February 27, 2009
Impromptu doubleheader leads to pair of Hokie wins
Saturday's single game now to be played at 10 a.m.

BLACKSBURG, Va.Sophomore pitcher Justin Wright struck out a career-high nine batters in the nightcap of a doubleheader to help the Virginia Tech baseball team complete a sweep of visiting Bucknell on Friday at English Field.

The Hokies improved to 7-1 with the two wins (10-4 in game one and 2-1 in game two), and have recorded their best start to a season since going 10-0-1 to begin the 1992 campaign. The Bison fell to 0-6.

Originally scheduled for a twin-bill on Saturday, the two squads decided just before 2 p.m. to play the doubleheader on Friday after looking at Saturday’s weather forecast and seeing that playing just one game would be a tough task.

The third and final game of the series has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Tech opened the scoring in game two by plating a pair in the bottom of the fourth. Designated hitter Anthony Sosnoskie (Front Royal, Va.) led off with a walk before moving to third on a single by catcher Steve Domecus (Novato, Calif.). Bucknell starting pitcher Trey Frahler threw away a pick-off attempt at first that allowed Sosnoskie to score and Domecus to move to third. Third baseman Michael Seaborn (Atlanta, Ga.) then drove in Domecus with a fielder’s choice two batters later.

That was all it took to lock up the victory, as Wright (Chesterfield, Va.) combined with relievers Jesse Hahn (Groton, Conn.) and Ben Rowen (Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.) to finish off the Bison. A single by Russell Seidell to bring home Alex Cillo in the top of the ninth was all Bucknell could muster.

Wright’s nine strikeouts surpassed his previous high of seven, which he tallied on four different occasions as a freshman. He allowed just five hits and walked none in seven innings of work. Rowen pitched one-third of an inning before Hahn came in to record a five-out save, the first of his career.

Frahler was tagged with the loss to fall 0-2.

Game one

Bucknell put a run on the board during the first inning of the opener. Bison lead-off man Ben Allen doubled to deep left field and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Ben Yoder. A sacrifice fly to center by catcher B.J LaRosa plated Allen.

After managing just two hits against Bucknell starting pitcher Dylan Seeley during the first three innings, Tech tied the game in the fourth. Designated hitter Austin Wates (Richmond, Va.) started the inning with a solid single to left. Wates moved to third on a single by Sosnoskie and scored on the play when Bison shortstop Allen cut off a throw to third and fired an errant throw to first trying to catch Sosnoskie rounding the bag.

Tech went ahead an inning latter when center fielder Steve Bumbry (Cockeysville, Md.) drew a lead-off walk, took second on Seaborn’s second single of the game and move to third as second baseman Tony Balisteri (Lexington, Va.) grounded into a double play. The Bison replaced Seeley with reliever Chris Yamaguchi, who soon there after uncorked a ball-four wild pitch that allowed Bumbry to score.

Following the opening inning, Tech starting pitcher Rhett Ballard (High Point, N.C.) registered six consecutive scoreless innings. The senior right-hander benefited from double plays in the second, third and fourth innings. He then retired the Bison in order in the fifth and sixth before running into some two-out trouble in the seventh. Bucknell used back-to-back singles by designated hitter Zachary Brown and left fielder Andrew Loucks, coupled with a walk to center fielder Bob Donato, to load the bases, but Ballard ended the suspense with an inning-ending strikeout.

The Hokies gave Ballard some breathing room with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, then broke the game open with a five-run eighth. Wates brought home the first two runs in the seventh with a double and Sosnoskie followed with another two-bagger to plate Wates. Klint Reed (Chesterfield, Va.) singled in a run to start the eighth and right fielder Mike Kaminski (Ventura, Calif.) added a two-run double. Shortstop Ty Hohman (Tomball, Texas) capped the inning with a two-run homer.

Ballard pitched 7.1 innings to pick up his second win of the season. He gave up one run on seven hits, while striking out eight batters and walking just one. Rowen struck out both batters he faced in the eighth, but the Bison managed three runs on four hits against junior right-hander Kyle Cichy (Vineland, N.J.) in the ninth.

Seeley took the loss to fall to 0-2.

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