After a convincing win in the home opener against an undefeated ETSU the Hokies headed to Lafayette, Lousiana to take on the Ragin’ Cajuns for their first three game series of the season.
Game 1 - Louisiana-Lafayette
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Lousiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns - Game 1
Chris Gerard (L, 0-1) started for the Hokies, and pitched and absolute gem. His 7 inning effort resulted in a a grand total of 3 hits and one walk and 12 KOs. Unfortunately the fumbles bit the Hokies in the 5th inning allowing 2 unearned runs on those few Ragun’ Cajuns on base. Hokie relievers Jaison Heard and Peyton Alford both managed to keep Louisiana from crossing the plate, but the 2 unearned runs were enough to nab a 2 run win for Louisiana. Unfortunately the Hokies seem to have sent their bats to New Orleans to party for the game day. Tech’s three hits didn’t do much in the way of getting anyone across the plate.
Game 2 - Louisiana-Lafayette
The next game, on the 22nd, the Hokie bats seemed to begin the effort to trickle back into the racks of their dugout. It was a close game, and starting pitcher Anthony Simonelli (1-1) grabbed his first win of the season with a nice 5 inning 5 hit and one run (unearned) session. It seems that Coach Szefc used the quick jump lead to exercise his bull pen because nearly every reliever had a trip to the mound after Simonelli came to the bench. Peyton Alford (S, 1) ended up with the critical save, after Louisiana tightened the contest to 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragun’ Cajuns - Game 2
Offensively the Hokies really didn’t pull off an all-star effort. But enough runs did cross the plate two in a weird scramble in the 1st inning where Nick Biddison and Kevin Madden teamed up to cross the plate to jump out to a scrambling error assisted 2 run lead. Then Carson Taylor added the critical game winning run in the 6th. He had doubled, but things were stalling out a bit until he worked his way over to third base, and scored on a wild pitch. Sometimes, in baseball, the sticks don’t win it... carelessness loses it. Tech benefited from some carelessness on the part of Louisiana.
Game 3 - Louisiana-Lafayette
The rubber game of the series, on Sunday February 23rd was the first time this season that the Hokies had a chance to walk out with a winning record for the three game set. Games 1 and 2 were pitcher and fielder contests were runs were few, and often unearned. Tech started Ian Seymour (2-0) on the mound, and the results from him were the usual... excellent. Seymour threw a full 6 inning shutout effort with only 2 hits, and one walk. Along with the low hit count, also came a nice 11 strikeout number and a 0 ERA for the game. Hokie relievers Henry Weycker and Nathan Starliper (S, 1) combined to close the door on a complete shutout for the Hokie pitching staff.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragun’ Cajuns - Game 3
The offense, again sort of sputtered a bit. The Hokies did manufacture three runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. The big hits came from Kevin Madden, Tanner Thomas, and Reagan Teegarden who each notched doubles. Thomas was also credited with a sacrifice on his RBI grounder, and Carson Jones pushed a sac fly deep enough to score Spencer Palmer for the first run of the game. Even with the offense struggling a bit, the pitching was the star of the series. The difference was the team that took advantage of their opponents errors, and that’s baseball, sometimes.
Radford Highlanders - Game 1 (we’ll see them again at some point)
The game was supposed to be played at Radford, but something in the schedule changed, and the Hokies came back home to Blacksburg. The game was played on the north side of Prices Fork Road. This has always been a tough match up. Radford is near and dear to most hearts at Virginia Tech. There are lots of Radford best friends, lots of Radford spouses, and come football season lots of Radford Highlanders rooting for the Hokies. But when it comes to baseball, softball, and basketball, our dear friends down Prices Fork and Peppers Ferry roads... well it’s a different energy. This season and last it doesn’t help that former Hokie First Baseman JD Mundy is playing for the Highlanders, and he gave us fits, again on the 25th.
Coach Szefc started Ryan Okuda on the mound. Okuda pitched a credible 1 run 3 hit, four inning effort. Unfortunately for him, the single run (at the hands of an RBI double by JD Mundy) put him in the potential losing pitcher category. The top of the 4th would prove the last time that the Highlanders crossed the plate, however. Coach Szefc used five pitchers in the game, the winner ended up being Peyton Alford (W, 1-0) as the Hokies bats came alive in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Radford Highlanders - Game 1
On the offensive side of the ball, both teams were relatively quiet until someone pushed some sort of button during the 7th inning stretch. The Hokies seemed to wake up a bit, and go about manufacturing the three very critical runs to go ahead and give themselves enough of a buffer to hold out for the eventual win. Reagan Teegarden managed to connect with a pitch for a double that scored DH Jonah Seagears to tie up the game. Then Freshman Shortstop Fritz Genther slapped a solid single to right field scoring Teegarden to take the lead. Later, with the bases loaded catcher Carson Taylor worked an RBI walk that scored Genther. This was Genther’s first collegiate RBI, and his first winning run scored.
Tech would go on to hold off a Radford rally attempt in the top of the 8th. Zach Brzykcy took the mound and closed the door in the top of the 9th to notch his first save of the season and seal the win.
So, the Hokies have a 3 game winning streak going with Bryant coming to Atlantic Union Park for the weekend. We’ll see if we can get over to the game on Sunday, weather permitting, and get some pictures. Hopefully the weather report stays accurate.
Keep checking back every Wednesday for the regular report, and we’ll work on getting some special games up when circumstances allow.