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Virginia Tech Hokies Drop First Game, but Win the Series with Wright State; 5-11, 9-3, 17-1

The Hokies nab a series win against the visiting Wright State University Raiders, but not before dropping the opener. They came roaring back for the final two contests, though. Sunday was a Hokie Home Run Derby. ECU comes on Tuesday, then on the road to Atlanta to open the ACC season against the Jackets.

Spring is nearly here.. or it’s already here.. whatever it’s baseball time.
John Schneider - SB Nation

Well, you can’t say that I didn’t warn you. Baseball is a sport played to averages and even the best teams on the hottest streaks trip over the first base bag and don’t get to 2nd in the occasional game. The Wright State University Raiders (a Wolf, mind you), rolled into Blacksburg from Fairborn, Ohio with some ideas. They were 0-6, looking for their first win, and facing Tech’s ace rotation pitcher Griffin Green to start a three game weekend series. The Hokies were white hot, with a seven-game no loss win streak and a hammer as their power symbol.

Hokies vs. Raiders Game 1 – Friday March 4th

At 2:02 PM on Friday March 4th, the Raiders stepped into the batter’s box and promptly laid down a bunt single to Green. They singled again in the game but grounded out for the final two at bats. It was a bit scary, but Green had the Hokies back him up with an explosion of four runs including a Malinowski three run homer.

Hokies vs. Raiders - Game 1

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
>>Wright State 0 5 1 0 0 2 0 3 0 11 19 0
Virginia Tech 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 7 1
Not enough defense and pitching for this one Hokie Sports

The inning ended with Jack Hurley scoring a run on a Sam Tackett RBI single, after taking a work trip around the bags into scoring position. After that, the Hokies managed to lose their bats, or develop a case of the jitters... or someone find an excuse because they managed a single run in the bottom of the 5th and that was that for the game. Now with a four-run lead and some insurance in the 5th you’d have thought a team with a pitcher holding a sub 3 ERA would just hang on through the offensive slump to pull out a pitching and fielding shutdown of the Raiders.

Such was not to be the case. It seems that Griffin Green ran into the spirit of the withered arm on the way out to the mound for the top of the 2nd inning. The Raiders kept running into pitches, and managed to even the game up 4-4 before the first out, on a double play was turned. To add a bit of insult to injury, Wright State managed another run on a double, before Green managed to strike out the last batter. Green didn’t last the first out in the 3rd.

Hokie Pitching for Game 1

Player Innings Hits Runs Earned Walks Kos Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Hits Runs Earned Walks Kos Wild Stuff Plonks
Griffin Green (L, 2-1) 2 8 6 6 1 1 0 1
Henry Weycker 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 1
Graham Firoved 3.2 4 5 5 2 6 0 0
Jordan Geber 1.1 2 0 0 0 1 1 0
TOTALS 19 11 11 3 8 1 2
The game ended up being a pitch by committee write off Hokie Sports

He was pulled after hitting the lead off batter, and baseball disaster occurred. Pitch by committee when your starting pitcher is pulled after a meltdown in early innings. That event almost never bodes well, and it didn’t here.

Hokie Offensive Box Score for Game 1

Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Walks KOs Stranded
Position Player At Bats Runs Hits RBI Walks KOs Stranded
1B Nick Biddison 5 1 1 0 0 2 0
CF Gavin Cross 4 1 1 0 0 0 1
SS Tanner Schobel 3 1 1 0 1 1 0
2B Eduardo Malinowski 4 1 1 3 0 1 2
LF Jack Hurley 3 1 1 0 1 1 0
C Cade Hunter 4 0 1 1 0 1 0
DH Sam Tackett 3 0 1 1 0 1 1
#PH Cade Swisher 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
RF Conor Hartigan 3 0 0 0 0 1 1
#PH/RF Carson Jones 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
3B Carson DeMartini 3 0 0 0 1 2 0
TOTALS 34 5 7 5 3 11 6
There was some offense for Game 1 Hokie Sports

Wright State’s offense didn’t do much after that, and Tech’s single run in the bottom of the 5th got them within a run with lots of baseball left to play. Wright State played that, and Tech didn’t. The Raiders put six more runs up and Tech never managed to answer. Baseball games are famous for “well that isn’t gonna happen” games, and it looks like Game 1 just was one of those games.

