It’s Wednesday in the early part of the season and that means it’s baseball wrap-up time. The Hokies are still down in Florida playing the Stetson Tournament and have managed a winning series .600 split with two wins against Central Michigan. There are some interesting highlights (and accompanying lowlights) to review.
Game One: #19 Stetson Hatters
The first game on Friday evening at 7:00 was a classic pitchers’ duel with the Hokies’ Connor Coward on the mound. The opponent was the hosting 19th Ranked Stetson Hatters. It ended in a frustrating 1-2 loss in 8 ½ innings of offensive futility. First, this has to be noted and commended; Connor Coward pitched an absolute gem. He threw the first complete game in recent Hokie memory. He did that while throwing a miserly (for a complete game) 109 pitches, and scattered 5 hits and 3 walks across the outing. That’s just incredible for college level pitching.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Stetson Hatters
|Virginia Tech (3-6)||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||0||2||10||1|
|(19) Stetson (7-1)||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||X||2||5||0||3||8||1|
|W: Logan Gilbert (2-0)|
|L: Connor Coward (0-1)|
|SV: Brooks Wilson (4)|
Connor deserves to be a bit upset at his offense, though. You see if Coward pitched an absolute gem, the Stetson pitcher, Logan Gilbert; produced a platinum set engagement ring. He didn’t throw a complete game, but put up 8 brilliant 2 hit 1 run innings which were then closed out by a shutdown save. When you see excellence you just have to not it. The Virginia Tech offense just couldn’t find their bats.
Hokies vs Hatters Pitching Chart
|Connor Coward (L, 0-1)||8||5||2||2||3||6||1||109-65|
Game Two: Purdue Boilermakers
The offense forgot its bats in the tournament opener, but found them in the clubhouse over by the empty water jugs and boxes of bubble gum for the second. The Hokies managed to score five runs against Purdue, and that usually is good enough to win a baseball game. Unfortunately when they found the bats, the pitching looks like it headed for the beach for some sun, and left some other guys to toss fat ones to the Boilermakers.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Purdue Boilermakers
|Virginia Tech (3-7)||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||3||5||12||1||3||8||1|
|W: ANDREWS, Tanner (2-0)|
|L: Ian Seymour (1-1)|
Ian Seymour started off with a reasonable first three innings, giving up only one unearned run in the top of the 2nd. Unfortunately, the Boilermaker offense found the range on Ian, and the balls started flying out deep into double territory. Add in a couple of walks that ended up loading the bases, and the final double of the inning eventually drove the Purdue run count to 5.
Tech’s Offense didn’t get rolling until the bottom of the 6th, but didn’t get anything close to the multiple run rally needed to help close the gap. The bigger problem became the frying pan to fire effect of having to go to the shaky Hokie bullpen so early in the game. It seemed like half the reliever staff made an appearance on the mound, and no one actually seemed to be able to keep the Boilermakers from crossing the plate. Purdue rallied for 4 in the 7th, and then 3 in the 9th to pretty much close the door. Tech’s lonely run in the bottom o fth 7th and a 3 run flurry in the bottom of the 9th were just not enough.
The Hokies’ Pitching Chart for Game 2.
|Ian Seymour (L, 1-1)||5||6||5||4||2||3||0||66-47|
Offensively, the Hokies didn’t look terrible, but it’s nearly impossible to cover an opponent’s 12 runs.
RBI: Odachowski; Fragale, S. (2); Irvine, C.
Men Left Standing on the Bags: 11
Sometimes you just have those sorts of games when not much is working on one side of the ball. Tech suffered two of those in a row.
Game Three: Central Michigan
The Central Michigan Game looked for all the world like the previous outing where the pitching broke down early and gave up critical runs, and the bull pen was called into action way too early in the game. The results couldn’t have been more different, however.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Central Michigan Chippewas
|Virginia Tech (4-7)||0||0||0||1||1||1||0||0||1||4||12||0||2||10||1|
|Central Michigan (2-8-1)||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||6||2||3||8||1|
|W: Nic Enright (1-1)|
|L: BROWN, Cameron (1-1)|
|SV: Andrew McDonald (1)|
Dylan Hall’s early success followed in the path of Ian Seymour the prior day. Central Michigan found the range, and rallied for three runs in the inning. Hall was pulled after giving up a double, an RBI single, and after a strikeout, another RBI single. With one out and men still on the bags, the Hokie coaching staff pulled the plug. Graham Seitz was sent in to stop the bleeding. That happened but not before the final run for the inning crossed the plate. (The run was charged to Hall.)
