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Virginia Tech Hokies Take Two of Three from FSU ‘Noles

The Weekend of March 17th was supposed to be a wipe out for the Hokies. #1 FSU was coming to English Field (as it becomes Union Park) and the Hokies were not expected to do well. No one seemed to have informed the Hokies of this expectation. Tech wins the series 2-1, and rolls huge on Sunday to close things out with a loud slam.

Baseball on Sunday in Blacksburg
John Schneider - SB Nation

The baseball experts where all sure that the weekend of March 17th would be relative breeze for the number 1 ranked Florida State Seminoles. There was a feeling that Tech was struggling with quality baseball teams, and just wasn’t going to stand up to FSU’s offense, and pitching.

Game 1 looked like a bit better example in a tilt to FSU. There were some interesting cracks in the Seminole armor, however. The Seminole Friday evening win was closer than it looked.

Play Ball! Game 3 Gets Started
John Schneider - SB Nation

Virginia Tech Hokies vs Florida State Seminoles Game 1:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

(1) Florida State (14-5, 3-1)

0

0

0

1

0

4

4

0

0

9

8

0

Virginia Tech (11-9, 1-3)

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

2

6

1

Win: Cole Sands (3-1) Loss: Packy Naughton (1-3)

Even with a slight weather advantage, with the temps in the mid 40’s and the clouds stacking up, the Tech offense didn’t generate much of a push in the first five innings. Packy Naughton managed to keep most of FSU off the bags for that period, only getting a few scattered hits to sneak through the infield. He did get zapped by a solo home run shot by Seminole Catcher Cal Raleigh but generally kept a tight control over the batting. He clocked out the ‘Noles in the top of the 5th, and the quality start stopped in the top of the 6th.

Packy’s control betrayed him in the top of the sixth, walking the leadoff batter, and then giving up a double to put two runners in scoring position and then a single to plate the 2nd run of the inning. FSU played some small ball to push the next run across the plate, and then an RBI triple sored the 4th run of the inning.

Tech looked like they were setting up for a revenge rally in the bottom of the 6th by loading the bases, but only Jack Owens managed to score when the FSU pitcher hit Mac Caples for an RBI-HBP. That was pretty much the story of the game. Pat Mason pulled Packy, put in Graham Seitz who gave up a walk and a single. Then Kit Sheetz gave up a home run that got him replaced by Paul Hall, Jr. That stopped the bleeding, but Tech just never really got off the on the offensive, so the game closed at 9-2.

Scoring a run on Sunday
John Schneider - SB Nation

Virginia Tech Hokie Box Score for March 17th:

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Jack Owens 2B

5

1

1

0

0

0

2

2

1

Ryan Tufts SS

4

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

Tom Stoffel RF

2

0

0

0

2

0

1

0

0

Sam Fragale 1B

3

1

2

0

0

1

8

1

0

JD Mundy DH

2

0

0

1

1

1

0

0

2

Mac Caples LF

3

0

0

1

0

2

1

0

0

Garrett Hudson 3B

4

0

1

0

0

1

0

2

3

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

4

0

2

0

0

1

10

1

0

Rahiem Cooper CF

4

0

0

0

0

3

4

0

1

Packy Naughton P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Graham Seitz P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kit Scheetz P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Paul Hall, Jr. P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Dylan Hall P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

31

2

6

2

3

10

27

8

8

Doubles: Hudson, Freiday

Triples: Fragale

RBI: Mundy, Caples

Men Stranded: 8

Frankly, Saturday’s game (the weather was far worse, and Blacksburg was treated to its first thunderstorm of meteorological spring) looked like it was going to start off pretty much as Friday’s game. Tech did jump out to a two run lead, but before Mother Nature ran the players of the field Hokies’ starting pitcher Andrew McDonald ran into a third inning buzz saw. FSU hammered him with four singles a double and a two-run home run that steam rolled Tech’s early lead.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs Florida State Seminoles Game 2:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

(1) Florida State (14-6, 3-2)

0

0

6

4

0

0

0

0

2

12

11

1

Virginia Tech (12-9, 2-3)

2

0

0

5

0

4

0

2

X

13

13

0

Win: Connor Coward (4-0) Loss: Will Zirzow (1-1) Save: Aaron McGarity (4)

Tech didn’t give up, though. Even with another scoring flurry of four runs off of Hokie Relief Pitcher Joey Sullivan (3 run homer that scored runs put in place by Andrew McDonald. Tech came roaring back in the bottom of the 4th as Mac Caples, and Tom Stoffel both homered and Jack Owens slashed an RBI double. The score at the start of the 90 minute rain delay (more like a lightening delay) was 10-7, that’s a major improvement over the 10-2 for FSU at the start of the inning.