There were some highlights for the offense, but it just wasn’t enough.

BATTING

Two Baggers: Gavin Cross (1)

Dingers: Eduardo Malinowski (1)

BASERUNNING

Steals: Jack Hurley (1)

Plonked: Gavin Cross (1)

Hokies vs. Raiders Game 2 – Saturday March 5th

Saturday, the Hokies took the field in much the same shape has they left it on Friday evening. Ryan Okuda took to the mound and gave up a double on the second pitch of the game. He ended up tossing two into the “Twilight Zone” and starting Catcher Cade Hunter developed a hole in his mitt for a third loss of control in the delivery system. In the mean time Wright State crossed the plate twice, and the Hokie fans in the stands were scratching their heads wondering where the Hokies of the first seven games had run off to. They were in a first inning multi-run hole, again, against a team with a 1 and 6 record with that one being the prior night’s Tech meltdown.

Hokies vs. Raiders - 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
Wright State 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 1
>>Virginia Tech 0 3 1 0 1 0 1 3 X 9 15 0
That’s better. steady offense, lots of small ball Hokie Sports

Okuda found his arm and sights, the Hokies found their bats, and the team turned around a potentially serious pothole on the way to a much better season. The Raiders didn’t score again until the top of the 9th.

Hokie Pitching for Game 2

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Ryan Okuda (W, 2-0) 5 3 2 1 1 4 2 1
Jonah Hurney 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 1
Brady Kirtner 2 2 1 1 0 3 0 0
TOTALS 7 3 2 1 9 2 2
Okuda recovered and pitched well for a decent 5 inning effort Hokie Sports

Meanwhile the Hokies did start getting some offense generated.

BATTING

Doubles: Gavin Cross (1); Eduardo Malinowski (1); Cade Hunter (2); Carson DeMartini (1)

Homers: Eduardo Malinowski (1); Cade Swisher (1)

Sac Flies: Cade Hunter (1)

Two doubles (Malinowski and Hunter) with a Cade Swisher dinger got the Hokies on the board and ahead to stay in the bottom of the 2nd. Gavin Cross and Eduardo Malinowski teamed up for a double/single run in the bottom of the 3rd. The Malinowski dumped one over the wall in the 5th to get some insurance up. Three runs isn’t a whole lot of breathing space, but Hokie pitching was holding and the defense was keeping the Raider sticks quiet. Hokies added a single manufactured run in their half of the 7th, and then pretty much put the game away with a bunch of small ball base running supported by singles, walks, and wild pitches by Wright State’s reliver.

Hokie Offensive Box for Game 2

Position Player Ups Plates Knocks RBI Free Bags Whiffs Stranded
Position Player Ups Plates Knocks RBI Free Bags Whiffs Stranded
RF Nick Biddison 5 1 1 0 0 2 4
CF Gavin Cross 5 2 2 1 0 0 0
SS Tanner Schobel 4 0 0 0 1 1 0
2B Eduardo Malinowski 4 2 4 2 1 0 0
LF Jack Hurley 5 0 1 1 0 2 1
C Cade Hunter 4 1 3 2 0 1 0
DH Cade Swisher 2 1 1 2 0 0 0
#PH/DH Sam Tackett 2 0 0 0 0 2 2
#PH Christian Martin 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
1B Nick Holesa 3 1 1 0 1 1 0
3B Carson DeMartini 3 1 2 0 1 0 0
TOTALS 38 9 15 8 4 9 10
Good steady pressure Hokie Sports

Wright State tried something of a rally in the top of the 9th, but it was just too much to make up. The door closed and the Hokies evened the series to wait for the rubber game on Sunday.