The Hokies got off the schneid with a series of singles by Stoffel, Irvine, and Menken getting plonked. That loaded the bases and set Sam Fragale up with a contact play that netted him an RBI, and scored Stoffel who’d been pushed along to 3rd. No, it wasn’t a rally, but it was some blood flowing.
Nic Enright came in to “restart” for some long relief, and proceeded to throw a one hit no run 4 2/3rds inning session that set the Hokies up for some offensive breathing room. Tech nibbled away at that 2 run lead with a manufactured run in the 5th with Jack Owens rapping a single, and stealing a base. Tom Stoffel punched a double down the left field line, and that scored Owens.
Sam Fragale opened the Hokie half of the 6th by jumping on a 2-0 fat one for a triple. Joe Freiday drove him in with a sacrifice fly, and the Hokies had the tying run across the plate. It wasn’t a rally, but it was a brand new ball game for the last third. Nic Enright’s great pitching held out until he was finally pulled in the bottom of the 9th with Nick Anderson doing the honors of the grabbing the save.
Tech Pitching for the first Chippewa game
|Nic Enright (W, 1-1)||4.2||1||0||0||0||7||0||63-41|
|Andrew McDonald (S, 1)||1.0||1||0||0||0||2||0||17-11|
Nick got the save because some familiar names in a clutch situation manged to push one run past the dish. Darion Jacoby legged out an infield single. Then he stole second base. The Chippewa’s catcher tossed the ball into center field and Jacoby didn’t stop until he was standing on third. Jack Owens struck out, but Nick Owens got smacked by the ball. So, it was every little kid batter’s dream shot, Tom Stoffel stood at the plate with an opportunity to put the go ahead run on the board. He jumped on the first pitch and singled right back up the middle to score Jacoby from third.
RBI: Stoffel (2); Fragale; Freiday
Clutch RBI: Stoffel (2)
Sac Flies: Freiday, Jr.
Stolen Bases: Owens; Jacoby
That’s all Mr. Anderson needed, and the door slammed shut on Tech’s first win of the tournament.
Game Four: Wagner
Well, sometimes the offense does, indeed show up, and for the Wagner game the Hokies found their premium bat stash. Wagner scored pretty feverishly near the end, but that 11 run deficit in the 9th was too much for any team. It was just garbage time and Yogi took a break from prophecy around the 6th inning.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Wagner Seahawks
|Jack Owens 2B||4||4||3||2||2||0|
|Nick Owens SS||4||3||4||2||0||0|
|Jojo Odachowski PH/SS||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tom Stoffel LF||5||3||2||2||0||1|
|Zach Kokoska PH/CF||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Sam Fragale 3B||5||1||1||4||0||0|
|Luke Horanski C||1||2||0||0||1||1|
|Joe Freiday, Jr. C||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Cam Irvine RF||5||2||4||2||0||0|
|Stevie Mangrum RF||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Nick Menken CF||5||1||1||2||0||2|
|Brian Sisson LF||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|JD Mundy 1B||4||0||1||2||0||1|
|Michael Fernandez DH||5||2||2||0||0||1|
|Ryan Okuda P||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ryan Metz P||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Paul Hall, Jr. P||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Grant Squyars P||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Here are the offensive totals the action was furious and the balls were flying for the Hokies including a homer for Sam Fragale who also managed 4 RBI:
Doubles: Owens, J.; Owens, N.; Irvine (2); Fernandez
HR: Fragale, S.
RBI: Owens, J. (2); Owens, N. (2); Stoffel (2); Fragale (4); Irvine (2); Menken (2); Mundy (2)
The Hokies played some satisfying offense and set the stage for the 2nd game with the Central Michigan Chippewas this afternoon.
