It was a historic night for Virginia Tech athletics, but a forgettable one for the Hokies baseball team. Monday night marked Tech’s first linear broadcast from its new ACC Network studio, but the occasion wasn’t all joyful as the Hokies fell 5-2 against Boston College.
“We didn’t get a good start,” head coach John Szefc said after the game. “Our starter didn’t make it through the third inning. That was the beginning of issues.”
Nic Enright pitched 2.1 innings before coming out in the top of the third. He gave up two runs on two hits and walked three batters before handing the game to Peyton Alford. Tech’s pitchers struggled all night, with none lasting longer than 2.2 innings. The defense behind them was good at times, with a Sportscenter-worthy play from Jack Owens at second base (that ended up getting overturned after review) and a play at the plate that saved a run from scoring, but the offense had struggles of their own.
Tech left 15 runners on base in the game, compared to Boston College’s 11. Hokies’ batters were just 1-for-4 with the bases loaded and 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
“I think we left the bases loaded three times,” Szefc said. “Normally when the home team leaves the bases loaded twice in a game they lose and we did it more than that and just didn’t really get any production offensively.”
“If you can’t score, you can’t win. Bottom line.”
Tech tried to claw its way back at times, but was never able to score more than one run in an inning. When Jack Owens scored on a groundout in the bottom of the fifth, Boston College answered back with two more runs in the top of the sixth. Tech couldn’t get enough momentum going to pull even and ended up losing the series after splitting the first two games.
The loss will make it difficult for the Hokies to make the ACC Tournament later this month. The top 12 teams from the conference make the tournament and Tech is currently in 13th place. Tech will host West Virginia on Wednesday before taking this weekend off. They’ll finish the regular season with a three-game series against Virginia, likely needing a sweep against the Cavaliers in order to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Despite the implications of that next series, Szefc isn’t changing his message to the team.
“Nothing different than we have said in the past,” he said. “We’re just trying to be consistent. Keep working at the game, that’s all you can do man. It’s not like you can give guys motivational speeches or something like that to play better. Not after 49 games. You come out, you work at the game, you prepare, and let the chips fall.”
The series against UVA will begin with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Thursday, May 16. The series will run through May 18 at English Field and will determine a point in the Commonwealth Clash as well as the possible playoff implications.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics