bring home Matt Woods, giving the Bulldogs an early 1-0 in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech was not too late to respond with a Carson Taylor RBI triple to bring home Brennan Reback, knotting the score up at one apiece. Later on, Gavin Cross followed up Taylor’s triple with a single, bringing home Taylor to give the Hokies their first lead on the game, 2-1.
Rounding out an excellent start to the game, Kevin Madden hit a two-run home run off of a 1-1 pitch from Mattison over the left field wall, giving the Hokies a 4-1 lead.
Virginia Tech used their speed in the second inning to extend their lead as a double steal from Reback and Nick Biddison worked successfully; Reback initially stole second base allowing Biddison to steal from third, bringing him home on the play.
Heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Hokies were up 5-1 but did not stop scoring runs.
The three-run fourth inning came off the defensive struggles by the Bulldogs, which started with Tanner Thomas scoring on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Reback to make it 6-1.
The Hokies got a huge break after Cross seemed to have hit into another fielder’s choice, but a throwing error by Bryant’s Nick Viscariello, who was attempting to get Fritz Genther out at home plate, added to the Hokies lead to make it 7-1. A hit by pitch on Kevin Madden brought home Reback, which marked the Hokies’ eighth run of the game.
The Bulldogs started to mount a comeback against Virginia Tech in the sixth inning with a Gaby Cruz two-run home run to bring the score within five. In the seventh, Cliento tripled to right center to bring in Woods making the score 8-4 Hokies.
After a few quiet innings by the Hokies, the eighth inning brought out the best of the bats with a seven-run eighth inning to put the game away. The inning started off with a Taylor RBI double to bring in Reback, which was followed by a Cross single into center field, bringing home Taylor, giving Virginia Tech a 10-4 lead.
That was only the beginning for the Hokies as Cross would score off Spencer Palmer’s sacrifice RBI, and then came the carousel of walks for Virginia Tech as their next two runs came off Genther and Biddison walks to make it 13-4 Hokies over the Bulldogs.
And as how the inning began, it was closed up by a Taylor 2-run single that sent home Cade Hunter and Genther, bringing the game to its final score of 15-4.
Chris Gerard was given his first victory of the season after a productive five innings of eight hits with only three earned runs allowed, while Bryant’s Tyler Mattison was handed his second defeat of the season for the Bulldogs.
The Hokies improved to 5-3 on the season as the Bulldogs dropped to a 2-6. First pitch of Game 2 of the weekend series will be at 1 p.m. at English Field.