Hokies win at VMI
Whitley, three others combine for shutout
May 9, 2007

LEXINGTON, Va. - Four Virginia Tech pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout and Tech's bats produced 16 hits as the Hokies posted a 9-0 non-conference victory over VMI at Gray-Minor Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Freshman right-hander Rob Whitley (Danville, Va.) started and pitched six shutout innings for the Hokies to pick up his second win without a loss. Whitley allowed just two hits and four base runners while facing just two men over the limit thanks to a pair of double plays. The rookie right-hander posted six strikeouts and walked two men. Lefty Andrew Wells (Alexandria, Va.) and right-handers Scott Stoehr (Timberville, Va.) and Rhett Ballard (High Point, N.C.) each contributed a shutout inning of work.

Ten Tech players contributed hits, led by left fielder Jose Cueto (Miami, Fla.), who finished with three in five trips to the plate. Sean O'Brien, Nate Parks, Luke Padgett and Steve Bumbry chipped in with two hits apiece.

The Hokies improved to 21-26 with the win, while the Keydets are now 31-15. The game marked the first time VMI had been shutout at home since a loss to Coastal Carolina on May 8, 2006. Keydet starting pitcher Chris Henderson (5-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits during his 3.1 innings on the mound.

Tech used a two-out hit by right fielder Cueto to score a run in the top of the first inning. First baseman O'Brien (Chappaqua, N.Y.) started the inning with a ground single to left and moved to second on a two-strike, bunt-single by center fielder Parks (Roanoke, Va.). After retiring the next two batters, Henderson yielded a bloop-single to Cueto on a 1-2 pitch, scoring O'Brien.

The Hokies took advantage of four hits, three walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball to score five runs in the top of the fourth inning. The frame started with consecutive singles by Cueto, designated hitter Padgett (Lynchburg, Va.) and right fielder Bumbry (Cockeysville, Md.), but the Hokies were left with just two runners on base after Cueto was thrown out while taking too wide a turn at second base following Padgett's single. VMI reliever Chris Duty came in and got Tech catcher Matt Foley (Lansdowne, Va.) to bounce into a fielder's choice force out at third base for the second out of the inning. After walking second baseman Matt Hacker (Richmond, Va.) to load the bases, Duty uncorked a wild pitch to score Bumbry. A passed ball allowed Foley to come home and then Hacker scored on a second wild pitch from Duty. Before the inning ended third baseman Bryan Thomas (Wilmington, N.C.) brought home two more runs with a single.

A pair of solo home runs in the seventh inning extended the Tech lead to 8-0. Hokie shortstop Warren Schaeffer (Vandergrift, Pa.) greeted VMI reliever Ian Casher with a homer to left field, and with one out, Padgett followed suite with a blast to the same spot. The Hokies added a final run in the eighth when O'Brien singled and eventually scored as the Keydets turned a double play.

VMI's first hit was a leadoff single by left fielder Jacoby Fields in the third inning, but he was promptly erased by a double play. Keydets' designated hitter Thane Smith tripled with one out in the fourth, but was stranded when Whitley registered a strikeout and then coaxed a ground out to end the inning. VMI had runners at second and third in the seventh against Wells, but the senior pitcher got out of the inning with a ground out.

Tech is scheduled to return to Atlantic Coast Conference play with a three-game series at Duke starting on Friday night.