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Hokies Split the Doubleheader with the Wolf Pack; 8-7 and 4-7

The Hokies split their first two games in their very first trip to Nevada. There were two things to note, Tech has its first 5 win start in 23 years. The second is that we have our first loss for 2017.

New York Yankees v Virginia Tech
The game is away, the camera still in the bag.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Baseball fans have a love hate relationship with doubleheaders.  The love is, of course, more BASEBALL!  The hate is the fact that more often than not the games split.  The Virginia Tech Hokies showed up in Reno to play ball.  The game was broadcast on the Mountain West Network, though the camera angles were a bit difficult, it was a relatively smooth production.  The view looked stunning, and the temps were said to be cold and clear.  There was a break in the northern Nevada winter weather long enough to get in these two games.

The Hokies took the opener.  The game started at 2:00 EST and the teams seemed to be hurrying through it.

Game 1 Virginia Tech vs Nevada February 24th

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Virginia Tech (5-0)

0

1

1

0

4

0

0

2

0

8

13

0

Nevada (1-4)

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

4

7

15

1

Win: Packy Naughton (1-0) Loss: Trevor Charpie (0-2) Save: Aaron McGarity (2)

Packy Naughton pitched a good game, scattering eight hits and two walks over 6.1 innings but allowing only 2 runs to score.  A large part of that effort was his five strikeouts. Kit Sheetz was used in relief, again, and ran into a real 2.2 inning scuffle, giving up 5 runs on seven hits.  Part of the pain of a double header is the limited ability to use the bullpen, especially in the first game.  Eventually, Aaron McGarity came in for the bottom of the 9th to slam the door shut with a goose-egg.

The Hokie offense would have to win this game, and it stepped up big.  Tech and Nevada entered the 5th inning with a close fought 2-2 tie.  Both teams were working the usual baseball manufacture a run for an inning sort of single, advance, take advantage of an error game.  Nick Anderson did crank a homer out to open the scoring in the top of the 2nd, but the Wolf Pack evened it up.  That actually seemed to be the story of the double header.  Both teams managed to match each other in runs, except for ONE critical inning each.

Tech's came in the first game.  The top of the 5th inning started off with Joe Freiday, Jr getting plonked (accidentally we presume) and taking first.  Nevada would pay for that mistake in what seems to be Hokie fashion this season, namely the two-out rally.   Matt Dauby sacrificed Freiday over to 2nd, and then Rahiem Cooper struck out.  Leadoff batter Jack Owens rapped a single up the 1st base side, advancing Freiday to 3rd.   It also opened the door for Ryan Tufts to hammer a double into left-center scoring Freiday and moving Owens to 3rd.  Tom Stoffel dropped in a right field single that was deep enough to score both Owens and Tufts.  Nevada pitcher Charpie struggled with some control issues which allowed Stoffel to advance to 2nd.  Nick Anderson dropped in a single to center field that allowed Stoffel to score.  The inning ended on a strikeout for Sam Fragale.  But the damage was done, and Tech had a 4 run frame with a 6-2 lead.

Tech would score 2 more, very critical runs in the top of the 8th on what turned out to be substitute Left Fielder Mac Craples's 2 run homer.  That one scored Nick Anderson who was on base because of a walk.  Craples RBI's proved to be the difference in the game.

Nevada would come roaring back as Kit Sheetz began to have serious issues and gave up four straight hits, one of which was a double.  He had previously given up a home run in the bottom of the 8th (random Homers happen with fastball pitchers).  But Kit's ball movement seemed to abandon him as he was trying to close the door.  Coach Mason pulled the plug and sent in Aaron McGarity to close the game out.  McGarity's effort was made a bit nerve wracking with some control issues after a smart ground out, strike out combo got the Hokies down to one out for the win.   He walked a batter, hit the next one and then tossed a wild pitch that scored a run.  He managed to regain his composure and control enough to close the door with a swinging strikeout; however.

