After a 4-0 start to the 2019 campaign, Virginia Tech Baseball took the field this past weekend, looking to continue their winning ways. A three-game set with UNC-Greensboro awaited the Hokies, whose strong pitching has been a catalyst throughout the young season thus far.
After a Saturday cancellation due to weather, there was some reshuffling of the schedule. The three-game series with the Spartans was shortened to two, with games scheduled for Sunday and Monday. The Hokies then took on local rival Radford in an absolutely wild game. Here’s the recap of the now 7-0 Hokies, who are off to their best start since 1987.
Game 1 - UNC-Greensboro
Sunday afternoon, sophomore Ian Seymour took the mound for the Hokies in the first game of the series, and was phenomenal once again. Seymour went five strong innings, giving up one earned run on five hits, and added three strikeouts in the process. While Seymour (2-0) continued to build on a 2017 season that earned him ACC All-Freshman Team honors, he had plenty of run support in his second outing of the campaign.
The Hokies were powered by a balanced offensive attack up-and-down the lineup, led by R-Sr. Luke Horanski, who homered for the second time on the season and drove in five runs on the day. By the time Seymour exited prior to the 6th inning, the Hokies led 12-1. They eventually won 12-4, moving to 5-0 on the season.
Through five games, the Hokies had scored in every single opening frame, outscoring opponents 19-1 overall in the first inning on the season.
Game 2 - UNC-Greensboro
In series finale against UNC-Greensboro on Monday afternoon, the Hokies had to grind one out.
For the first time all season, the Hokies failed to score in the first inning, and through 4.5 innings trailed UNC-Greensboro 1-0. Luke Horanski broke the scoring seal once again for Virginia Tech, driving in Nick Owens on an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game 1-1. Kerry Carpenter continued his hot start to the season with a solo home run in the seventh, which proved to be the decisive run in the ball game as the Hokies swept the Spartans on the weekend with their 2-1 victory in the series finale.
Monday was a pitching-by-committee effort, but all three pitchers were excellent for the Hokies. Chris Gerard gave up one run (it was unearned) on seven hits in 4 1⁄3 innings, while Jack Dellinger (1-0) and Zach Brzykcy (S,2) combined for 4 2⁄3 of two-hit ball for the win and the save respectively.
The Tuesday Tilt Against Radford
Radford isn’t too shabby at baseball.
Luke Scherzer found that out the hard way, after giving up a three-run blast to Radford’s Matt Roth in the second inning. Scherzer would leave the game after just 1 1⁄3 innings pitched, leading to another pitching-by-committee afternoon for Virginia Tech. Nathan Starliper, Peyton Alford, Nolan Wilson, and Zach Brzykcy all entered the game to pitch on Tuesday with varying levels of success. In total, the Hokies gave up 7 earned runs on the day, which was by far the least impressive effort of the season by the pitching staff. Luckily for that group, the offense picked them up.
It was a total team effort on Tuesday.
Kerry Carpenter went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI, Jack Owens, Carson Taylor, and Jonah Seagears drove in a run each, and Luke Horanski blasted a one on, one out game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to propel the Hokies to an 8-7 victory and snag victory from the jaws of defeat.
At 7-0 on the season, the Hokies are off to their best start since 1987 when they started the year 8-0. The Hokies are also 3-0 in one-run games this season, which is a strong indicator of how gritty some of these wins have been in the early going for the Hokies.
Tech returns to action on Friday at English Field, as they open up a three-game weekend series with the Bryant Bulldogs. First pitch is slated for 3 PM.