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Virginia Tech Hokies Walk Off Again! This Time It’s Liberty for the Sweep

The Flames are a really good team, and this wasn’t going to be a midweek practice session. Liberty has 30 wins and wanted to add to that total at our expense. That almost happened with 1 out left in the game. NOPE! GO HOKIES!!!

Advice and Inspiration, pregame
John Schneider - SB Nation (File)

A Committee Pitchers’ Duel Develops

It’s not a particularly long trip from the southeast side of Lynchburg. US 460 cuts right past Liberty University just like it cuts right through Virginia Tech’s. There are some stretches of Interstate on the trip, yes, but except for the overlapping stretch of I-81 past Roanoke, you can tootle on down to Lynchburg or putt-putt back up the mountain all on old 460. Liberty even watches the same TV that we watch. Which means they are going to see this on the local sports news.

The Flames put up a really good baseball program. Their team has 30 wins (which is no mean feat in any league) and plays first rate baseball teams as opponents. The Hokies took the first game of the non-conference two game split series in Lynchburg. The Flames came south to return the favor. They almost pulled it off.

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Liberty Flames - Game 2 of the 2022 Home and Home

You look at the box score and shake your head. There isn’t an interesting anything much in this contest, offensively, at all. It’s amazing that anyone scored anything. Both teams were having trouble locating any sort of hole to hit to. There was a total of fourteen strike outs tallied by the Hokies and nine by the Flames. When contact was made, it went right to leather and up on the scoreboard... as an out... Three of Tech’s five hits were in the bottom of the 9th. You’d have thought both teams had racks of noodles in their respective dugouts.

Hokies Wake Up in Time to Walk-off Another Win

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
Liberty 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1
>>Virginia Tech 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 5 1
Three singles had to wait until the bottom of the 9th Hokie Sports

There were two stories to this game. First and probably lost in the hubbub of the walk-off win is that the Flames scored exactly no earned runs. They did manage to plate an unearned run in the top of the 4th when a Hokie throwing error allowed an easy out to make it to 2nd base. The single that followed (with two outs up, mind you) plated the run, and there the score stuck. The pitch-by-committee managed a 3 hitter, with none crossing the plate earned. BUT (always a big but there) unearned runs count on the scoreboard, and the Hokies were relying on pitching to keep the game within reach. The Offense was still swinging spaghetti sticks.

There needs to be a shout out to the pitching staff, though. It’s been struggling of late, and this one was a real gem. It had to be.

Hokie Pitching for the Flames Game

Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Player Innings Knocks Plates Earned Plates Walks Fans Wild Stuff Plonks
Jordan Geber 3 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
Ryan Metz 3 2 1 0 0 4 0 0
Christian Worley 2 1 0 0 1 4 0 0
Kiernan Higgins (W, 3-0) 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
TOTALS 3 1 0 1 14 0 0
A bullpen three hitter! Wow! Hokie Sports

So, you are sitting in the dugout in the top of the 9th, their only run up is your fault, and you just really feel like you want to just get up and head to the showers to try some other time. Not this team. Not these Hokies. There must have been some serious momentum and confidence thoughts that came out of the Cal Ripken visit back around the time of the skid, because that magic has never faded.

No Quit in This Bunch

The entire offensive action for the game, on either side mind you, happened with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning and that was an error. Tanner Schobel was plonked and made the trip to 1st putting the tying run on base. Unfortunately, that had been bracketed with outs by Gavin Cross and Jack Hurley. You have to say that the thread of the game was hanging and fraying. A single out and the middle of the order coming up was not much to hang on to.

Then the Flames’ catcher lost the handle and Schobel advanced to second on the charged passed ball. Eduardo Malinowski, being a collegiate veteran, hit the third pitch of that at-bat through the right side. That was more than enough distance to get Schobel flying around third to plate the tying run. Now that’s a win/win because if everything in the 9th ended with the next at-bat, there would be extra baseball for the fans.

Well, they didn’t get extra ball, the Hokies managed to fill the bases on the Flames’ final reliever of the evening. With Malinowski on 1st, Cade Hunter rapped a single into left field. Then Christian Martin worked a 6-pitch walk. The bases were loaded up for Lucas Donlon who needed some sort of miracle because the 0-2 hole that he scrubbed out with a strike and a foul got things looking like a 10th inning was brewing. For whatever reason, Donlon turned hard on an inside curveball that landed in the middle of left field... as he rounded 1st base, Malinowski crossed home plate and sealed the 2nd walk-off win in a row.

So, it ended with a splash....

The final two-week regular season stretch run is here.

#7 Louisville comes to town tomorrow evening for a top 10 showdown. The Hokies have a whole lot to prove with that one. They better find their hammers, this one’s serious business.

Then the Tuesday non-conference game is Kansas State.

Duke comes to close out the season starting on a Thursday evening and working through Saturday. The students will be gone so it's up to the townies and the faculty to show up to cheer on the close of an amazing regular season for the Hokies.