Baseball opens ACC play against Georgia Tech

Brendon Hayden

Virginia Tech opened play in the ACC with a tough three-game series against the No. 14 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. After being walloped by the top offense in the nation to the tune of 25 runs and 27 hits in the first two games, the Hokies took the third game of the series thanks to a great performance on the mound by Devin Burke. Burke improved to 4-0 on the season and is tied for second in the nation in wins (with about 25 other pitchers) and earned the Hokies a big win, even if they fell out of the top-25 this week.

(Note: As is often the case in college baseball, players switch between positions from game to game, so they're tagged with what position they played in that particular game).

GAME 2 :: No. 14 Georgia Tech 11, No. 24 Virginia Tech 1 (Fri., March 8)

Virginia Tech (11-2, 0-0) vs. Georgia Tech (12-1, 0-0)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
GEORGIA TECH 0 2 0 1 4 0 0 0 4 11 9 0
VIRGINIA TECH 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 0

Georgia Tech opened the scoring in style as Zane Evans hit a two-run home run in the second inning to bring in Daniel Palka and give the Yellow Jackets a quick advantage. In the fourth inning, Brandon Thomas doubled to lead off and scored following three consecutive walks from Virginia Tech starting pitcher Eddie Campbell. In the fifth, Campbell surrendered a lead off single and issued a pair of walks to load the bases. Yes, this is going where you think it's going. Daniel Palka took the first pitch he saw from Campbell deep over the walls of English Field to give Georgia Tech a 7-0 lead.

The Hokies finally got on the board in the sixth inning after Gary Schneider (RF) doubled and scored on a single by Chad Pinder (3B). Prior to the sixth inning, the Hokies just had two runners on base--both via walks. Georgia Tech added four more in the ninth inning as Thomas double in a run, Evans doubled in a pair of runs and later scored on a single by Matt Gonzalez.

Buck Farmer pitched a gem for the Yellow Jackets, striking out seven and allowing just two hits and three walks over 6.0 innings for the win. Campbell allowed seven runs on five hits and five walks over 4.0 innings in the loss.

Offensive highlights:

Chad Pinder -- 1/4, RBI
Gary Schneider -- 1/4, R, 2B

WP: Buck Farmer (3-0): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K
LP: Eddie Campbell (1-1): 4.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 5 BB, 3 K

GAME 2 :: No. 14 Georgia Tech 14, No. 24 Virginia Tech 9 (Sat., March 9)

Virginia Tech (11-3, 0-1) vs. Georgia Tech (13-1, 1-0)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
GEORGIA TECH 0 4 0 2 0 1 6 0 1 14 18 2
VIRGINIA TECH 1 1 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 9 11 2

Schneider (RF) put the Hokies on the board in the bottom of the first inning by singling, stealing second, advancing to third on a fly ball out, and scoring on a fly out by Pinder (3B). Georgia Tech answered quickly in the top of the second inning on six singles and a fielder's choice--a rough inning for the Hokies. Brendon Hayden (2B) hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second to cut the Yellow Jacket lead in half. The Hokies scored four in the bottom of the third to take a 6-4 lead. Schneider was hit by a pitch and Sean Keselica (1B) hit a single to put runners on first and second for Pinder, who hit a single to plate Schneider. Keselica scored on a throwing error and then Tyler Horan (LF) and Pinder both scored on another throwing error by the Yellow Jackets.

Kyle Wren tripled to plate Gonzalez in the top of the fourth and then later scored on a balk by starting pitcher Brad Markey to tie the game. Georgia Tech scored a run in the top of the sixth and the Hokies answered with three in the bottom half of the inning as Keselica doubled in Chad Morgan (C) and Alex Perez (SS) and Pinder singled in Keselica. The Hokies led the No. 14 team in the nation 9-7 after six innings. And then things fell apart.

Georgia Tech blew the game wide open with six runs on four hits, four walks and an error in the seventh inning, an inning in which the Hokies used three pitchers. The Yellow Jackets added one final run in the ninth inning as Brandon Thomas scored on a single by Palka.

Offensive Highlights

Chad Pinder -- 2/4, 3 RBI, R
Sean Keselica -- 2/5, 2 RBI, 2 R
Brendon Hayden -- 1/3, HR, RBI, BB

WP: Alex Cruz (2-0): 4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 K
LP: Clark Labitan (0-1): 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB


GAME 3 :: No. 24 Virginia Tech 6, No. 14 Georgia Tech 2 (Sun., March 10)

Virginia Tech (11-4, 0-2) vs. Georgia Tech (14-1, 2-0)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
GEORGIA TECH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 7 1
VIRGINIA TECH 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 1 x 6 12 0

It looked like Georgia Tech might just continue the theme of the weekend with a run on three hits in the first inning. That is until Devin Burke retired 20 of the next 21 batters to keep the Yellow Jackets off the board. Perez (SS) singled in Horan (LF) in the fourth inning to tie the game. The Hokies tacked on four more in the sixth inning Hayden (2B) hit a three-run homer and Keselica (1B) singled in Morgan (DH) to give the Hokies a 5-1 lead. Virginia Tech scored four runs on five hits and a hit batter (Morgan) in the inning. Perez doubled to open the eighth and later scored on a two-out single by Pinder (3B) to push the Hokies lead to 6-1. Palka doubled to bring in Thomas for the second run of the game for the Yellow Jackets.

Burke finished the game with six hits and two runs allowed over eight innings against the top offense in the nation, not too shabby.

Offensive Highlights

Brendon Hayden -- 2/4, 3 RBI, HR, R
Alex Perez -- 3/4, RBI, R, 2B

WP: Devin Burke (4-0): 8.0, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
LP: Cole Pitts (3-1): 5.1, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Series Stats

Offensive:

Chad Pinder -- 5/13, 5 RBI, R
Sean Keselica -- 3/13, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB
Alex Perez -- 5/11, RBI, 2 R, 2B
Brendon Hayden -- 3/9, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 2 BB, 2 R
Gary Schneider -- 2/13, 2 R, 2B

Pitching:

Devin Burke -- Win, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 2 BB

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