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Virginia Tech Hokies Lose Their First ACC Series 1 - 2 to Florida State

Ugh. In the great sine curve of baseball, You eventually cross the 0 coordinate and things just want to head to the negative side for a while. Let’s hope this is a short visit. The Hokies drop game one in a close one, win a shutout in game two, but then stumble out of the gate and never recover for game three.

ACC Baseball Tech’s first Series Loss - tough one
John Schneider - SB Nation

There is a great sine curve undulating through the thought of baseball. It pulses from the positive to the negative (amplitude varies) but there is nearly always a pulse up and a pulse down with a cross through 0, which in baseball terms is .500. Right now the Hokies are on the winning side of the sine curve with the starting wave nicely in positive territory. Maybe the VCU matchup changed the dynamic and marked the peak of the positive side of the curve. It’s hard to tell in just a few games, but with college baseball (a very long season for collegiate sports, but very short for baseball) a trip below 0 might mean the difference between making post season, and just making due.

Florida State wasn’t going to be a cupcake series, but it wasn’t supposed to put a dent in the positive climb of Tech’s win/loss sine curve. Maybe that second game of the VCU series had more than a negative pull on the pulse. It did show that there are some new player jitters and experience issues in the bull pen. Maybe there was a hint at some of the position player fielding issues that crop up occasionally, but those things proceed along their own cosine curves. They can cooperate or clash, and when they clash, disappointment follows.

Game 1 - Virginia Tech Hokies - 4 Florida State Seminoles - 6

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Florida State Seminoles: Game 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 1 6 9 2
2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 11 2
After a blazing start the Hokies lose control Hokie Sports

Game one should have been a win to launch the series. It should have been because starting pitcher Peyton Alford was absolutely lights out for 5 and 1/3rd innings. He was near perfection on the mound, pocketing 10 strikeouts, and holding FSU to exactly 2 inconsequential hits. Their only other good contact was a few scattered fly balls. Then something happened in the top of the 6th. With the Hokies ahead 3 - 0 and a foul out in the pocket, FSU’s Jackson Greene Alford him for a single. This shouldn’t have been an issue, but the pitch count was mounting, and Alford hit the next batter, putting 2 on with one out and a tight game - with not a whole lot of offense going on for Tech. After a fly out that advanced the lead runner to third base, there was hope to get out of the inning with 2 outs up. That didn’t happen. The next FSU batter, Robby Martin, stroked a single into left field plating the runner and breaking the ice - and Alford’s stint on the mound. Jaison Heard came in and struck out the final batter, but the damage was done. FSU had broken into Tech’s problematic bull pen, and keeping them off the bases was suddenly going to be very difficult.

Tech’s Pitching Chart for Game 1

Pitcher Innings Pitched Hits Runs Earned Walks Srikeouts Wild Pitches Plonks
Pitcher Innings Pitched Hits Runs Earned Walks Srikeouts Wild Pitches Plonks
Peyton Alford 5.2 3 1 1 0 10 0 1
Jaison Heard 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Shane Connolly (L, 0-1) 1.2 4 4 3 1 3 2 1
Noah Johnson 0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
TOTALS 9 6 5 2 15 2 2
Tech Relievers are struggling John Schneider - SB Nation

Tech reliever Shane Connolly ended up surrendering four runs that weren’t totally on him considering some errors playing into the 8th inning, but the breakdown allowed FSU to pass Tech’s three runs, and helped to keep them just ahead of the Hokies as they tried to rally up in the bottom of the 8th. The one point game turned into a two point game in the top of the 9th, and Tech’s attempts to get something going in their half, didn’t happen with two players left on base. The game would end on a fly out.

Some Highlight Lines from Game 1:

OFFENSE

Two Bags: Tanner Schobel (1); Jonah Seagears (1); Tanner Thomas (1)

Dingers: Gavin Cross (1); Kevin Madden (1)

Out but with an RBI: Fritz Genther (1)

ON THE BAGS

Swipes: Jack Hurley (1)

DEFENSE

OOPSIES: TJ Rumfield (1); Jaison Heard (1)

Game 2 - Virginia Tech Hokies - 5 Florida State Seminoles - 0

Okay, sine curves, remember... big ones, small ones... and we go back to a big momentum boosting bump up shutout. Starting Pitcher Chris Gerard wasn’t lights out light Alford’s start, but wow, was he good.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Florida State Seminoles: Game 2

Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Florida State 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
>>Virginia Tech 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 X 5 4 0
Lights out with good scoring. Game won Hokie Sports

Gerard pitched a 7 full inning, two hit, no run masterpiece that was complimented by a 2 inning shutdown close for Matthew Siverling. (Graham Firoved pitched against one batter and hit him, so was pulled).

Hokie Pitching was amazing in Game 2

Pitcher Innings Pitched Hits Runs Walks Srikeouts Wild Pitches Plonks
Pitcher Innings Pitched Hits Runs Walks Srikeouts Wild Pitches Plonks
Chris Gerard (W, 2-1) 7 2 0 2 8 0 1
Graham Firoved 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Matthew Siverling 2 1 0 1 2 0 0
TOTALS 3 0 3 10 0 2
7 innings for Gerard - Goose Eggs all around Hokie Sports

There certainly was a good deal of offense going on, but with the pitching from game 2, there wasn’t a ton of need for more than one or two runs. The Hokie offense did manage a good steady scoring pulse through the game with one run in each of the 1st and 2nd innings, and an nice 3 run rally to help to close the door in the bottom of the 5th. It wasn’t overwhelming but it was a good solid offensive performance, again.

