Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics (Pre-COVID)
The Hokies continued their winning ways over the weekend by taking two out of three against Boston College in a weekend series at English Field.
Both teams were heading into the weekend in opposite directions of their season, with the Hokies sweeping the Panthers in last weekend’s series and the Eagles losing four straight.
Thursday brought some rather chilly temperatures to the ballpark with first pitch being the mid-30’s, but it was the team on the cold streak to bring the heat.
The Eagles kicked off the scoring in the first inning with a throwing error by Dayne Leonard as the Hokies catcher was attempting to get Brian Dempsey out at third base, but the missed throw allowed Dempsey to come home.
Moving onto the second, the Eagles continued into their tear on the Hokies. Cody Morisette helped resume the scoring with a RBI double to bring home Dempsey, which extended their advantage up to 2-0.
Later in the inning, Luke Gold had a breakthrough at-bat for the Eagles with a 2 RBI single, bringing home Sal Frelick and Morisette to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead.
After an impressive first two innings, the Eagles were not done quite yet with a Dante Baldelli RBI single to score Vince Cimini. In the very next at-bat, Dempsey was able to make it a 6-0 lead with a fielder’s choice to score Cameron Leary home from third.
After Boston College laid six unanswered runs on Virginia Tech, Jack Hurley finally helped the Hokies find the scoreboard with a solo shot to right center in the bottom of the third inning.
Carson Jones did his job in the box during the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly to left field, bringing home TJ Rumfield to cut the deficit to four.
As the Hokies were attempting to build a comeback against the Eagles, Peter Burns of Boston College had other things in mind with a solo home run in the fifth inning to give the Eagles a 7-2 lead.
Kevin Madden saw the fun with all the recent home runs and decided to get in on the action in the sixth inning, with a bomb down the left field line to make the score 7-3 in the favor of the Eagles.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, that was all the fight they could put up in the first game of the series as the Eagles were able to stop their four-game skid and put the Hokies win streak to an end.
Mason Pelio got his third victory of the season for the Eagles despite giving up eight hits and three earned runs, but backed up his efforts with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
Peyton Alford picked up his second defeat of the season while not being able to get three innings of action with allowing four hits and six earned runs.
Moving onto the second game of the series, the Eagles once again had a strong start by dominating the Hokies in the first half of the game.
Starting in the first inning, Morisette registered a RBI single into left field to bring home Frelick while Burns smoked the first multi-run home run of the series in the second inning to give the Eagles a 3-0 advantage over the Hokies.
Baldelli was productive again for the Eagles at the plate, with bringing home Cimini on a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning and recording a RBI single in the sixth inning to give the Eagles a 5-0 lead.
Looking as if the Eagles were on their way to another easy victory over the Hokies, there was a change in the tides at English Field during the final three innings of the game.
Starting in the bottom of the seventh, Leonard got the first run batted in for the Hokies with a RBI single to score Madden. In the very next at-bat, Lucas Donlon had a RBI single of his own to bring home Jones from second and most importantly, cut the Eagles’ lead into three.
After scoring a run in the seventh inning, Madden knocked in a run with a RBI single in the eighth inning to bring home Gavin Cross, this brought the score within two.
Heading into the ninth inning, it was make or break time for the Hokies; Rumfield made sure that the surge continued his sacrifice pop-up to left field was enough to score Donolon from third and bring the Hokies within one.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Hokies found themselves in a great position with Madden coming up to plate with a chance to win the ball game. His productive afternoon came down to one at-bat to give the Hokies an opportunity to win the series.
And to say that Madden delivered would be an understatement as he knocked the 1-1 pitch into right field to bring home Hurley and Cross and give the Hokies a 6-5 victory.
Griffin Green hasn’t had too many opportunities for the Hokies, but he had an excellent 2.2 innings pitched with only allowing one hit, to record his first victory of the season.
Max Gieg was held responsible for the loss by allowing three hits and three earned runs in only .2 innings pitched; that gives him his second defeat of the season.
That led us to the rubber match on Saturday as the Hokies were looking to capture back-to-back weekend series victories.
The fans at the ballpark once again had a case of deja vu as the Eagles struck again in the first inning with a Gold RBI double to left field to bring home Dempsey.
Gold got involved again in the third inning with a RBI single to left field, which brought home Frelick; later in the inning, Cimini recorded a RBI single to right field to send home Gold giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Throughout the middle of the game, there wasn’t much action between both sides offensively until the Hokies got geared up in the sixth inning.