Rahiem Cooper’s Double in Game 3
John Schneider - SB Nation

Connor Coward took the mound, after the break, and tossed two innings of shutout ball. Tech’s offense woke up again in the bottom of the 6th inning. Rahiem Cooper reached on a throwing error as the leadoff. No one cares much about the elegance of getting the critical leadoff on base, and Cooper is always someone who takes advantage of getting on base. Cooper made it to 2nd on a ground ball by Jack Owens, and made it to the plate when Ryan Tufts slapped a single down the 3rd base side, and that was all Cooper needed. Tom Stoffel drew a walk, and then Sam Fragale cleared them off the bags with a solid double. Mac Caples doubled Fragale home, and suddenly Tech found itself in the lead by 1 run 11-10.

Tech added two more very necessary runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. With Joe Freiday hitting a triple to drive in Mac Caples and Grant Maiorana. That insurance was necessary because Florida State mounted a furious rally in the top of the 9th. It might have been the Hokies who were a bit furious. Normally a sure door slam, Aaron McGarity had some control problem and gave up a two run homer that nearly doomed the Hokie comeback. Eventually McGarity would find enough control to get FSU’s JC Flowers to fly out for the final out of the game. Tech evened the series at one game each, and seemed to take a bit of real confidence into Sunday.

Virginia Tech Hokie Box Score for March 18th:

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Jack Owens 2B

5

2

4

1

0

0

3

4

0

Ryan Tufts SS

3

3

2

1

2

0

3

1

1

Tom Stoffel RF

4

2

2

4

1

0

3

0

2

Sam Fragale 1B

4

1

1

2

1

1

3

1

0

Stevie Mangrum DH

2

0

0

1

0

2

0

0

1

JD Mundy PH

2

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

Grant Maiorana PR

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mac Caples LF

3

2

2

2

1

0

2

0

0

Garrett Hudson 3B

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

3

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

4

1

1

2

1

0

8

1

0

Rahiem Cooper CF

5

1

0

0

0

2

4

0

1

Andrew McDonald P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Joey Sullivan P

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Connor Coward P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Aaron McGarity P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

37

13

13

13

6

6

27

8

8

Doubles: Owens (2), Tufts, Fragale, Mundy, Caples

Triples: Freiday

Home Runs: Stoffel, Caples

RBI: Owens, Tufts, Stoffel (4); Fragale, (2), Mangrum, Caples (2), Freiday (2)

Clutch RBI: Owens, Stoffel (3), Caples, Freiday (2)

Sunday’s game was one for the record books for Tech. It might also be one for the books for FSU, though they might not want to remember it. The day was very cool (almost cold) and very breezy. There were some hints of occasional snow flurries, though nothing was too serious. Overall it was a beautiful late Winter/Early Spring Baseball game. The Hokies were loose enough to be practicing their football acumen in the bullpen before the game.

Replace Joey next season, Maybe?
John Schneider - SB Nation

FSU looked more than a bit cold, and a little bit tired. They were really disappointed with the previous night’s game, or so some of the FSU fans in the crowd were mentioning.

The game started quietly enough. Hokies starting pitcher Nick Anderson was delivering solid pitches, quickly, in his usual abbreviated style. His fast ball was accurate and moving, and his breaking stuff was also staying within the strike zone. The first inning was a very impressive ground out and 2 K effort. His second inning gave everyone a little bit of a scare. FSU started with an out in the top of the 2nd, but then loaded the bases with some small ball infield hitting work. That pinch really woke up Nick, though. He induced a popup and a ground out to end the inning without an FSU run scoring.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs Florida State Seminoles Game 3:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

(1) Florida State (14-7, 3-3)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

Virginia Tech (13-9, 3-3)

0

0

1

0

0

10

6

0

X

17

17

0

Win: Nick Anderson (4-1) Loss: Drew Parrish (2-1)

Tech started off the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd with a ringing double off of Rahiem Cooper’s bat, a wild pitch that got him to 3rd base, and then Tom Stoffel rapped an RBI single up the first base side.