Game 5: Central Michigan Chippewas (2)
This game was one of those that go in the record books as a total team effort, because it’s two more games than a regular season series goes. Five games in a row isn’t really super difficult for position players, but it sure wears on the pitching staff. It looks like Coach Szefc decided to go with the pitching by committee method. It would be a mix of long and short relief all the way through the fame. I heard someone in the distant past call it a bullpen game.. Not sure who, but I’ve listened to and watched an awful lot of baseball in my 59 years. So maybe I named it. Who knows? It was a “Bullpen Game” from the start.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Game 2
|Central Michigan (2-10-1)||0||0||0||0||0||4||0||0||0||4||7||4||2||10||1|
|Virginia Tech (6-7)||0||0||2||0||1||4||0||0||X||7||7||0||3||8||1|
|W: Graham Seitz (2-0)|
|L: COLE, Dazon (0-3)|
|SV: Andrew McDonald (2)|
Coach Szefc started Luke Scherzer. Luke’s had terrible luck with elbow ligament damage, and is looking to have some really quality outings this season. His one inning outing today netted him a goose-egg and 2 KO’s.
Both offenses sputtered through the first three innings. Scherzer’s clean slate was quickly followed by Dylan Hall’s 2 runless innings. He did have to work himself out of a little jam in the 3rd after he gave up a couple of singles. He managed to get the Chippewas to ground into a double play before anything turned sour.
The Hokies broke the scoring ice when JD Mundy dropped a tater over the left centerfield fence in the bottom of the 3rd. The Hokies weren’t done, though. Lead off homers need to be followed up, and Tech took advantage of some control problems by Central Michigan’s Cole Diaz. He hit Jack Owens, and then was victimized by some fielding and throwing errors by his catcher. Owens crossed the plate the old fashioned way; on a throwing error after he advanced on a passed ball and stolen base. Diaz didn’t eat the run, but crossing the dish still shows up on the scoreboard.
For the 4th, Joey Sullivan stepped up to the rubber and managed a solid three up / three down with a strikeout, a ground out, and a pop out. He answered that one with a nice repeat 3 and 3 in the Central Michigan half of the 5th.
The Hokies added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Joe Freiday, Jr. hammered a triple into left field and Jack Owens hit a sacrifice fly to get Freiday across the plate. The Hokies took a three run lead into the top of the 6th, and Joey’s luck fled the field. The Chips lead-off ground out looked promising, but the follow up single and 6 pitch walk put two on the bases. Joey was pulled before there could be too much more trouble developed, but that didn’t work out so well. Graham Seitz struggled more than a bit, giving up a bunt single to load the bases, and then a double to score the Chips first two runs. After a strike out, Seitz was tagged for a two RBI single, before he managed to strike out the last Chippewa batter of the inning. Unfortunately, the Hokies found themselves behind for the first time in the game, and Seitz was on the hook for the potential loss.
That seemed to get the Hokie offense stirring more than a bit. Maybe a couple of outings where they didn’t pick up their pitching staff had some effect. Sam Fragale lead off the Hokie half of the 6th with a single. Luke Horanski followed Fragale with another single. That put Sam in scoring position. Right Fielder Cam Irvine hit a deep fly ball that was far enough to advance Fragale to third base. Nick Menken then singled Fragale home and pushed Horanski all the way to 3rd base. JD Mundy, who’s hot bat for the game was a critical factor, doubled Horanski home, and pushed Menken to third. Joe Freiday reached on a fielding error, which then sent both Horanski and Mundy across home plate for the 3rd and 4th runs of the inning.
The Hokie offense was very efficient even though it was a bit sporadic. A win is a win, and picking up your pitching staff is a morale builder.
RBI: Owens, J.; Menken; Mundy (2);Freiday
Sacrifice Flies: Owens, J
Swiped Bags: Owens, J. (2)
Stranded: only 3
Here is the Hokie Bullpen Game pitching chart:
Hokie Pitching for Their Final Game of the Stetson Tournament
|Graham Seitz (W, 2-0)||2.0||3||2||2||0||2||0||28-22|
|Andrew McDonald (S, 2)||1.2||1||0||0||0||2||0||27-18|
That was all the Hokies needed. Seitz and Andrew McDonald locked down the rest of the game, and the Hokies were on their way to the airport a bit early with their 2nd win over Central Michigan and a three win streak in place for the ACC Opener against Pitt on March 9th. Hokie Sports has posted time changes for the games.