May 17, 2008
Hokies end season with loss 7-5 loss to Duke
Ryan hits first career home run in ninth inning
Duke (37-18-1) 1102100027121
Virginia Tech (23-32) 000210002553
  • English Field - 603

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Duke held Virginia Tech to five hits and scored two key runs in the ninth inning to hand the Hokies a 7-5 season-ending loss in Atlantic Coast Conference play at English Field on Saturday.

The win gave the Blue Devils a series win over the Hokies and a final overall record of 37-18-1. Duke finished 10-18-1 in ACC play. Tech ends the season with a 23-32 overall mark and a 6-24 conference record.

With a 1-for-4 performance, Hokie first baseman Sean O'Brien (Chappaqua, N.Y) finished the season with a team-high .332 batting average, becoming the first player in program history to lead the squad in hitting for all four years of his career. He also hit .372 as a freshman in 2004, .317 as a redshirt sophomore in 2006 and .327 as a redshirt junior in 2007.

A run-scoring single by designated hitter Jonathan Nicolla staked the Blue Devils to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Nicolla's hit followed a one-out walk to center fielder Alex Hassan and a single off the bat of first baseman Nate Freiman that moved Hassan to third.

Duke got another run-scoring single in the second, this time from third baseman Ryan McCurdy, who drove in shortstop Jake Lemmerman with two outs. The Blue Devils doubled their lead with the help of a dropped fly ball in the fourth. With two outs in the inning, McCurdy singled. He moved to third when Hassen lifted a fly ball down the right field line that was misplayed by Tech right fielder Klint Reed (Chesterfield, Va.). Back-to-back walks by Hokie starting pitcher Jesse Hahn (Groton, Conn.) forced in McCurdy with one run and then a single by catcher Matt Williams brought home Hassan for a 4-0 lead.

Reed made up for his fourth-inning miscue when he got the Hokies on the board with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Reed's second round-tripper of the season followed a two-out single by third baseman Michael Seaborn (Atlanta, Ga.), Tech's first hit off Duke starting pitcher Jonathan Foreman since the first inning.

The teams traded runs again in the fifth inning. Duke left fielder Jerremy Gould opened the top of the inning with a double and eventually scored as right fielder Kyle Kreick grounded into a fielder's choice. Tech loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the inning, but a sacrifice fly by senior shortstopMatt Hacker (Richmond, Va.) produced the Hokies' only run of the inning.

Both starting pitchers left the game in the fifth. Hahn was replaced by senior right-hander David Cross (Scottsdale, Ariz.) after allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach base. Blue Devil starter Foreman was lifted in favor of Will Currier after walking the lead-off batter in the bottom of the fifth. Both relievers pitched shutout ball until the ninth.

Duke scored a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning that turned out to be crucial when Tech's Sean Ryan (Ashburn, Va.) hit his first career home run - a two-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the inning. A lead-off double by Williams was followed by a triple from Gould to plate the Blue Devils' first run in the ninth. Second baseman Gabriel Saade then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Gould.

Currier, whose only hit allowed during 4.2 innings on the mound was Ryan's homer, picked up the victory. He improved his record to 6-5, while Dennis O'Grady picked up his first save of the year when he came in to coax the final out of the game. Freshman right-hander Hahn took the loss for Tech, falling to 3-7.

The Hokies managed just five hits in the game, with only one coming after the fifth inning. Duke posted 12 hits, including two each by McCurdy, Freiman, Nicolla, Williams and Gould.

For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).

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