BLACKSBURG, Va. - Hokie freshman Justin Wright tied a career high with seven strikeouts while throwing a complete game to help the Virginia Tech baseball team stun top-ranked Miami on Saturday, 7-6, in the opening game of an ACC doubleheader at English Field.
Fellow rookie Austin Wates (Richmond, Va.) doubled in the deciding run with two outs in the eighth as the Hokies rallied from a 5-1 deficit to earn the win and move Wright to 3-0 on the season. Making just his fifth start of the season, the 5-foot-9 lefty allowed nine hits and four walks, but stayed away from the big inning and tossed a career-high 132 pitches to go the distance.
Game two was a different story, however, as Miami starter Enrique Garcia turned the tables and held the Hokies to two runs on four hits and a walk over eight innings to improve to 5-1 with a 9-2 victory. With the doubleheader split, Tech's record now stands at 21-30 (5-22 ACC), while Miami is now 41-6 (22-3 ACC).
Game one was tied at 6-6 when Miami reliever Carlos Gutierrez walked Tech shortstop Matt Hacker (Richmond, Va.) with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. After Hacker moved to second on a wild pitch, Gutierrez issued first baseman Sean O'Brien (Chappaqua, N.Y.) an intentional walk. Wates, who was 1-for-4 in the game, ran the count to 1-2 before smacking his 10th double of the season to right center, plating Hacker.
The win marked the second time in the past three years that Tech has knocked off a No. 1-ranked opponent, as the Hokies also defeated top-ranked Florida State in 2006.
Miami opened the scoring in the first game during the top of the second inning. After Wright (Chesterfield, Va.) issued back-to-back walks to right fielder Dennis Raben and shortstop Ryan Jackson with one out, UM designated hitter Joey Terdoslavich bounced a single up the middle to bring Raben around from second. Jackson moved to third on Terdoslavich's hit and scored the Hurricanes' second run as the Hokies attempted an unsuccessful double play on a grounder to third by right fielder Dave DiNatale.
Second baseman Jemile Weeks extended the Miami lead to 4-0 an inning later with his 10th home run of the season. Weeks' drive over the center field fence followed a leadoff single by center fielder Blake Tekotte.
Tech got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when freshman catcher Chris Kay (Marietta, Ga.) walked, Hacker singled and O'Brien was hit by a pitch. With one out, Wates grounded into a fielder's choice to score Kay.
The 'Canes went up 5-1 in the fourth when back-to-back doubles by DiNatale and catcher Jason Hagerty produced a run. Both teams then added to their run totals via home runs. The Hokies got solo homers from O'Brien and right fielder Klint Reed (Chesterfield, Va.) in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, while Miami got a solo shot from Dinatale in the sixth. Reed's round tripper was the first of his Tech career.
O'Brien and Reed also played key rolls as the Hokies tied the game at six with three runs in the seventh. Center fielder Sean Ryan (Ashburn, Va.) got the inning started with a single. O'Brien punched a hit-and-run single behind the shortstop to give Tech runners at the corners with one out. UM starting pitcher Eric Erickson struck out Wates for the second out before giving way to Gutierrez. Hokie third baseman Michael Seaborn (Atlanta, Ga.) laced a single on the first pitch by Gutierrez to score Ryan. Pinch-hitter Matt Blow (Richmond, Va.) drew a walk to load the bases and Reed followed with a two-run single to pull the Hokies even.
The second contest belonged to the Hurricanes, as they scored early and rode Garcia's stellar performance to claim the three-game series. They plated three runs in the first inning and one in the second to take an early 4-0 lead. With Tekotte and first baseman Yonder Alonso both on base via singles in the first, Raben sent a skyscraping home run to right field to account for his second of the series. DiNatale then opened the next frame with a triple past a diving Ryan and came home on grounder to second by Yasmani Grandal.
A two-run homer by Mark Sobolewski in the seventh and three runs on four hits in the eighth pushed Miami's lead to 8-0.
Tech set the final tally with two runs in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Travis Wilson, who singled, and Ryan, who was hit by a pitch, both came around to score on a base knock by O'Brien.
Jesse Hahn started the nightcap got touched up for four runs on five hits in the first two innings, but settled down to limit the 'Canes to just three hits over the next four. He took the loss, however, to fall to 3-6 on the season.
The Hokies return to action at English Field this Tuesday when William & Mary comes to town for Tech's last non-conference contest of the year. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.