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Hokies Split Weekend Series with Bryant

Virginia Tech pitcher Joe Mantiply (So.) throws a strike to Bryant University's David Solits (Jr., SS) during the second inning of the first game of the weekend.
Virginia Tech pitcher Joe Mantiply (So.) throws a strike to Bryant University's David Solits (Jr., SS) during the second inning of the first game of the weekend.

Oh, hello again. I'm back with another post on VT baseball after taking off last weekend against Niagara while being sick. 

This weekend, the Hokies put their 7-2 record on the line and welcomed Bryant to English Field. Bryant, a private school in Smithfield, RI, came into the weekend series with a 3-3 record on the season. The Bulldogs opened the season by being swept by Oklahoma State, but followed that up with a sweep of Houston Baptist.

This weekend's games consisted of two doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. Originally, I think it was set for a single game on Friday, doubleheader Saturday and a single game on Sunday. However, the rainy forecast forced a doubleheader both days.

Bryant 3, Virginia Tech 2

The first game of the series started at 3:00 PM on Friday to accommodate for a doubleheader. Joe Mantiply (pictured above) took the mound for the Hokies and struck out a pair in the first inning. To start the 2nd inning, Mantiply hit David Soltis (also pictured above), but Mantiply caught Soltis off guard and the Hokies got him out in a rundown. Jamie Skagerlind walked and Tim Norton singled to push him to third. Bryant catcher Mike DelPonte doubled to bring both Norton and Skagerlind in to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. In the 3rd inning, Joseph Carcone walked and moved to second on a bunt. Kevin Brown singled to bring Carcone in and push the lead to 3-0. 

The Hokies were hitless through three full innings (snapping that with a single in the bottom of the 4th) and got their first run of the game in the fifth inning when Matt Blow doubled, bringing in Andrew Rash from first base. Tech got the second run of the game when Tim Smalling doubled at the start of the bottom of the 7th inning and Rash singled to bring in Smalling. Rash's single was the end of the Bryant pitcher Peter Kelich's night. 

In the 9th, with Ronnie Shaban on first, Rash grounded into a double play and ended the game, 3-2 Bryant. Mantiply actually pitched pretty well, going 8.0 innings, striking out 8, giving up 4 hits and walking 3. However, he didn't get nearly enough offensive support and the Hokies dropped the opening game of the series.

Follow the jump for the other three games from this weekend. 

Virginia Tech 4, Bryant 0

The Hokies got off to a faster start in the second game of Friday's doubleheader as Tim Smalling singled with two outs, Shaban walked and Rash belted a 3-run homerun to give the Hokies a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning. In the bottom of the 3rd, Michael Seaborn walked and then later scored on an RBI-single by Rash. 

The Hokies were helped tremendously by the pitching performance of redshirt-Junior Mark Zecchino. Zecchino pitched 8 full innings, surrendering just two hits, one walk and striking out 11 batters. 

Virginia Tech 15, Bryant 0

The Hokies' bats were ready to go on Saturday morning as they scored six runs in the first inning. Balisteri singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then a bunt single by Seaborn advanced him to third. Smalling singled to bring in Balisteri and Shaban singled to bring in Seaborn.Rash was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Chris Kay walked with the bases loaded to bring Smalling in. Chad Pinder reached on a fielder's choice that scored Shaban. Pinder stole second and Rash stole home to put the lead to 5-0. Pinder scored off a throwing error.

Rash walked in the 3rd inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Pinder. The Hokies scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning. Tech loaded the bases thanks to a single (Balisteri), 2 walks (Seaborn, Smalling) and Shaban singled to score Balisteri and Seaborn. Rash doubled to bring in Smalling and Shaban. Matt Blow was hit by a pitch and Kay hit a RBI-isngle to bring in Rash. Pinder singled to load the bases again and Johnny Morales hit a sac fly to bring in Blow to put the lead to 13-0. Smalling singled in his second plate appearance of the inning and a throwing error allowed Kay and Pinder to score, putting the lead to 15-0.  In the fourth inning, the Hokies scored 8 runs off of 7 hits and an error. The score could have been even higher for the inning as the Hokies left 3 on base

Patrick Scoggin, Manny Martir and Kyle Cichy combined for the shutout, allowing only 5 hits and 3 walks with 5 strikeouts. Brian O'Neil was hit with the loss for the Bulldogs after allowing 6 earned runs on 4 hits with 3 walks, his ERA for the game was 27.0 which was actually surpassed by Matt Griswold's 45.0 ERA.

Bryant 5, Virginia Tech 2

Hmmm...if only that excess offense carried over huh?

Soltis walked on a 3-2 count in the 4th inning and scored when Zachary Trenteseaux struck out swinging, but reached first on a passed ball and then a throwing error by Hokies' catcher Chad Morgan. Tony Balisteri doubled to start the bottom of the 5th, Smalling doubled to plate Balisteri and then Shaban doubled to score Smalling. The Bulldogs tied it in the top of the 6th after Soltis walked and later scored on a pinch-hit double by Jamie Skagerlind. Carcone and Jordan English walked at the top of 7th inning and Soltis later walked with 2 outs to load the bases. Carcone and English scored on a single by Adam Claire. Claire stole second and Soltis stole home on the play, scoring the final run of the game 5-2.

The Hokies out-hit the Bulldogs in the game, but had some costly errors and were forced to split the weekend series. Jake Joyce was hit with the loss for the Hokies and the man with three first names, John Michael Ryan picked up the win for Bryant.

Weekend MVP: Andrew Rash 7 RBI 5 runs scored, HR, double.

Up next for the Hokies: they travel to Florida while during Spring Break week. On Tuesday the Hokies face Florida Atlantic and then open ACC play on Friday against Miami.