The pitchers’ duel really still droned on until the bottom of the 6th. After one time around the Hokie offense seemed to have gotten a gauge on the FSU pitcher’s stuff. Tom Stoffel led off the inning with a double to left field. Well it was more of a blooper that landed out of reach of everyone in a Seminole uniform but it got Stoffel into scoring position. Sam Fragale singled and pushed Stoffel over to 3rd. Runners on the corners with no outs is a dangerous enough condition, but JD Mundy drew a walk and the loaded bases turned a dicey situation into a potential disaster. FSU seemed to avert that by throwing out Tom Stoffel at home plate on a fielder’s choice. The Hokies had other plans for that Seminole disaster, however. Garrett Hudson smashed a single into the outfield that scored both Fragale and Mundy. That seemed to rattle Seminole’s pitcher Drew Parrish, who promptly hit Joe Freiday to reload the bases. Rahiem Cooper stepped up to the plate and smashed a single that scored Mac Caples and reloaded the bases for Jack Owens, who would have to wait for an FSU pitching change; but it didn’t help the Seminoles much. Owens walked (RBI), and the bags remained loaded with Gobblers.

Singling for a start
John Schneider - SB Nation

Ryan Tufts couldn’t resist the ‘Big Mo’ and promptly delivered a 2-RBI double. The score was starting to roll up for the inning, and the tempers were beginning to get a bit frayed on the FSU bench. FSU changed pitchers again, and the FSU meltdown continued with a vengeance. A wild pitch, an RBI Tom Stoffel double, and a rocket 2 run homer blasted by Sam Fragale drove the scoring in the inning up to 10 runs. (The score board doesn’t do double digits so they relayed the 1 and 0). The Hokies kept a foot on the accelerator, remembering their little comeback feat of Saturday evening, but that brought some major gas from the Seminole bench courtesy of their Head Coach. The less said about the entire exchange the better. It should be left with the wisdom of Yogi Berra. "It ain’t ovah ‘til it’s ovah". There was plenty of baseball left and by reputation, FSU could have done what the Hokies did.

Virginia Tech Hokie Box Score for March 19th:

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

PO

A

LOB

Jack Owens 2B/SS

5

2

2

2

1

0

3

4

0

Ryan Tufts SS

4

1

2

2

1

1

2

3

0

Matt Dauby PH/3B

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

3

Tom Stoffel RF/LF

4

1

3

2

0

1

1

0

0

Sam Fragale 1B

6

3

2

3

0

1

10

0

3

JD Mundy DH

4

2

1

3

1

2

0

0

0

Stevie Mangrum PH

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mac Caples LF

3

2

0

0

2

1

1

0

0

Grant Maiorana RF

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Garrett Hudson 3B

4

2

3

2

1

0

0

2

0

Jake Rosen 2B

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Joe Freiday, Jr. C

3

1

0

0

1

1

5

0

3

Marcus White C

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

Rahiem Cooper CF

5

3

4

2

0

1

3

0

0

Nick Anderson P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Kit Scheetz P

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

41

17

17

16

7

10

27

10

10

Doubles: Owens, Tufts, Stoffel (2), Cooper

Home Runs: Fragale, Mundy

RBI: Owens (2), Tufts (2), Stoffel (2), Fragale (3), Mundy (3), Hudson (2), Cooper (2)

Without belaboring the rest of the game, Tech batted around to 14 in the 6th, and repeated a full bat around in the 7th. FSU would only occasionally challenge Nick Anderson (1 single, and a walk), who finished the game with an absolutely sterling 5 hit, 5 strikeout, 8-inning shutout. Kit Sheetz closed the door after a leadoff walk, and Tech spilled out onto the field with a subdued but joyous celebration.

Talking up the big win, and the series victory.
John Schneider - SB Nation

William and Mary visits English Field for the 2nd game in the extended exchange on the 21st. First pitch is at 5:30 PM. Saturday the team heads off to Pittsburgh for a three game weekend ACC matchup. It’s a really important set. Before this past weekend, Tech was 1-2 in ACC play. Today, the Hokies are at .500 with 3 wins and 3 losses.

GO HOKIES!!!!

The End of the Game and some measure of redemption
John Schneider - SB Nation