Hokie Lineup Stats for Game 2

Player Up Runs Hits RBI Walks Ks Stranded
Player Up Runs Hits RBI Walks Ks Stranded
Jack Hurley 5 2 1 1 0 1 1
Gavin Cross 2 1 1 0 0 1 0
TJ Rumfield 3 1 1 0 1 0 0
Tanner Schobel 3 0 0 2 1 1 0
Kevin Madden 3 0 0 0 0 0 1
Jonah Seagears 2 0 0 0 0 1 2
Carson Jones 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
Tanner Thomas 3 0 0 0 1 3 1
Cade Hunter 3 0 0 0 0 2 0
Fritz Genther 4 1 1 0 0 1 1
TOTALS 29 5 4 4 3 10 8
Hokie Sports

Perhaps the low light of the game for FSU was some fielding and pitching problems. The Seminoles managed to hit 4 batters, with 2 plonks on Gavin Cross. That’s four free bases, and some sore (in more ways than one) players.

Hokie Highlights for Game 2:

OFFENSE

Two Bags: TJ Rumfield (1); Fritz Genther (1)

Dingers: Jack Hurley (1)

Out but with an RBI: Carson Jones (1)

ON THE BAGS
Swipes: Fritz Genther (1)
DEFENSE

OOPSIES: NONE-YES!!!

Plonked: Gavin Cross (2); Kevin Madden (1); Cade Hunter (1)

Game 3 - Virginia Tech Hokies - 7 Florida State Seminoles - 14

I had a feeling, today. I saw Ryan Metz up on the mound. It’s not personal, but this season has been a tough one for Ryan (ERA was 6.35 at the beginning of the game, 8.53 after). He’s also a reliever, which immediately concerned me. The Hokies weren’t going with a starting pitcher for the rubber game of the series, and Metz would normally be one of a number of a mid week pitch-by-committee rotation if he was starting. He only lasted 2/3rds of the 1st inning, and gave up 2 home runs along to go with the 2 unearned runs that resulted from a fielding error that might have ended their FSU 1st inning rally.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Florida State Seminoles: Game 3

Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Team/Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
>>Florida State 4 0 0 3 0 1 2 0 4 14 18 3
Virginia Tech 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 4 7 10 3
Not a good defensive game by the Hokies Hokie Sports

Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. Today, the bear got the turkey. The fielding errors are always a problem, but when the cosine curve of fielding, the tangent curve of pitching, and the sine curve of team winning all slide past the origin into negative territory, the cotangent curve of offense on the upswing is just not able to balance the load. The Hokies managed 7 runs of offense, which given a normal game would be tonic. It just wasn’t a normal game, and the tonic was flat and there was no ice, either.

Take a look at the offensive lineup chart, it wasn’t really bad. It just never caught up with FSU’s.

Hokie Lineup Stats for Game 3

Player Up Runs Hits RBI Walks Ks Stranded
Player Up Runs Hits RBI Walks Ks Stranded
Jack Hurley 3 1 0 0 1 2 2
Gavin Cross 2 1 2 3 1 0 0
Gehrig Ebel 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
TJ Rumfield 5 1 2 0 0 0 0
Tanner Schobel 4 0 0 0 0 2 3
Nick Holesa 1 1 1 2 0 0 0
Kevin Madden 5 0 0 1 0 0 2
Carson Jones 3 1 2 0 1 0 0
Tanner Thomas 2 0 0 0 0 2 1
Jonah Seagears 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Cade Swisher 2 0 2 0 0 0 0
Cade Hunter 2 1 0 0 1 0 0
Lucas Donlon 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Dayne Leonard 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Fritz Genther 5 0 1 0 0 2 3
TOTALS 37 7 10 7 5 10 11
Normally a coach would love these stats. Hokie Sports

Here are some of the statistics of note. We’d really like to see fewer errors on the board. All of these hurt, today.

BATTING

Doubles: Carson Jones (2); Cade Swisher (1)

Triples: Nick Holesa (1)

Homers: Gavin Cross (1)

Sac Flies: Gavin Cross (1)

BASERUNNING

Caught Stealing: Gavin Cross (1)

Hit by Pitch: Jack Hurley (1)

FIELDING

Errors: Jack Hurley (1); Tanner Schobel (1); Jaison Heard (1)

Just so everyone understands, this loss was a rough one and no one pitcher is responsible for all of the runs. It’s really unfair to Ryan Metz that baseball stats end up hanging an L on his chart. The Hokies 7 runs really should have erased that and frankly with the Hokies using 12 total pitchers, no one hurler should be pegged with this one. The offense certainly gave it a good shot, but 14 runs are just not something that many teams are going to have the opportunity to make up. This might be the hardest loss this season.

UNC Greensboro visits on Tuesday, and then the Hokies take to the road to Columbia, SC to play Clemson for a three game ACC series. Let’s hope they get back on the winning trail. It’s still a very long season, and there is good reason to think that this weekend was a bit of an anomaly.

GO HOKIES!!!