Hokies take series from No. 4 FSU

AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds

Virginia Tech welcomed No. 4 Florida State to Blacksburg in a big test for the team. After a sub-par performance against Miami a week ago and a horrendous outing against a bad VMI team earlier in the week, the Hokies had a golden opportunity to prove that the top-25 ranking previously bestowed upon them was not a fluke. Tech earned the series win over the Seminoles, the first win over a top-five program at English Field. And to think, the Hokies were just two runs away from sweeping a very strong FSU team that had lost just two games all year heading into the series with Tech. Tech now sits at 20-9 overall and 7-5 in the ACC. Florida State falls to 24-4, 8-4. Also, keep an eye out this week for a mid-season stat report.

(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 1 :: Virginia Military 8, Virginia Tech 0 (Tues., March 26)

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia Military (11-15)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
VIRGINIA MILITARY 0 6 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 8 12 0
VIRGINIA TECH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 2

VMI jumped out in front of Tech early with six runs in the second inning. Ray Lopez drove in two runs to start the scoring and Thomas Stallings, Jordan Tarsovich, Will Connerley and Rob Dickinson provided the other RBIs. Sheldon Shifflett and Matt Winn provided an RBI each for the Keydets.

T.J. Lighton earned the win with six hits scattered over nine innings, striking out three and issuing no walks. Lighton retired 21 of the first 22 batters faced. Colin O'Keefe allowed four runs on two hits and three walks over one inning (did not record an out in the second) in the loss.

Offensive Highlights:

Chad Pinder -- 3 for 3
Andrew Rash -- 2 for 4

WP: T.J. Lighton (3-2): 9.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
LP: Colin O'Keefe (0-1): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, K

GAME 2 :: Virginia Tech 3, No. 4 Florida State 2 (Fri., March 29)

Virginia Tech vs. Florida State (23-2, 7-2)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
FLORIDA STATE 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 11 0
VIRGINIA TECH 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 x 3 6 0

Tech played host to the fourth best team in the nation this weekend. I'll admit that I had worries following the 8-0 loss to VMI, but I believe that game was a bit of looking past a team and a dominant pitching performance from the Keydets.

After Sean Keselica (1B) walked and was subsequently picked off at first base, Gary Schneider (RF) earned a walk and advanced to second on an out by Alex Perez (SS). Chad Pinder (3B) walked to give the Hokies 1st-and-2nd with two outs and Mark Zagunis (C) singled to bring in Schneider and give the Hokies a 1-0 lead.

Following a three-up, three-down for Florida State in the top of the fourth, it looked like the same was going to be the case for Tech until Kyle Wernicki (DH) singled with two outs. Wernicki scored from first on a double by Keselica and Keselica scored on a single by Schneider.

D.J. Stewart got two back for the 'Noles with a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning.

Brad Markey earned the win with a complete game effort, striking out four, walking one and allowing two runs on 11 hits. Brandon Leibrandt gave up three runs on five hits and five walks in the loss.

Offensive Highlights:

Gary Schneider -- 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI
Mark Zagunis -- 1 for 3, 1 RBI
Sean Keselica -- 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 RBI
Kyle Wernicki -- 1 for 3, 1 R

WP: Brad Markey (3-2): 9.0 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
LP: Brandon Leibrandt (4-2): 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K

GAME 3 :: No. 4 Florida State 11, Virginia Tech 10 (Sat., March 30)

Virginia Tech vs. No. 4 Florida State
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
FLORIDA STATE 5 3 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 11 12 3
VIRGINIA TECH 0 1 0 7 0 0 1 0 1 10 14 3

Florida State loaded the bases with one out in the first inning and Marcus Davis (no, not that one) scored on a fielder's choice from Jose Brizuela. Stewart then scored on a single by John Nogowski. Tech starting pitcher Devin Burke then walked Seth Miller to load the bases. Giovanny Alfonzo singled with the bases loaded and a fielding error from Rash (CF) emptied the bases, giving FSU a 5-0 lead after one inning.

