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Tech takes doubleheader, series from No. 5 Virginia

Virginia Tech welcomed in-state rival Virginia to English Field for a three-game set and the results, though a bit unexpected, were phenomenal. The Hokies have been hard to predict this year, taking two-of-three from No. 4 Florida State, but losing games they should absolutely win. So for the Hokies to take two of three--both of Saturday's doubleheader games--from the fifth-ranked team in the nation was a pleasant surprise. Virginia is a very, very good team and Tech winning the series is huge. The two wins will definitely help the Hokies chances of qualifying for the ACC tournament and a series against each of Wake Forest (7-16 ACC) and Boston College (1-21) remain on the schedule. On to the games...

Tyler Horan finished the weekend with 6 RBIs, 3 runs scored and a homer. Also, Horan heisted a hypothetical Hoo homer. ALLITERATION!
Tyler Horan finished the weekend with 6 RBIs, 3 runs scored and a homer. Also, Horan heisted a hypothetical Hoo homer. ALLITERATION!

(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 :: No. 5 Virginia 15, Virginia Tech 6 (Fri., April 26)

Virginia Tech vs No. 5 Virginia (37-6, 16-5)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
VIRGINIA 0 4 1 0 1 3 6 0 0 15 17 1
VIRGINIA TECH 1 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 0 6 10 3

The bad news (yes, worse than the loss since you kind of expected at LEAST one loss this weekend) was that Tech outfielder Gary Schneider was injured and will (likely) miss the rest of the season. Via Matt Jones of the Collegiate Times:

The Hokies will be without one of their top offensive performers. Schneider was batting .329 and had scored 29 runs on the year. On to the game...

Sean Keselica (1b) doubled and advanced to third on a single by Chad Pinder (3b) before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Mark Zagunis (c) in the first inning to put the Hokies up 1-0. Their only lead of the game. Then the onslaught began in the second inning.

Brandon Downes and Derek Fisher singled twice in a row to start the inning and Nick Howard singled to bring in a run. Reed Gragnani singled to bring in Fisher and Howard scored on a fielder's choice by Nate Irving. Branden Cogswell doubled to score the fourth run of the inning for the Cavaliers.

Virginia scored another run in the third inning to put the Cavs up 5-1. Pinder pulled hit a two-run double with two outs in the bottom half of the third to pull the Hokies within two, the closest they'd get in the remainder of the game.
Virginia scored once in the fifth inning and then three times in the top of the sixth to take a 9-3 lead. Tech answered with three of its own as Tyler Horan (lf) tripled to plate two runs and Andrew Rash (cf) singled to bring Horan in and cut the UVa lead to 9-6.

After the Hokies pulled within three, Virginia put the game out of reach with six runs in the top of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run homer from Gragnani.

Brandon Waddell earned the win for Virginia, pitching 5.2 innings and giving up six runs on eight hits, while striking out five. Whit Mayberry earned the save, giving up only two hits over 3.1 innings. Brad Markey was tagged for nine runs on 11 hits over 5.2 innings in the loss.

Virginia registered a season-high 17 hits in the game. Yikes.

WP: Brandon Waddel (4-1) -- 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
LP: Brad Markey (3-4) -- 5.2 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
S: Whit Mayberry (2) -- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Top Tech performers:
Chad Pinder -- 2 for 4, 2 RBI, 2B
Sean Keselica -- 4 for 5, 3 R, 2B
Tyler Horan -- 1 for 4, R, 2 RBI, 3B

GAME 2 :: Virginia Tech 5, No. 5 Virginia 3 (Sat., April 27)

Virginia Tech vs. No. 5 Virginia
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
VIRGINIA 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 6 2
VIRGINIA TECH 2 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 x 5 10 1

Perez (2b) singled to open the bottom of the first and Keselica (1b) singled to move him to second. Mark Zagunis (dh/c) then walked to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Tyler Horan (lf) plated Perez. An RBI-single by Andrew Rash (rf) gave the Hokies a 2-0 lead.

Fisher got one back for the Cavaliers in the top of the second with a solo home run and Nate Irving grounded out to score the tying run.

Keselica reached on a fielding error in the bottom of the third and advanced to third after a single by Pinder (ss) and a fielder's choice by Zagunis. Keselica put Tech up after a fielder's choice by Horan.

Kenny Towns hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, but Tech took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rash and Brenden Hayden (3b/p) singled to open the bottom half of the inning and both advance on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Wernicki (cf). Chad Morgan (c) and Perez both laced RBI-singles to put Tech up 5-3.

Joe Mantiply retired three straight in the top of the seventh, before Hayden came in in the eighth in relief. Hayden induced a fly out, but then walked back-to-back batters to give Virginia 1st-and-2nd with one out. Clark Labitan came on in relief of Hayden, inducing a double-play ball to end the threat. Labitan retired the side in order in the top of the ninth to secure the win and shut me up for my comment last week.

Mantiply earned the win, pitching seven innings and giving up six hits and three walks while striking out five. Labitan earned the save in relief, striking out one and allowing no runners over 1.2 innings. Scott Silverstein was handed the loss, allowing five runs on 10 hits and a walk in 5.1 innings.

WP: Joe Mantiply (4-0) -- 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
LP: Scott Silverstein (7-1) -- 5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
S: Clark Labitan (6) -- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Top Tech performers:
Alex Perez
-- 3 for 4, 2B, R, RBI
Sean Keselica -- 1 for 3, 2 R
Tyler Horan -- 0 for 3, 2 RBI

GAME 3 :: Virginia Tech 11, No. 5 Virginia 6 (Sat., April 27)

Virginia Tech vs. No. 5 Virginia
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
VIRGINIA 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 6 11 1
VIRGINIA TECH 0 2 5 3 0 0 1 0 x 11 11 1

Towns put Virginia up early with a double, but Rash (rf) hit a two-run homer to give Tech a 2-1 lead. Joe McCarthy put Virginia back on top with a two-run ground-rule double in the third inning. Then Tech handily took the lead.

Pinder drove in Perez (2b) and Horan (lf) hit a two-run homer, followed by an RBI-ground out by Wernicki (cf) to give the Hokies a 7-3 lead and chase Virginia starter Nick Howard.

In the fourth, Pinder doubled to plate Perez, Keselica (1b) scored on a wild pitch and Pinder then scored on a fielder's choice by Hayden (3b) to give Tech a 10-3 lead and send reliever Nathan Kirby to the bench early.

Each team scored a run in the seventh and the Cavaliers added a run each in the eighth and ninth innings.

Tech starter Devin Burke went 7.1 innings in the win, scattering eight hits and walking two. Jake Joyce pitched 1.2 innings in relief, giving up three hits. Howard was chased after 2.1 innings, giving up seven runs on six hits and a walk. Kirby gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning and Kyle Crockett gave up two runs over 3.2 innings.

Of note, Rash finished just a double shy of the cycle.

WP: Devin Burke (7-3) -- 7.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
LP: Nick Howard (5-4) -- 2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Top Tech performers:
Chad Pinder
-- 1 for 5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Tyler Horan -- 2 for 4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Andrew Rash -- 3 for 3, 3B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB

Series MVP:

Coach Pete Hughes stringing together a good line-up after Schneider's injury and the team stepping up big in the doubleheader.