The hammer got involved with the Hokies as Cross sent a two-run shot to left center, bringing home Tanner Schobel to cut the Eagles’ lead to one. On the very next pitch for the Hokies, Rumfield wanted to get in on the celebration and delivered a solo shot to the same part of the ballpark as Cross’ to even the score at three apiece.
As the pitching remained dialed in through the game for the Hokies, they didn’t want to burn a golden opportunity the bullpen was providing.
That chance for Virginia Tech came in the eighth inning, thanks to Tanner Thomas for making enough contact on his pitch to bring home Madden on a fielder’s choice, giving the Hokies a 4-3 lead.
Just like how the pitching was going for Virginia Tech from the fourth inning on, Matthew Siverling and Graham Firoved both delivered strong outings in the ninth inning to secure the victory and the series.
Siverling got the credit for his fourth victory of the year, while Firoved picked up his first save of the season.
Although it wasn’t as easy as some people expected it to be between the Hokies and the Eagles, it definitely provided us with some fireworks and gave both teams some good tests heading into the heart of the season.
After a successful weekend series in Blacksburg, the Hokies started a five-game road stretch in Johnson City, TN to take on East Tennessee State University.
Both teams had a strong offensive presence to start the game, while the Hokies were first to crack onto the scoreboard with a Nick Biddison RBI double, his first at-bat of the season, to score Jack Hurley.
Into the bottom of the first inning, the Buccaneers dialed up an impressive response with a David Beam sacrifice fly and a Jake Lyle RBI single to give East Tennessee State their first lead in the game.
What helped the Hokies the most in this matchup was their ability to produce strong innings; their first big frame came in the second inning where the Hokies tallied up five runs.
It started off with a Lucas Donlon RBI single into right field to bring home Tanner Schobel, which knotted the score up to two apiece.
After a series of small ball tactics, the Hokies found themselves in a perfect situation with the bases loaded and Gavin Cross coming up to the plate.
Cross, who is coming off a solid weekend, made sure not to mess up the great opportunity and sent a bomb down the right field line and out of the ballpark to register a grand slam. The team-leading home run hitter once again paid his dividends and jumped Virginia Tech out to a 6-2 lead.
Despite the breakthrough performance from the Hokies, the Buccaneers did not shy away from the test and bounced back with an excellent second inning of their own.
After getting their two runs in the first inning off small-ball tactics, Ethan Cady was able to put the ball in play enough to get Sean Kearney across the plate on a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to three.
The Buccaneers had a situation very similar to the Hokies later on in the inning when they had the bases loaded. This is when Noah Webb really made the score interesting with a 2 RBI single down the third base line to score Ben Jackson and Ashton King, making it only a 6-5 advantage for the Hokies.
After two incredible innings from the Bucs, the Hokies stood their ground and performed like they were the better team on the diamond.
The offense from Virginia Tech went to work once again in the third inning with a Dayne Leonard RBI double down the left field line to give Schobel his second run of the game. In the next at bat, Donlon recorded another RBI with a sacrifice flyout to right field to bring home Tanner Thomas; this gave the Hokies a more comfortable 8-5 lead.
Moving onto the fourth inning, the Hokies continued their strong start with TJ Rumfield being able to get Cross to score on a groundout to second base, extending their lead up to four.
As mentioned earlier, the Hokies used big innings to help them in Tuesday’s matchup, and just like the second inning, a five-run fifth inning was strong enough to help move Virginia Tech into a safe position.
A Thomas RBI double helped launch the inning for the Hokies, as he put the ball into right field to get Schobel to come home and score.
The two most successful batters for the Hokies in Tuesday’s matchup were Donlon and Cross, and they continued their efforts into the fifth inning as well with Donlon having a 2 RBI home run and Cross with a 2 RBI double to give Virginia Tech a nine run advantage.
To put a cap on the night for Virginia Tech was Cross, who recorded a RBI single in the ninth inning to bring home Cade Swisher and bring the score to its final result of 15-5.
Cross’ efforts were off the charts as he recorded one of the hardest tasks in baseball, a cycle, which has not been accomplished by a Hokie yet in the season. He also had 7 RBIs for the Hokies off his four hits.
The Hokies now have improved their record to 16-9 on the season with a 11-7 conference record, enough to put them at the top of the ACC Coastal Division tied with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Up next for Virginia Tech is a trip down to Winston-Salem, NC where they will begin a three-game series against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. It has been a rather tough start this season for Wake Forest, who currently has a 10-11 overall record with a 5-9 conference record.