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The Virginia Tech Hokies Baseball Team Struggles to Close Games

This past weekend at Chestnut Hill and again this evening against the Liberty Flames at home in Blacksburg has not panned out as well as had been hoped. Tech dropped 3 of 4. The issues with relief pitching and errors keep showing up.

Striking out is just one problem
John Schneider - SB Nation

This weekend’s trip to Boston was performed just in front of a major snow storm that hit the Blacksburg area and threatened the Boston vicinity enough that the 2nd and 3rd games were played in a Saturday double header. Maybe it was fortuitous since DH’s are usually split.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Boston College Eagles: Game 1

Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R E
Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R E
Virginia Tech (9-11, 3-4) 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 4 1
Boston College (8-11, 3-4) 0 0 3 0 0 0 4 0 X 7 0
W: Sean Hughes (1-0)
L: Andrew McDonald (1-2)
SV: Thomas Lane (2)
A four run blown save Hokie Sports

The first game on Friday looked like a first rate baseball fight between Hokie starter Connor Coward and the Boston College lineup. Coward lasted six innings and one batter into the 7th. He walked the first batter and was pulled off the mound with 100 pitches up for his efforts, and only 3 earned runs crossing the plate. His 4th charged earned run came from that walk after the total 4 run meltdown by Andrew McDonald and Nic Enright allowed BC to rally four runs across the plate and then their bull pen did what ours can’t seem to do, shut the opposing batters down.

Hokie Pitching Grid from Game 1 at BC

Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR BF PC-ST
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR BF PC-ST
Connor Coward 6 3 4 4 4 5 0 25 100-58
Andrew McDonald (L, 1-2) 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 2 7-2
Nic Enright 1 1 2 1 2 1 0 5 32-19
Joey Sullivan 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 12-7
Totals 8 4 7 6 7 8 0 35 151-86
Relief doesn’t hold up Hokie Sports

The opening game of the Saturday Double Header started off with a serious pitcher’s duel. Ian Seymour gave up two solo home runs during a tough stretch in the bottom of the 3rd, but that was that. Those two runs were all that he gave up, earned or otherwise until he was pulled after the 7th inning.

Hokies vs. BC: Game 2 (Game 1 of the Double Header)

Teams/Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Teams/Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Virginia Tech (9-12, 3-5) 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 3 0
Boston College (9-11, 4-4) 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 6 8 0
W: Joey Walsh (1-0)
L: Andrew McDonald (1-3)
Another blown opportunity. Hokie Sports

He was still behind 1 to 2, but he had kept the Hokies in the game, and it was up to the offense and the bull pen to nab a first game win. It seemed like that might happen as Graham Seitz put up a goose egg for the bottom of the 8th.

The Hokie offense sort of stumbled into loaded bases, and then Darion Jacoby worked an RBI walk to tie the game. Those loaded bases unfortunately came with 2 outs on the board so the rally ended when Nick Menken flied out. There was hope for extra innings, and then Andrew McDonald loaded the bases and was victimized by a BC walk-off grand salami.

Pitching Grid for the Hokies in Game 2 of the BC Series

Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR BF PC-ST
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR BF PC-ST
Ian Seymour 7.0 6 2 2 1 8 2 27 103-64
Graham Seitz 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 5 19-9
Andrew McDonald (L, 1-3) 0.2 1 4 4 2 1 1 6 21-8
Totals 8.0 8 6 6 4 10 3 38 143-81
Grand Salami Walk off for the Eagles Hokie Sports

The second game of the BC Double Header was a bit of a pleasant surprise as the Hokies jumped out to a two run lead in the opening frame courtesy of a two run shot by Luke Horanski. The surprise is the pitch by committee approach usually employed in mid week single games worked out pretty well for the 2nd game of the DH.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs Boston College Eagles Game 3 (Game 2 of the Double Header)

Teams/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Teams/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Virginia Tech (10-12, 4-5) 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 5 6 1
Boston College (9-12, 4-5) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 11 0
W: Luke Scherzer (1-1)
L: Brian Rapp (2-2)
SV: Graham Seitz (1)
Pitching by committee and winning for a change Hokie Sports

Sam Fragale’s 2 run tater added to the run total in the top of the 4th inning while the committee kept the BC run total to a goose egg. Jack Owens added a touch of insurance in the top of the 7th by singling Joe Freiday, Jr. home.

Home Runs: Horanski; Fragale

RBI: Owens, J.; Horanski (2); Fragale (2)

Hokie Pitching in Game 3 of the BC Series

Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR BF PC-ST
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR BF PC-ST
Luke Scherzer (W, 1-1) 3.0 3 0 0 0 2 0 11 42-26
Joey Sullivan 2.2 3 0 0 1 3 0 11 37-24
Nic Enright 2.0 4 2 2 1 3 0 11 53-35
Graham Seitz (S, 1) 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 5 22-17
Totals 9.0 11 2 2 2 9 0 38 154-102
The committe gets the win Hokie Sports

The Eagles tried to rally on Nic Enright for 2 runs, but Graham Seitz took the mound to close out the bottom of the 8th and notch the 0 for the win in the bottom of the 9th. This ended the weekend of frustration in New England, but more annoying happenings and a fatal error would plague the Tuesday game with the visiting Liberty Flames.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Liberty Flames

Teams/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Teams/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Liberty 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 9 0
Virginia Tech 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 3
W: Garret Price (3-1)
L: Andrew McDonald (1-3)
A Painful home losss Hokie Sports

Dylan Hall started for the Hokies and his 2 and 2/3rds innings didn’t fare as well as he would have wanted. The Flames scored one run in each of the first three innings, and Hall was finally pulled for Freshman Ryan Okuda. That proved to be an interesting choice. Okuda pitched an outstanding 4 and 1/3rd innings that included for KO’s and just one hit. The most important factor was the 0 in his run total. Joey Sullivan and Graham Seitz followed Okuda with no runs scored (though Seitz struggled a bit and was pulled after 1/3rd of an inning). Andrew McDonald took the mound to close out the game for the top of the 10th since the game was tied at 3 apiece. He got an immediate ground out, and then McDonald’s luck folded. Substitute shortstop Nick Owens seemed to have some difficulty getting off a good throw to JD Mundy at first base, from the hole. It should have been a routine 6-3 out, but Owens’s throw short hopped Mundy, and traveled far enough to allow Liberty to claim a “Little League Triple”. It didn’t take much more to drive home that run from third, and the Hokie bats had pretty much fallen silent. The bottom of the 10th ended in a non-dramatic wimper and the Hokies owned a 1-3 record for the prior 4 games.

NC State is coming to English Field at Union Park (still unfinished) this weekend. We’ll see how things hold up.

GO HOKIES!!!!