clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Virginia Tech Hokies: Swept by the Irish at Union Park

The Fighting Irish pull off a sweep, and take three from the Hokies for the first weekend of the renamed English Field at Union Park.

Up and Over Spoiling a play.
Up and Over Spoiling a play.
Picture Courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics

This weekend's series against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame might have been a chance to snap a long and very disappointing losing slump.  Saturday, even with the loss the Hokies showed a bit of life; but some very unaggressive play in the outfield along with a decision to leave starting pitcher Jon Woodcock in for the top of the 9th left Tech little chance to salvage a win and stop the slide.

The series started on Thursday instead of Friday. We already know what happened on Thursday evening, and would prefer to not be reminded.  Friday did present itself as an opportunity, with Kit Sheetz on the mound, to get some sort of stop.  Notre Dame would have none of that, and promptly scored their entire six run cushion by the 3rd inning, with one in the first, three in the second, and then adding two in the third.   Three of those runs were unearned.

Sheetz would regain some control and poise to finish out his 6.1 innings with a respectable outing.  It was a pitching performance that the normal Hokie offense might have been able to overcome.  Except that Friday, it couldn't.  Tech could only muster enough offense to put two runs (one earned, one unearned) across the plate in the bottom of the 7th.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Game -2:  (2-6)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Notre Dame (11-10, 3-5)

1

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

8

1

Virginia Tech (10-14, 1-7)

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

10

3

W: Sean Guenther (2-2)    L: Kit Scheetz (3-2)

Virginia Tech Box Score for March 25th:

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Ryan Tufts SS

5

0

2

1

0

1

1

2

0

Matt Dauby 2B

4

0

0

0

0

2

0

2

1

Saige Jenco PH

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Phil Sciretta 1B

5

0

2

0

0

0

11

0

0

Nick Anderson DH

3

0

1

0

2

0

0

0

3

Mac Caples LF

5

0

0

0

0

1

2

0

2

Max Ponzurick RF

3

0

1

0

0

1

2

0

1

Sam Fragale 3B

4

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

2

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

2

1

1

0

2

1

10

0

1

Rahiem Cooper CF

4

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

2

Kit Scheetz P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Ryan Lauria P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Totals

36

2

10

1

4

6

27

7

12

RBI: Tufts

Errors: Tufts, Dauby, Ponzurick

Men Left on Base: 12

Today's game was a bit different, right up until the 9th inning.  Jon Woodcock took the mound and proceeded to throw a decent game.  He did give up three runs in the first three innings, well only technically 2 since one was unearned, but he still held the Irish, who had been shelling us in the first third of the last two, to a beatable 3 runs.

Again, unfortunately, (that seems to be a word that keeps popping up with respect to Hokie baseball of late) the Virginia Tech offense seemed to stay in the dugout, and even when opportunities to manufacture a run presented themselves, in the 3rd, 4th, 8th, and 9th the efforts went nowhere.   The Hokies did scramble around the bases on some unusual Notre Dame defensive errors to score their 2 runs; but we never got closer.

With Notre Dame ahead 3-2 in the top of the 9th, imagine the surprise on my face when I saw Jon Woodcock take to the mound again.  I realize that this isn't the big leagues, and situational pitching is not a usual college capability, but leaving a tired young man in to face a dangerous offense in the top of a critical inning ended exactly as that situation would suggest.  Woodcock got popped for a hard double, and then promptly walked the next batter.  Sidewinder Cole Kragel was put in to close out the inning in an impossible situation.   Notre Dame put two insurance runs across the plate, and whatever offensive gas that the Hokies might have been able to put into the tank for the bottom of the inning to manufacture one or two, certainly wasn't enough to power home three or four.

The Irish headed to the buses waving their brooms.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Game -3:  (2-5)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Notre Dame (12-10, 4-5)

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

5

12

2

Virginia Tech (10-15, 1-8)

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

2

4

1

W: Peter Solomon (1-2)   L: Jon Woodcock (1-5)

Virginia Tech Box Score for March 26th:

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Grant Maiorana DH

2

0

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

Tom Stoffel PH

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ryan Tufts SS

4

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

2

Phil Sciretta 1B

4

0

0

0

0

1

4

0

0

Nick Anderson LF

4

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

Mac Caples RF

4

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

Sam Fragale 3B

4

1

1

0

0

1

3

1

1

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

2

0

0

0

1

2

4

0

1

Matt Dauby 2B

3

1

0

0

0

2

4

1

0

Rahiem Cooper CF

2

0

0

1

0

1

8

0

0

Jon Woodcock P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Cole Kragel P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Totals

30

2

4

2

2

9

27

6

4

Doubles: Anderson

RBI: Maiorana, Cooper

2-out RBI: Maiorana

Sacrifice Fly: Cooper

Men Left on Base: 4

Some Observations that just cannot be missed

Virginia Tech's outfield play was passive in a couple of critical situations.  This allowed for several hits when more aggressive jumps and plays on the ball would have resulted in an out.  There was a dropped ball that ended up resulting in a run.  The players seemed to be puzzled by the wind in their own stadium.  Even with the understanding that the moving air was going to move balls, the adjustments were a beat slow.

Tech did benefit from some Irish base running mistakes, and its two runs can probably be attributed to the boost that Tech got from Woodcock's good pickoff move.   Defense doesn't win, though.  It can't can't score runs.  The Hokies need to get the offense and defense on the same game rhythm.  Actually, the team could just really use some rhythm and some breaks.

Finally, why didn't Cole Kragel, or any of the other closing relievers, start the top of the 9th?  Woodcock pitched a very good game but was tired.  The decision didn't entirely cost the Hokies the game, but it changed a very doable 1 run for extra, 2 run for a walk off situation in the bottom of the 9th, to a nearly impossible 3 run gap.

This was a more than disappointing series.  Tech has slipped into a self-reinforcing downward spiral.  Someone somewhere needs to step up and make a play, lead a rally, get a few clutch hits.  Salvaging the season means that the Hokie Baseball Team needs to find a source of inspiration and get this season turned around.


You can do it!  GO HOKIES!!!!!

Many thanks to the Virginia Tech Athletic Department for supplying us with a great picture.