Virginia Tech Box Score for Game 1

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Jack Owens 3B/2B

4

2

2

0

1

1

0

1

2

Ryan Tufts SS

5

1

3

2

0

1

1

2

0

Tom Stoffel RF

5

1

1

2

0

0

2

0

0

Nick Anderson DH

4

2

2

2

1

0

0

0

0

Sam Fragale 1B

4

0

1

0

1

1

12

0

1

Stevie Mangrum LF

3

0

1

0

0

2

0

0

0

Mac Caples LF

2

1

1

2

0

0

0

0

2

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

3

1

1

0

0

2

7

2

0

Matt Dauby 2B

2

0

1

0

0

0

1

4

1

JD Mundy PH

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

Garrett Hudson 3B

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Rahiem Cooper CF

4

0

0

0

0

1

4

0

1

Packy Naughton P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Kit Scheetz P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Aaron McGarity P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

36

8

13

8

4

8

27

13

7

Doubles: Tufts, Fragale, Dauby

Home Runs: Anderson, Caples

RBI: Tufts (2), Stoffel (2), Anderson (2) Caples (2)

Clutch RBI: Tufts, Stoffel (2), Anderson

Men Left on Base: 7

Game 1 would provide the Hokies with their first 5-0 season start since 1993, but game two would provide another season first; a loss.  The nightcap of the double header would prove to be a frustrating affair for the Hokies as the offense sputtered just a bit, and the pitching had serious issues.

Game 2 Virginia Tech vs Nevada February 24th

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Virginia Tech (5-1)

0

0

2

0

0

1

0

1

0

4

9

1

Nevada (2-4)

0

3

2

0

0

1

0

1

X

7

10

1

Win: Grant Ford (1-1) Loss: Joey Sullivan (0-1)

The built in problem with a double header isn't necessarily the wear and tear on the entire team, as much as it is the stress on the rotation and bullpen along with the pressure on constantly involved players like catchers, shortstops, and second basemen.  It's especially stressful on the bullpen because coaches usually have to reach down deep to field as good a team as possible, knowing that it's not your best one.  One or the other game often has the touch of the ‘Goon Squad' on it.

The Hokies put up a very respectable four runs to keep pace with the Wolf Pack for 8 solid innings which would have resulted in a four to four tie at the end of the 9th.  EXCEPT for that disappointing bottom of the 2nd.  Just like Tech's big 4 run top of the 5th in Game 1 of the Double.  Maybe the bottom of the 9th in the opener should have served as a bit of a warning that tough things were to come.

Joey Sullivan's disappointing second inning started in the first.  He walked a batter who eventually ended up on third.  The inning closed with Sullivan putting up a goose-egg but only by 90 feet.  The die seemed to be cast.  Sullivan gave up a leadoff single, an RBI triple, a walk, an RBI Sac Fly, and finally an RBI double.  Those three runs would prove to be the difference in the game.

Tech would pull within one run in the top of the 3rd on a Jack Owens, Ryan Tufts single, home run combination, but that would be the closest that the Hokies would come.  Every time Tech opened with some offense, it was matched on the next half of the inning by Nevada.  The game would end in a running dog fight but the damage was done in the bottom of the 2nd.

Virginia Tech Box Score for Game 2

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Jack Owens 2B

4

1

3

0

0

1

3

4

0

Ryan Tufts SS

3

1

1

2

1

0

1

2

2

Tom Stoffel RF

4

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

Nick Anderson DH

4

1

2

0

0

1

0

0

1

Sam Fragale 1B

4

0

0

0

0

1

10

1

0

Mac Caples LF

2

0

0

0

0

2

3

0

0

JD Mundy PH

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Stevie Mangrum LF

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Garrett Hudson 3B

4

0

2

1

0

0

0

1

1

Marcus White C

2

0

0

0

0

1

5

1

0

Grant Maiorana PH

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Rahiem Cooper CF

4

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Joey Sullivan P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Paul Hall, Jr. P

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Chris Monaco P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

34

4

9

4

1

9

24

11

7

Doubles: Anderson

Home Runs: Tufts, Stoffel

RBI: Tufts, R. (2); Stoffel, Hudson

Clutch RBI: Tufts (2), Hudson

Men Left on Base: 7

Baseball is just not a sport of domination.  There are only a few times in the last 50 years when a team has gone undefeated for long, and most seasons hover around the .500 mark.  A winning championship level season often never rises above the .625 level.  It's just the nature of the game.  The first Hokie loss was going to come at some time.  It's going to be interesting and telling to see how they deal with this.  .500 road trips are considered to be solid efforts.   There are two more games in this set.  The talk on the broadcast was of the bad weather being predicted for Saturday and Sunday, with the latter being hardest hit.  There seemed to be talk of a second double header, today.

Currently, the schedule still stands for the single games on Saturday and Sunday.  The Mountain West Network is not covering the game for broadcast.  We'll have to watch the live stats and hope for the best.  Tech can still win this series, and even a split would be a good effort.

It is still a super start to the 2017 season with a 5-1 record.

GO HOKIES!!!!