FSU added three more in the bottom of the second inning with three hits and another Tech error. Tech got one back in the bottom half of the inning with RBI fielder's choice by Brendon Hayden (2B) to score Tyler Horan (LF).

The Hokies tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with seven runs, all coming with two outs. Wernicki (DH/RF), Perez (SS), Schneider (RF/1B), Keselica (1B/P), Pinder (3B) and Zagunis (C) all drove in a run (Zagunis with two RBI) as Tech batted around in the inning.

FSU regained the lead with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth and the Hokies escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam with just one run allowed. The 'Noles tacked on two runs with two outs in the seventh inning to extend their lead to 11-8.

Zagunis led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple and then scored on an RBI-ground out by Rash to put the game at 11-9. Tech headed into the bottom of the ninth with a two run deficit and a walk to Zagunis and a double by Rash gave the Hokies runners on 1st-and-3rd with one out. Hayden singled to bring in Zagunis and cut the FSU lead to one, but Wernicki struck out and Perez grounded out to end the game at 11-10 in favor of FSU.

Devin Burke started the game for Tech, but lasted just one inning after allowing eight runs (only two of which were earned) on six hits. Eddie Campbell was tagged with the loss with three innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits and two walks. Bryant Holtmann earned the win for FSU, allowing just three hits and a walk over 2.1 innings. Robby Coles earned the save with one winning of work.

Offensive Highlights:

Gary Schneider -- 3 for 4, 1 R, RBI, BB
Mark Zagunis -- 3 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
Brendon Hayden -- 1 for 5, 2 RBI
Tyler Horan -- 2 for 5, 2 R

WP: Bryant Holtmann (2-0): 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
LP: Eddie Campbell (1-3): 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
S: Robby Coles (6): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

GAME 4 :: Virginia Tech 8, No. 4 Florida State 1 (Sat., March 30)

Virginia Tech vs. No. 4 Florida State
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
FLORIDA STATE 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 8 3
VIRGINIA TECH 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 0 0 8 12 0

Tech headed into the second game of the doubleheader probably a bit disappointed with how the first closed out. The Hokies dominated the second game, holding FSU to one run on a eight hits, while scoring eight of their own on 12 hits.

Pinder (3B) led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and Horan (LF) singled to move him to third. Zagunis (DH) then reached on a fielder's choice and Pinder scored on a throwing error that negated the normal out associated with a fielder's choice. Rash (CF) doubled to bring in Horan and Zagunis and then scored on a double by Chad Morgan (C). Tech led 4-0 after four innings.

Alfonzo plated Stephen McGee in the sixth inning for FSU, and the Hokies escaped a bases-load, one-out jam with just one run allowed.

Tech added four more in the seventh inning as a double by Pinder brought Schneider (RF) in to score. Rash singled to bring in Pinder, Hayden (2B) drove in Horan and Zagunis scored on a fielder's choice.

Joe Mantiply earned his second win of the year with 6.2 innings of work, striking out seven and allowing one run on six hits and three walks. Clark Labitan earned his fifth save of the year with 2.1 innings of two-hit relief. Peter Miller gave up four runs on six hits and a walk over 3.1 innings in the loss.

Offensive Highlights:

Andrew Rash -- 3 for 4, 1 R, 3 RBI
Chad Pinder -- 3 for 5, 2 R, RBI
Chad Morgan -- 1 for 3, 2 RBI, BB
Tyler Horan -- 2 for 5, 2 R
Mark Zagunis -- 0 for 2, 2 R, 2 BB

WP: Joe Mantiply (2-0): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
LP: Peter Miller (3-1): 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
S: Clark Labitan (5): 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Series Stats

Offensive:

Gary Schneider -- 5 for 12, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Brendon Hayden -- 3 for 13, 3 RBI
Andrew Rash -- 7 for 16, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B
Chad Pinder -- 6 for 16, 3 R, RBI, BB, 2 2B
Tyler Horan -- 4 for 17, 4 R, BB, 2B,
Mark Zagunis -- 4 for 12, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 3B, 2 2B
Sean Keselica -- 3 for 13, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B

Pitching:

Joe Mantiply -- Win, 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
Brad Markey -- Win, 9.0 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

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