March 7, 2009
Duke evens series with Tech
Bumbry and Wates each homer in 5-4 loss
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Virginia Tech (9-2) 000020110460
Duke (7-3) 00210101X5111
  • Jack Coombs Field - 485

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the eighth with an infield hit to defeat the Virginia Tech baseball team by a score of 5-4 on Saturday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.

The hit came courtesy of Duke shortstop Jake Lemmerman, who was one of three Blue Devils to register at least two base knocks in the game. After Duke’s Jeremy Gould doubled with one out to register his game-high fourth hit, Nate Freiman was intentionally walked to put runners on second and third. The Hokies brought in Jesse Hahn from the bullpen to replace Marc Zecchino, who had pitched 3.2 innings in relief of starter Justin Wright. Duke catcher Matt Williams followed with a fielder’s choice that moved Gould to third, and the next batter, Lemmerman, bounced a chopper over Hahn’s head. Tech second baseman Tony Balisteri charged in on the play from second with a strong effort, but couldn’t quite get to it in time and Gould crossed home plate to score the clincher.

The loss ended the Hokies’ five-game winning streak and dropped their overall record to 9-2 (1-1 in the ACC). Duke improved to 7-3 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Hassan, who moved to the mound from right field at the start of the eighth, finished things off in the ninth to earn the win, his first decision of the season. Zecchino (0-1) was tagged with the loss in his second appearance of the season. The redshirt freshman allowed one run on four hits in 3.2 innings of work. Wright allowed three runs on six hits and four walks, also in 3.2 innings.

Offensively, center fielder Steve Bumbry stood out for Tech with a 2-for-3 effort, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Austin Wates also went yard for the Hokies. Meanwhile, Gould and Hassan fueled the Blue Devils all game long. Hassan scored three runs on two hits and a walk, while Gould went 4-for-5 from the plate.

After leaving two runners on base in each of the first two innings, Duke put two runs on the board in the bottom of the third to open the game’s scoring. Hassan got things started when smoked a double off the right field wall. He soon moved to third on a ground-out to second base by Gould, and then touched home on Freiman’s subsequent double to the left-center gap. Williams followed with a single up the middle, but Balisteri made a diving stop behind the bag to prevent Freiman from scoring. His effort was for naught, as Lemmerman came up in the next at-bat and doubled home Freiman.

Duke posted another score in the bottom of the third, with Hassan once again the instigator. The Duke right fielder earned a one-out walk to get on for Gould, who then dropped a base hit into no man’s land behind a backpedaling Tech shortstop Ty Hohman. After a double steal, Freiman drew a walk to load the bases for Williams. The Duke catcher followed with a fielder’s choice to third that was able to score Hassan.

Tech got two of those runs back in the top of the fifth thanks to Bumbry’s second home run of the season, a deep shot to center field that served as the Hokies’ eighth long-ball of the year. The home run also scored designated hitter Ronnie Shaban, who led off the inning two batters earlier with a walk.

The Blue Devils pushed the lead to two, 4-2, in the bottom of the sixth, when Hassan scored his third run of the contest. He reached with a one-out single to right before racing to third on a line drive up the middle by Gould. Williams then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Hassan.

The Hokies answered in the top of the seventh to cut Duke’s advantage to one run. Hohman led off with a walk before Bumbry came through again, this time with a two-out single to right field. Then, with Balisteri at the plate, Bumbry got caught in a rundown trying to steal second. During the game of cat-and-mouse, an errant throw by the Duke second baseman allowed Hohman to scoot home for Tech’s third run of the game.

The Hokies finally knotted the contest at four apiece in the top of the eighth when right fielder Austin Wates skied his first home run of the season, a solo shot, over the left-field wall. The home run marked the second multi-home run game of the season for the Hokies.

Tech and Duke will conclude the three-game series on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1 p.m.

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

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