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Virginia Tech Hokies Take Two on an Abbreviated Weekend Schedule: #12 Notre Dame goes down - VMI follows

Look this was going to be a really difficult trip to the Great Lakes and the home of the #12 Golden Domers. Mother Nature won the series, but Tech took the first game in a complete surprise. Then went to Lexington to play some ball at VMI. 2-0 is a good thing. GO HOKIES!!!!

Getting together before the game
John Schneider - SB Nation

So, baseball is a spring, summer and early fall game played in warmer weather at a slower pace and more pastoral setting than the hurly-burly of football and the crowded indoor humidity of basketball. Right? Well, tell that to old mother nature. The Great Lakes region of North America is a place like few others on this planet. What amount to huge fresh water inland seas passed over by competing Arctic and sub-Arctic cold fronts shoving up against equally insistent warm air from the Gulf of Mexico fight unhindered by mountains or valleys throughout the vernal and autumnal periods. The result is a maddening display of weather insanity that leaves the sufferer gobsmacked by the day-to-day changes.

Heading to South Bend, Indiana (on the southern shores of Lake Michigan) in the Springtime is an adventure in gambling on the dice controlled by that weather insanity. The Hokie baseball team got on the plane and flew to northwest Indiana to encounter the best spring weather that the Rust Belt could offer. Friday it was a decent enough day to have an enjoyable baseball game. The rest of the weekend, nozzomush as they say in the Hudson Valley of periods of my youth (or is that ute?).

The Hokies were facing more than potenially weird weather. The Irish are a really good 12th ranked baseball team (Who admittedly are on a bit of a slide at the moment.) But we were playing them on their home turf (same field configuration as English Field). There wasn’t a high expectation of nabbing any wins, much less one for this weekend. A series split was definitely in the works, but the weather won. The Saturday and Sunday games were cancelled. That made Virginia Tech sad in some ways but definitely after the impressive showing on Friday. The Hokies looked like maybe they could take the series by the end of the 9th inning of Game 1, which was the only game.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Friday March 25th

You wouldn’t have guessed the outcome of the game unless you were writing a movie script. The big underdog mans up and hangs with the heavily favored home team, and thunders past them to win in a walk. You can’t write those stories, except for baseball. You see, there is no clock on the diamond. There are outs, and each visiting team has 27 of them to try to get a W in its score book.

Hokies vs. Irish - Friday and Only Game of the Series

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
>>Virginia Tech 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 6 10 11 3
Notre Dame 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 5 11 2
Yogi was a prophet, again... Hokie Sports

It seems that the Hammerin’ Hokies weren’t interested in settling for a close one run game as the 9th inning approached and the home team seemed to be ready to slam the door shut.

The game started off without too much domination from the mound on the opening inning. The Hokies went three up and three down, and Hokie starting pitcher got a bit of a 2-out scare but hung a goose egg in the bottom of the 1st.

The 2nd inning started off with an at-bat battle with the Irish pitcher by Jack Hurley. After working a full count on 8 pitches, Hurley jacked the last one over the fence for a home run, and the rest of the inning resulted in more nothings. Tech’s 1-0 lead into the top of the 4th when Tanner Schobel clobbered a ball into right center field for a triple, and then Jack Hurley got him home on an RBI sacrifice. The Hokies were up 2-0 halfway through and the Irish fans were beginning to scratch their heads a bit.

The lead didn’t last past the bottom of the 4th, however when the Irish grabbed a two-run shot off of Green. But the Hokies didn’t give up. They limited the inning, closed it out, and came back in the top of the 5th with Connor Hartigan crossing the plate on a manufactured run.

Interesting Offensive Statistics

At the Plate

Two Baggers: Tanner Schobel (1); Jack Hurley (1)

Three Baggers: Tanner Schobel (1)

Taters: Jack Hurley (2)

Sacrifices: Nick Biddison (1); Nick Holesa (1)

On the Bags

Nabbed: Carson DeMartini (1)

Plonked: Nick Biddison (1); Cade Hunter (1); Sam Tackett (1)

Picked Off: Jack Hurley (1)

On the Turf

Oopsies: Jack Hurley (1); Nick Holesa (1); Carson DeMartini (1)

The lead traded one more time in the bottom of the 5th as the Irish knocked Griffin Green off the mound with a 6 pitch 2 run (single and homer combo). Drue Hackenberg relieved Green and managed after a few scares and a wild pitch to end the inning without anyone else scoring. The Irish managed to manufacture another run in the bottom of the 6th, and the Hokie bats seemed to have lost the knack of solid contact. The score stayed 5-3 until Jack Hurley found the match and clobbered a solo homerun to right field, again. That didn’t get the Hokies ahead, but it provided a critical spark that told the birds that Yogi Bera is, indeed a baseball prophet. Notre Dame’s pitching began to struggle a bit, and the Hokies had their opening.