Hokies vs. Raiders Game 3 – Sunday March 6th

Where do you start with this one? The prior two games the Hokies managed some decent offense – even with the Friday loss they scored 3 more runs than their aggregate pitching ERA, and it was only a pitching meltdown that allowed Wright State to jump out and stay ahead of the Tech offense. As they say in the pop culture of yore… Sunday was “hammer time”. Game 2 was a mixture of some opportune long ball, but basically 9 runs on singles, doubles, walks, and better than adequate pitching. Game 3 was nothing of the sort.

Hokies vs. Raiders - 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
Wright State 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 1
>>Virginia Tech 2 0 0 8 3 2 0 2 X 17 18 0
Hammerin’ Hokies explode for some long ball Hokie Sports

First, the Hokie defensive effort was led off by Freshman sensation Drue Hackenberg on the mound. He gave up a single in the bottom of the 1st, but kept the goose egg on the scoreboard after 10 pitches with two groundouts and a swinging strike out. Hackenberg would go 7 full innings with only one earned in the 7th when a Raider ran into one and put it over the wall. Hackenberg is 3-0 with a miniscule ERA (for college ball).

Hokie Pitching for Game 3 was Fantastic

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Drue Hackenberg (W, 3-0) 7 5 1 1 0 6 0 0
Tyler Dean 1 0 0 0 2 3 1 0
Ryan Metz 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 6 1 1 2 9 1 0
Hackenberg is 3-0 and has a microscopic ERA Hokie Sports

Sometimes game stories are on both sides of home plate, and the Hokie defense was definitely impressive on the 6th. The offense, once again, assumed that football scores look great on baseball scoreboards when you are on the plus side of things. The Hokies generated some serious offense on Sunday. They also substituted nearly the entire lineup as the score widened and the opportunity to get playing time arose.

Hokies vs. Raiders - Game 3

Position Player Ups Plates Knocks RBI Free Bags Whiffs Stranded
Position Player Ups Plates Knocks RBI Free Bags Whiffs Stranded
1B Nick Biddison 4 1 1 1 1 2 2
#1B Sam Tackett 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
CF Gavin Cross 4 3 2 3 0 0 0
#PH/CF Brennan Reback 2 0 0 0 0 2 0
SS Tanner Schobel 3 1 2 3 0 0 0
#PH/SS Warren Holzemer 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
2B Eduardo Malinowski 4 2 2 2 0 0 1
#PH/2B Christian Martin 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
LF Jack Hurley 4 2 3 2 0 0 0
#PH/LF Jonah Seagears 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
DH Cade Hunter 3 1 0 0 1 1 1
#PH Cade Swisher 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
RF Conor Hartigan 3 2 1 2 0 0 0
#RF Carson Jones 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
C Gehrig Ebel 4 1 2 0 0 1 0
#C Dylan Hatfield 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
3B Carson DeMartini 4 2 3 2 0 1 0
#3B Lucas Donlon 1 1 1 2 0 0 0
TOTALS 41 17 18 17 4 9 6
Lots of substitutions, lots of offense... Long ball was king Hokie Sports

You are reading things right. This was a festival of the long ball. Take a look at the scoring highlights, and see the line of dingers and multi-bag hits for the game. Everyone looked like they wanted to get into the heavy contact act.

BATTING

2-fers: Nick Biddison (1); Tanner Schobel (1)

3-fers: Eduardo Malinowski (1)

Taters: Gavin Cross (1); Eduardo Malinowski (1); Jack Hurley (1); Conor Hartigan (1); Lucas Donlon (1)

BASERUNNING

Swipes: Cade Hunter (1)

Hit by Pitch: Tanner Schobel (1); Conor Hartigan (1)

So, the Hokies took the series and get ready for the Tuesday game against none other than East Carolina. The Pirates roll into town for a non-conference matchup. Maybe that relationship gets repaired, maybe not. Next weekend the Hammerin’ Hokies take to the road for a three-game set in Atlanta to open the ACC season against Georgia Tech.