Following the loss to Virginia on Sunday, Virginia Tech did what it’s done all season and bounced back with an 11-3 win over Marshall on Tuesday.
“Our guys have been very, very good at bouncing back off of tough days,” head coach John Szefc said following the win. “I’ve said that for the last two months. I give them a lot of credit.”
Sophomore pitcher Dylan Hall got the start for the Hokies on Tuesday and turned in another solid midweek performance. Hall finished the game pitching seven innings and giving up three runs while striking out six.
Despite giving up a home run in each of the first three innings, Hall didn’t get rattled, retiring 12 straight batters at one point.
“They’re very aggressive early in the count, so he threw a lot of off-speed stuff early on,” Szefc said. “He retired 14 of his last 15 and the one hit he gave up really was a routine ground ball that just went against the shift.”
While the Hokies’ offense shined, scoring 11 runs on 14 hits, the defense was the aspect of the game that Szefc was the happiest with.
“I think the big story of that game is we didn’t walk a batter,” Szefc said. “We didn’t make an error, we didn’t walk a batter.”
Among the highlights on offense for Virginia Tech were Sam Fragale and Stevie Mangrum. Fragale and Mangrum were batting .238 and .154 respectively going into Tuesday night’s game. In the bottom of the fifth, they hit back-to-back home runs.
“I’ve been focusing on keeping [my shoulder] down so it keeps me though the zone a little more,” Fragale said about his recent approach to the plate. “That’s what I’ve been doing the past two games and it’s helping me a lot.”
Joining the home run party in the bottom of the seventh was Tom Stoffel, who hit a grand slam that scored Jack Owens, Mangrum, and Fragale and put the Hokies up 11-3.
“I just wanted to get back to my approach and swing at the right pitches, obviously laying off the bad ones,” Stoffel said. “I think my process was pretty good today other than that fourth at bat.”
Stoffel went 4-for-5 with a run scored and seven RBIs in Tuesday game. Szefc was impressed with the performance from his upperclassmen.
“Those are the kind of swings you need from guys like Fragale and Stoffel,” Szefc said. “That’s what senior, experienced guys do. They’re supposed to do that. I think they’d tell you the same thing.”
Game 2: Virginia Tech Comes Back Against Marshall
The Hokies travelled to Huntington on Wednesday to face Marshall for the second straight day. The second game between the two teams was a little closer, but Virginia Tech came out on top again, winning 11-9.
Marshall was up 8-3 in the seventh inning, but the Hokies would score five runs in the inning to tie the game. The Herd jumped out to a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, but a three-run ninth inning gave the Hokies the lead for the final time.
Hayden Heflin got the start for Tech on Wednesday, pitching 1.2 innings and giving up four runs on three hits. Joey Sullivan earned the win for the Hokies, pitching one inning and allowing no hits while striking out one.
Fragale had another good day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs. Mangrum continued his hot streak as well, going 2-for-4 and coming around to score twice.
The Hokies return to English Field this weekend for an ACC series against Louisville. The series starts on Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. The grand opening of English Field at Union Park will take place Saturday night at 7 p.m.
“I’m just happy for everybody involved with this whole project that they can kind of officially celebrate it,” Szefc said. “There’s been a lot of people that have put a lot of effort into this whole thing.”
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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