Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics (Pre-COVID)
The Virginia Tech Baseball team proved this weekend that they belong in the conversation amongst the top competitors of the ACC.
For the first time in school history, the Hokies won a regular season series against the Miami Hurricanes down in Coral Gables, FL. The Hurricanes came into the weekend ranked as high as third in some national polls while the Hokies were unranked despite being 3-0, seeing this as an opportunity to make a statement.
On Friday, the opening matchup of the series did not start the way the Hokies were hoping that it would. The Hurricanes pounced on the scoreboard first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, thanks to RBI singles from Yohanny Morales and Adrian Del Castillo.
The Hokies could’ve let that demoralize their efforts, but they bounced back in the top of the second inning starting off with a Jonah Seagears’ RBI single to bring home Kevin Madden to cut the deficit to one run. Later in the frame, Cade Hunter connected for a two-run home run to left field, giving the Hokies a 3-2 lead.
The scoring didn’t stop there for the Hokies though as in the top of the third inning, TJ Rumfield had a two-run shot of his own to bring home Gavin Cross and give the Hokies a 5-2 lead.
Miami was able to cut into its deficit to the Hokies in the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Alex Toral to bring home Morales bringing the Hurricanes within two runs at 5-3.
Despite eight runs being scored in the first three innings, neither team was able to get any offense going from there on out as the Hokies went on to prevail over the Hurricanes in Game 1, 5-3, giving Tech their first victory over the Hurricanes since March 11th, 2016.
The win was given to Matthew Siverling, who came in from the bullpen and delivered a strong four innings by allowing only one hit and striking out six. Shane Connolly got the credit for the save for his second successful close of the year.
Cade Hunter’s and TJ Rumfield’s home runs on Friday made it back-to-back games that the two Hokies have gone yard, the first time since 2017 when Mac Caples and Rahiem Cooper hit home runs in back-to-back games.
Heading into Saturday, the Hokies were looking to continue its hot start by winning Game 2 of the weekend over the Hurricanes.
Miami started off Game 2 with a similar treatment that they gave the Hokies in the first game of the series, by jumping onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning.
Morales started the scoring once again for the Hurricanes with a RBI single to bring home Jordan Lala to give Miami the early 1-0 lead. Later in the half inning, Adam Frank had the breakthrough at-bat for the Hurricanes with a 2-RBI single, bringing home Morales and Del Castillo to expand Miami’s lead up to 3-0.
After the bottom half of the first inning, the offense went quiet for the remainder of the night for both sides as the Hurricanes did not register another run in the game and the Hokies were held scoreless in the contest.
Alejandro Rosario got credit for his first victory of the season after delivering an impressive seven inning, three-hit performance. Chris Gerard was handed his first loss of the season after pitching six innings and giving up three earned runs.
With 14 of the 15 previous innings at this point having zero runs, both the Hokies and the Hurricanes were preparing for an intense rubber match on Sunday to decide the fate of the series.
Just like the two previous games of the series, the Hurricanes got on the scoreboard first with two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning after Morales’ 2-run shot to left field scored Anthony Vilar and himself to grab the early lead.
The Hokies were able to respond over the course of the next two innings though as Tanner Schobel RBI single scored Tanner Thomas in the second inning while Fritz Genther had a solo bomb to left field to match the Hurricanes’ efforts to make the score 2-2.
Miami got back to work on the offensive side in the bottom of the fifth inning after Christian Del Castillo had a hit out to center field, during the play however Genther committed an error which allowed Morales and Adrian Del Castillo to score, jumping the score back to the Hurricanes favor, 4-2.
Virginia Tech found a way to tie it up in the top of the sixth inning though as Schobel delivered a hit up the left field line to score Thomas and Madden to knot the score back up at four apiece.
That didn’t sit well with the Hurricanes though as they were quick to respond in the bottom of the sixth inning with Villar and Morales both delivering RBI singles to give Miami another two run lead heading into the seventh inning.
As both teams entered the final third of the game, the Hokies’ bats came alive and they were determined to put the Hurricanes away.
In the top of the seventh inning, Madden singled up the left side of the field to collect two massive RBIs that brought home Cross and Jack Hurley, tying the game back up with six runs apiece. Later in the frame, Schobel made a big play by making contact with the ball which brought home Madden on the fielder’s choice, giving the Hokies their first lead of the game, 7-6.
Cross put the game away for the Hokies in the top of the eighth inning with a two-run shot, giving Virginia Tech a 9-6 lead which turned out to become the final score of the contest.
Jaison Heard got credit for the Game 3 victory as he delivered an outstanding two inning performance with 5 of his 6 outs coming from strikeouts. Shane Connolly collected his third save of the season including his second of the series.
Virginia Tech had a daunting task ahead of them to start off ACC play, but they lived up to the challenge and got some quality wins to wrap up the month of February.
The Hokies return to English Field this weekend to have a three-game series against another loaded ACC opponent in the North Carolina Tar Heels. The series will start on Friday at 4:00pm followed by matchups on Saturday at 3:00pm and Sunday at 1:00pm all on ACC Network Extra.