In its first extra-inning game of the season, Virginia Tech (1-4) lost 2-1 to Iowa (4-0) in the first game of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Baseball Classic.
Traveling down to New Orleans for the tournament, the Hokies faced 2017 Big Ten champion Iowa in their first game of the weekend. Iowa came into Friday’s game 3-0 on the season.
Playing as the away team, the Hokies led off the top of the first inning with a single by Tom Stoffel, his ninth of the season. After Stoffel’s at bat it was three up, three down for the Hokies in the first as Jack Owens, Sam Fragale and Luke Horanski were unable to get anything going.
With Connor Coward on the mound for his second start of the season, the Hokies stopped Iowa from getting anything going in the first inning as the Hawkeyes went three up, three down to start the game.
The Hokies got a little more momentum in the top of the second as Nick Owens singled to start the frame, followed by Joe Freiday, Jr. reaching on a fielder’s choice. Both would be left stranded, however, as Tech could not muster any more offense in the inning.
Iowa got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning when shortstop Kyle Crowl homered to left field to make the score 1-0.
Tech wouldn’t trail for long, though. Nick Menken hit a two-out home run to left field in the top of the fourth to even the score a one run apiece.
Following Menken’s homer, neither team could get much offense going the rest of the afternoon and the game went into extra innings still tied 1-1.
When the Hokies came to the plate in the top of the 10th, the lack of offense continued. Menken flied out to left field to start the inning. Freiday managed to reach base after drawing a walk, but strikeouts by Steve Mangrum and Darion Jacoby would end the inning without a change of score.
In the bottom of the 10th, Austin Guzzo, pinch hitting for Boe Mitchell, got hit by a pitch with one out. Kace Massner came in to the game to pinch run for Guzzo. Crowl struck out in his at bat, but Massner stole second to put a runner in scoring position. After Justin Jenkins reached on a walk, Ben Norman came up to the plate. The sophomore outfielder reached base on an error by Hokies’ third baseman Sam Fragale, which allowed Massner to score and win the game for the Hawkeyes.
The Hokies squeezed out just six hits in 34 at bats on the day. Menken went 1-for-3 and scored the lone Virginia Tech run on his fourth inning homer. Nick Owens had the only multi-hit performance for the Hokies, going 2-for-4.
Coward had another strong performance, pitching 8 innings while giving up just one run on two hits. Coward fanned 11 batters and walked only one in Friday’s game.
Andrew McDonald tossed one inning for the Hokies, allowing no runs on two hits and striking out two batters. Joey Sullivan got tagged with the loss, pitching 0.2 innings in the 10th and giving up the winning run.
The Hokies’ next game is Saturday afternoon against New Orleans. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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