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The three underclassmen contributed almost all of Tech’s offense on the day, as the Hokies tallied nine hits to VMI’s 11. Tech came through in the clutch, however, as six of the Hokies’ runs came with two outs, while the Keydets left 11 runners on base.
Wates and Balisteri each hit home runs for the Hokies, who improved to 12-6 with the win and 11-2 in non-conference play. Shaban went 3-for-4 and scored twice in the game, falling just a home run shy of the cycle. Starting pitcher Josh Wymer (1-0) earned his first win of the season after holding the Keydets (8-10) to two runs on five hits in five innings of work. He matched a season-high with five strikeouts.
The Keydets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning thanks to a two-run homer by first baseman Jordan Ballard. It was his fourth long-ball of the season and it also scored second baseman A.J. Yoder, who led off the game with a single.
The Hokies claimed the lead for good in the bottom of the second inning with a home run of their own. After Shaban and Balisteri reached on a single and a double, respectively, Wates lined a shot over the left-field fence for his second round-tripper of the year, making it 3-2 Hokies.
Tech added two more runs in the fourth when Balisteri cranked his second homer of the year deep over the left-field wall to make it 5-2. Shaban scored on the play after hitting a two-out triple, the first three-bagger of his young career.
Tech’s final two runs came in the bottom of the seventh. The first was courtesy of designated hitter Anthony Sosnoskie, who brought Wates home from third with a sacrifice fly to center field. Tech center fielder Steve Bumbry also scored, coming home on a passed ball after he doubled and stole third.
VMI picked up a futile run in the eighth, when right fielder Sam Roberts touched home on a single by left fielder Brian Sandridge.
The Hokies are scheduled to return the field this weekend with a three-game ACC series against Georgia Tech at English Field. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday’s game will begin at 1 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).