Hokie Box Score for the Notre Dame Game

Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Walks KOs Stranded
Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Walks KOs Stranded
1B/RF Nick Biddison 4 1 1 1 0 2 1
CF Gavin Cross 5 0 0 0 0 1 2
SS Tanner Schobel 5 2 3 1 0 1 0
LF Jack Hurley 4 3 3 3 1 0 0
2B Eduardo Malinowski 3 1 1 0 2 0 0
C Cade Hunter 4 1 2 1 0 1 1
DH Sam Tackett 4 0 0 1 0 3 2
#PR Christian Martin 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
RF Conor Hartigan 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
#PH Cade Swisher 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
#1B Nick Holesa 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
3B Carson DeMartini 4 0 1 0 1 1 3
TOTALS 35 10 11 8 6 11 9
Huge comeback for the Hokies Hokie Sports

The door flew open for the Hokies in the top of the 9th inning. It’s never good when you put the lead-off on the bags in a tight game. The Irish reliever hit Nick Biddison on the third pitch. Gavin Cross flied out to deep right and advanced Biddison to scoring position. Tanner Schobel cranked a double deep enough to score Biddison, tying the game at 5 a piece. Jack Hurley, now famous with the Irish coaching staff, was walked intentionally to put two on the bags. But then experienced Eduardo Malinowski made his presence known by loading the bases working a walk. Cade Hunter singled which scored Schobel. Sam Tackett was hit in the head by a really bad pitch (he’s okay, folks) for an RBI HBP. Christian Martin was put into the game to pinch run for the injured Sam Tackett. Hokies were up by 2 runs and still only had one out hung on the board.

With an out to “play with” the Hokies tried some squeezing action to get some more cushion in the lead. The resulting string of errors ended up pushing off all three base runners and running the score up to 10-5. The Irish rally attempt faded after two singles bracketed by three fly outs.

This was truly a team win. The Hokie pitching staff held a high-powered offense to five runs, and the Hokie bats managed to keep the game within reach. The win officially goes to the door closing reliever, Graham Firoved gets the credit, but spread that around it was a staff win, especially in the late innings when it was imperative to keep Notre Dame off the bags.

Hokie Pitching Did Enough to Win

Player Innings Hits Runs Earned Walks Kos Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Hits Runs Earned Walks Kos Wild Stuff Plonks
Griffin Green 4 6 4 4 0 4 0 0
Drue Hackenberg 3 3 1 1 1 4 1 2
Henry Weycker 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Graham Firoved (W, 1-0) 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
TOTALS 11 5 5 1 10 1 2
Keeping the Irish to five isn’t an easy feat. Hokie Sports

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Virginia Military Institute Keydets - Tuesday 29 March

The Hokies made a stop up I-81 to our old rival corps of cadets VMI. We don’t play the Keydets (not so fondly remembered as the Kangaroos back in the day) in very many sports so the opportunity to get on the athletic field against them is always a fun event.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Virginia Military Institute Keydets

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
>>Virginia Tech 4 0 3 0 0 2 0 0 4 13 15 1
VMI 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 15 3
Hamerin’ Hokies take the lead and keep it. Hokie Sports

The Hokies jumped out to a four-run lead in the top of the 1st, and never lost it. Ryan Okuda started the game, but as we always remind you, the Tuesday games are usually “pitch by committee affairs” The staff managed to keep VMI off the bags in any serious fashion for most of the game. There are things that need to be addressed, though. Some pitchers are struggling a bit even with short duty.

Hokie Pitching for the VMI Game

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Ryan Okuda 2 3 1 1 1 1 0 0
Ryan Kennedy 1 6 2 2 1 2 0 0
Kiernan Higgins (W, 1-0) 2.2 2 0 0 3 3 1 0
Henry Weycker 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Christian Worley 0.2 3 1 1 0 1 0 0
Graham Firoved 1.1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
Jonah Hurney 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0
TOTALS 15 4 4 5 14 1 0
Relievers are still struggling a bit in some spots. Hokie Sports

The Hammerin’ Hokies were the stars of this show. The long balls were flying, and the scoring happened in batches.

Offensive Statistics

In the Batters Box

Doubles: Jack Hurley (1); Cade Hunter (1); Nick Holesa (1); Christian Martin (1)

Home Runs: Cade Hunter (2); Conor Hartigan (1)

Sacrifice Flies: Tanner Schobel (1)

On the Bags

Stolen Bases: Cade Hunter (1)

Caught Stealing: Jack Hurley (1)

In the Field

Errors: Tanner Schobel (1)

All things considered, the trip to Lexington was a good one. A win is always a good thing, but there are some things that need to be addressed in the bull pen to stabilize some of the critical periods where holding a lead or limiting damage is really important.

You can’t argue with a no loss road trip. Next weekend the Hokies go to Chapel Hill to face #18 UNC. It’s going to be a challenge, but the Hokies are capable of making an impact.

Tuesday’s Game is back home against Marshall.