February 20, 2009
Hokies blast UNCA in opener
Run total is the most in an opening game since 1988

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Virginia Tech opened its 2009 baseball season with a bang, posting the most runs for a Hokie nine in an opening game since 1988 on the way to a lopsided 21-4 win over UNC Asheville on Friday in the Courtyard by Marriott Baseball Classic at Harley Park.

The Hokies’ 21 runs were the most for a Tech baseball squad in an opener since another 21-4 victory, that one at High Point on Feb. 27, 1988. Tech’s output against UNCA on Friday marked the most runs in any game for the Hokies since a 22-7 decision against Campbell in Blacksburg during the 2003 season.

Tech’s runs came in bunches with five innings of three runs or more. Eleven players combined to produce 18 base hits, including six doubles and one home run. The Hokies also capitalized on seven base on balls, six errors and six hit batsmen.

Ironically, Tech registered the first hit batsman, when starting pitcher Rhett Ballard (High Point, N.C.) plunked Bulldogs’ leadoff batter Kevin Weidenbacher with the first pitch of the game. That led to a quick run for the Bulldogs, and their only lead of the game.

A hit batsman sandwiched between singles by Tech first baseman Buddy Sosnoskie (Front Royal, Va.) and second baseman Austin Wates (Richmond, Va.) set the stage for a three-run Tech third inning. Catcher Anthony Sosnoskie’s infield single plated his brother to tie the game. Left fielder Steve Domecus (Novato, Calif.), a junior college product who was hit by pitches three times during the afternoon, scored the go-ahead run on an error and then Wates made it 3-1 when he crossed the plate on a second miscue by the Bulldogs.

Tech broke the game open an inning later scoring six times in the bottom of the fourth. There were three hit batters in the inning, helping set the stage for run-scoring doubles by senior captains Sean Ryan (Ashburn, Va.) and Ty Homan (Tomball, Texas). Ryan drove in the first run of the inning with a two-bagger down the left-field line. Shortstop Homan capped the frame with a three-run double with two outs.

A two-run homer by Domecus over the 402 foot mark in center field fueled a five-run fifth inning for the Hokies. Tech went on to score four more runs in the seventh inning before closing out the win with a three-run eighth.

Outfielder Mike Kaminski (Ventura, Calif.), who entered the game in the seventh inning, drove in two runs with a pair of singles and was one of six Hokies with multiple hits. Joining Kaminski with two hits were Domecus, third baseman Michael Seaborn (Atlanta, Ga.) and both Sosnoskie brothers. Wates led the way in hits with a 3-for-4 outing, while Homan topped the team in RBIs with five.

Ballard, who struck out nine batters in just five innings on the mound, picked up the pitching victory for Tech. The senior right-hander scattered six hits and allowed three runs, two earned. Relievers Clark Labitan (San Diego, Calif.) and Kyle Cichy (Vineland, N.J.) each pitched a scoreless inning, while Rob Whitley (Danville, Va.) worked the final two innings, allowing a run on two hits.

Right-hander Michael Bogaert, who went 3.2 innings in the start for UNC Asheville, took the loss. He gave up nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits and hit five batters. First baseman Justin Schumer and left fielder Beau Zinman combined for four of the Bulldogs’ eight hits.

Tech is scheduled to continue play in the Baseball Classic on Saturday with a double-header at Wofford beginning at 1 p.m.

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

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