Hokie claim two-game slugfest over CCSU
Tech wins 14-12, 16-8
March 1, 2008

BLACKSBURG, Va. - It took 61 hits, 50 runs and over six hours, but day two of the Hawthorn Suites Invitational at English Field saw the Virginia Tech baseball team pick up two victories with a double-header sweep of Central Connecticut State on Saturday.

The Hokies captured game one 14-12 before doubling up the Blue Devils 16-8 in game two. Tech surpassed its previous season high of 14 hits in the opener by collecting 16, and recorded another 15 in the nightcap. After winning the series opener on Friday, Tech moves to 5-3 on the young season while dropping CCSU to 0-3.

Five Hokies recorded at least two hits in each contest, and outfielder Steve Bumbry (Cockeysville, Md.) was just one of many offensive stars on the day. The sophomore reached base in nine of his 10 plate appearances, and jacked his team-leading third home run in the fifth inning of game two. Senior Matt Hacker (Richmond, Va.) also hit a round-tripper in the second game, his second of the year, while sophomore Anthony Sosnoskie (Front Royal, Va.) cranked a two-run bomb in game one. Tech now has eight home runs in eight games, after having hit just 28 all of last season.

The Hokies needed every one of those season-high 16 hits to pick up the first win of the day. Heading into the ninth inning down 14-8, CCSU tallied four runs to give Tech a scare, but reliever Rhett Ballard (High Point, N.C.) came in to close it out and pick up his second career save. Redshirt senior David Cross (Scottsdale, Ariz.) earned the win to move to 2-0 despite allowing five runs in 2.1 innings. CCSU starter Ken Kerski (0-1) took the loss by giving up nine earned runs in five innings.

Tech senior Jose Cueto (Miami, Fla.) continued to show a hot bat, getting a three-run second inning started with a one-out double to left-center field. Cueto moved to third on a ground out and scored when Hacker singled up the middle. Bumbry followed with a triple to the base of the wall in right center field, scoring Hacker. Freshman shortstop Tony Balisteri's single between third and short plated the Bumbry for a 3-0 Tech lead.

Cueto produced for the Hokies once again an inning later, this time driving in a run with a single. A ground out by third baseman Ty Hohman (Tomball, Texas) also scored a run in the inning as Tech extended its lead to 5-0.

Central Connecticut State got to Tech starting pitcher Andrew Wells (Alexandria, Va.) for two runs of its own in the fourth. Blue Devil center fielder Kyle Zarotney lifted a home run to left field to start the inning and shortstop Sean Jones-Miller added an RBI-single with two outs.

CCSU rallied against Tech relievers Dave Zappacosta (Baltimore, Md.) and Cross to take an 8-5 lead with six runs on six hits in the sixth inning. The Blue Devils sent 10 men to the plate in the frame. First baseman Tommy Meade led off the inning with a solo homer. After the Hokies recorded two outs, six consecutive CCSU batters reached base. Jak Kidd, Pat Epps and Zarotney collected run-scoring singles, while third baseman Anthony Scialdone belted a two-run double.

Tech responded immediately, with its first five batters in the bottom of the sixth reaching base and scoring. A single by Balisteri (Lexington, Va.) scored the first run. Fellow freshman Austin Wates (Richmond, Va.) then delivered the big blow of the inning, a bases-loaded triple that chased Kerski out of the contest. A sacrifice fly off the bat of center fielder Sean Ryan plated Wates to put the Hokies back on top 10-8.

Sosnoskie and Hacker helped the Hokies pick up three big insurance runs in the eighth. Sosnoskie blasted his first home run of the season to center field with a runner on, while Hacker's fourth single of the game extended the lead to 14-8.

Those runs turned out to be important ones as the Blue Devils struck for four ninth-inning runs and had the tying run at the plate when Ballard coaxed the last out.

Hacker led the Hokies' 16-hit attack with four hits in five at bats. He also scored two runs and drove in two. Cueto finished with a 3-for-5 game.

CCSU got a 4-for-4 game from Zarotney on the way to 18 hits.

The Hokies got off to another fast start in the second game, scoring a run on a first-inning sacrifice bunt by first baseman Sean O'Brien before adding three more in the second. A single to right by Bumbry scored Hacker with the first run in the second. Following a single by Balisteri, designated hitter Wates lifted a sacrifice fly to center for the second run. Ryan (Ashburn, Va.), who singled in the first inning, doubled down the right-field line for the third run of the inning.

Central Connecticut State got on the board in the third inning when shortstop Sean Miller-Jones reached on a one-out error, stole second base and scored on a single by second baseman Sean Allaire. The Blue Devils whittled the Tech lead to one run an inning later with pair of runs scoring on a single by Meade.

A two-run double by Sosnoskie in the fourth gave the Hokies a three-run cushion that CCSU promptly erased in the fifth. A sacrifice fly by Scialdone tied the game at 6-6.

Tech matched the Blue Devils once again in the bottom of the inning thanks to a three-run homer by Bumbry, his third of the young season. A single by Hacker and a walk by O'Brien set the table for the sophomore outfielder's round-tripper.

After CCSU cut the lead to one run with a two-run sixth inning, the Hokies pulled away for good, scoring three runs in the sixth and four in the seventh. A two-run pinch-hit double by redshirt freshman Matt Blow (Richmond, Va.) and a run-scoring double by Bumbry provided the three runs in the sixth. The four-run seventh was highlighted by a three-run homer by Hacker. Cueto also had an RBI-single.

Freshman Jesse Hahn (Groton, Conn.) notched his first collegiate win with a five-inning outing, and redshirt freshman transfer Kyle Cichy worked the final four innings to record a save. CCSU starter Matt Gianini got credited with the loss in his season debut.

The Hokies are scheduled to wrap up the Hawthorn Suites Invitational with a noon match-up on Sunday with Binghamton.