March 8, 2009
Duke claims series from Tech with 7-5 win
Hokies return home to host Bryant on Monday
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Virginia Tech (9-3) 000200003573
Duke (8-3) 02111020X7111
  • Jack Coombs Field - 478

DURHAM, N.C. – Despite a three-run, ninth-inning rally to make things interesting, the Virginia Tech baseball team dropped the final game its three-game set with Duke on Sunday by a score of 7-5 at Jack Coombs Field.

The setback downed the Hokies’ record to 9-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. Duke improved to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the league after the opening weekend of conference play.

The Hokies threatened with three runs on four hits in the top of the ninth, but it ultimately proved to be too little, too late. Down 7-4, Tech had runners on second and third with two outs and Austin Wates at the dish. After Duke right fielder Alex Hassan made the move to the mound to close out the game, he walked Wates to load the bases. He then drilled Anthony Sosnoskie with a 1-0 pitch to bring home Klint Reed, who had doubled Steve Bumbry home earlier in the inning. Tech catcher Steve Domecus then flew out to right field to end the contest. Freshman Ronnie Shaban delivered a pinch-hit groundout to drive in the frame’s first run.

Hassan was credited with his third save of the season for the Blue Devils, while Dennis O’Grady worked five innings of relief to pick up the win. Tech starter Mathew Price was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits through six innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Offensively, Reed tallied two hits, an RBI and a run scored to pace Tech, which was also helped by Domecus’ two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning. Jeremy Gould went 3-for-5 on the day to finish the three-game series 9-for-15.

Duke drew first blood in the rubber match, posting two runs against Price in the second inning. Gould started the inning with a single and moved to third on designated hitter Tim Sherlock’s base knock to right field. Will Piwnica-Worms grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Gould with the first run of the game. Price then coaxed Duke third baseman Ryan McCurdy to hit a come-backer to the mound, but the Tech pitcher threw wide of first base, allowing Sherlock to score on the error.

Price ran into trouble again in the third inning when a hit batsman, sandwiched between a pair of Duke singles, loaded the bases with nobody out. The young right-hander allowed a sacrifice fly off the bat of catcher Matt Williams for a run, but struck out Sherlock and got a fly out to center to get out of the jam.

Blue Devil starting pitcher Ryan Knott held Tech hitless for 3.1 innings, but the Hokies’ first hit was a big one. After Sosnoskie reached base on a Duke fielding error with one out, Domecus smashed a home run into the trees behind the left-center field fence. The Tech junior’s third homer of the season cut the Devils’ lead to 3-2.

A leadoff single and a stolen base by Piwnica-Worms in the bottom of the fourth helped Duke get one of those runs back. A fly out to right moved the runner to third and he came

home as second baseman Gabriel Saade grounded to the shortstop. McCurdy singled home a run in the fifth to extend the Blue Devils’ lead to 5-2.

Duke pushed two insurance runs across in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to RBI singles by both McCurdy and Hassan.

The Hokies continue their five-games-in-five-days-stretch on Monday when they return home to face Bryant University at English Field at 3 p.m.

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

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