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Virginia Tech Hokies Sweep! Spartans Fall 8-2 in Game 3

The Virginia Tech Hokie Baseball Team starts off the 2017 season with a broom on the bus. The USCU Spartans fall 8-2 in Game 3 of the the Hokies’ opening series. Marshall comes on Tuesday to open at English Field at Union Park on Tuesday. GO HOKIES!!!

A trip down the third base line from last season.
Dave Knachel - Virginia Tech Athletics

Hokie pitching was going to be a challenge this season. We had lots of returning talent, but last year’s efforts just couldn’t wring out enough clear innings to assist the offense. Hokie starting pitcher Andrew McDonald went 7.2 innings with eight hits, only two runs, and 9 strikeouts to keep the Spartans scoring low. Add to that, Tech played an errorless game this time which helped to tie a bow on a gift wrapped defensive game.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs University of South Carolina Upstate Spartans Game 3:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Virginia Tech (3-0)

0

0

1

0

1

1

2

0

3

8

13

0

USC Upstate (0-3)

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

8

2

Winning Pitcher: Andrew McDonald (1-0) Loss: BARTHOLOMEW (0-1) Save: Paul Hall, Jr. (1)

Virginia Tech Box Score for Game 3:

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Jack Owens 2B

4

2

3

0

1

1

0

6

2

Ryan Tufts SS

3

0

0

0

1

0

2

2

0

Tom Stoffel RF

4

2

2

2

0

0

2

0

0

Nick Anderson DH/P

5

1

2

2

0

0

0

0

1

Sam Fragale 1B

4

1

1

0

1

3

10

1

2

Stevie Mangrum LF

3

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

Mac Caples LF

1

1

0

0

1

1

1

0

0

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

5

1

2

1

0

1

9

1

0

Garrett Hudson 3B

5

0

1

0

0

1

0

1

1

Rahiem Cooper CF

4

0

1

0

0

0

2

0

3

Andrew McDonald P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Paul Hall, Jr. P

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Totals

38

8

13

5

4

8

27

12

9

Doubles: Owens, Stoffel, Hudson

Home Runs: Anderson, Freiday

RBI: Stoffel (2), Anderson (2), Freiday

Clutch RBI: Anderson (2)

Stolen Base: Owens

Caught Stealing: Owens, Tufts

Men Left on Base: 9

The score in this one looks like it could have been a run away, but the Spartans had it knotted up until the Hokie half of the sixth inning; Tech not scoring until the top of the 3rd. By the 5th, Tech had only plated two runs. That didn’t take much for USCU to nibble away at that difference.

Joe Freiday, Jr. checked in with a dinger in the top of the 6th to break the 2-2 tie, and Tech really never looked back. Though no one else in that inning scored for the Hokies, neither did the Spartans. Tech would mix small ball and long ball in the top of the 7th for some much appreciated insurance as Jack Owens, Jr. worked a single over to third base on a steal and a throwing error. Tom Stoffel drove him in on a contact play to 2nd. Nick Anderson connected with a 2 out homer to close out the scoring for the inning, but Andrew McDonald didn’t need it. He continued his stellar pitching effort until he was finally relieved in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs. He was struggling a bit so Nick Anderson was moved in to wrap the inning and then Paul Hall, Jr. closed out the 9th. Tech did benefit from a three unearned run top of the 9th as Tom Stoffel was hit by a pitch which started a merry-go-round of no-contact scoring. Walks and a serious error by the USCU short stop first loaded the bases and then cleared them. Three unearned runs are still runs, but the Hokies really didn’t need them. Hall closed it out with a ground out, a fly out, and a 3 to 1 put out at 1st.

The one thing that stands out in yesterday’s effort was the two players caught stealing. Is Coach Pat Mason starting a "run ‘til you’re tagged" offense? There is always that heavy tension in regard to stealing bases. "Old" (pre-Sabermetrics) school baseball loves the idea of putting pressure on pitchers by always having a threat to steal on base. "New" baseball hates the violation of the analytics. The "numbers" say it is better to have a man on base and not risk the out. Maybe the Hokies were watching the Nationals’ Tre Turner last season as he rattled and disrupted pitcher after pitcher because he was always a threat to make a break for the next base on almost every pitch? I don’t know but what I do know is that in a game that is nearing its 200th birthday and umpteenth rule tweak, aggressive offensive play is always a challenge to "the numbers".

Tuesday the Hokies open their home season, and Gobbler Country will be there for the first Pitch of 2017 at Union Park. We’ll even have pictures for the next write-up.

GO HOKIES!!!