July 16, 2008
Saunders successful in All-Star debut
The Notebook
Former Virginia Tech pitcher Joe Saunders – the third Hokie to ever be named to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game – pitched a scoreless third inning for the American League on Tuesday in a game the A.L. would go on to win 4-3 in 15 innings.

Saunders pitched for the Hokies from 2000-02, totaling a 27-7 overall record and a 3.43 earned run average. He registered 255 strikeouts and 115 walks in 315 career innings pitched. The Springfield, Va., native left Blacksburg following his junior season after being selected 12th overall by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2002.

Though he had appeared in games for the Angels during the past two seasons, 2008 is his first full season as a starter, and he was selected to the All-Star team after finishing the first half tied for the A.L. lead with 12 wins.

Saunders relieved A.L. starter Cliff Lee at the top of third inning on Tuesday, and got out of the frame by throwing just 12 pitches, eight for strikes. He got Cubs’ outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to ground out to first and Cubs’ catcher Geovany Soto to fly out to center before allowing Marlins’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez to single to right. He then ended the inning by forcing the Phillies’ Chase Utley to ground out to first.

Saunders was able to pitch on Tuesday after being scratched from his Sunday start to be at the birth of his first child, Matea, over the weekend. Saunders is married to former Hokie softball player Shanel Garofalo. He will next pitch on Saturday against the Red Sox in a game that will be televised by FOX.

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