March 20, 2009
Ninth-inning GT homer trips up Hokies 10-9
Hohman, Shaban each record three hits
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(3) Georgia Tech (15-1) 10001002610134
Virginia Tech (12-7) 1101302109152
  • English Field - 334

BLACKSBURG, Va.The Virginia Tech baseball team took a 9-4 lead into the ninth inning, but the No. 3 Georgia Tech offense woke up with a six-run frame to win 10-9 on Friday night at English Field.

The clincher came on a three-run home run by Georgia Tech third baseman Matt Skole with the Yellow Jackets down 9-7 in the final inning. The visitors got back into it with four hits off of Hokie reliever Ben Rowen, who entered the game at the start of the inning. The final batter he faced, first baseman Tony Plagman, doubled home the inning’s second and third runs, before closer Jesse Hahn entered from the pen. Hahn walked right fielder Luke Murton before giving up the game-winner to Skole, who hit his fifth dinger of the season.

The tying and go-ahead runs were charged to Hahn, so he was credited with the loss for his first decision of the season. Georgia Tech reliever Jake Davies earned his first win after tossing the eighth inning. Mark Pope picked up his fifth save of the year.

The Hokies fell to 12-7 overall and 1-5 in the ACC, while Georgia Tech improved to 15-1 and 5-0 in league play.

The Hokie offense certainly did its part, totaling 15 hits on the night, including eight off of previously unhittable Deck McGuire, who entered the game with a 0.94 ERA and 35 strikeouts in his four starts this season, all wins. McGuire was touched up for six runs (four earned) in five innings of work. Shortstop Ty Hohman and third baseman Ronnie Shaban each collected three hits apiece for the Hokies.

Georgia Tech posted a run in the opening inning on a two-out single by Plagman that brought home Derek Dietrich from second. Dietrich, the Yellow Jackets’ shortstop, had reached on a walk and advanced to second base as teammate Jeff Rowland was retired in a rundown after he was picked off second.

The Hokies answered with one of their own in the bottom of the inning. Leadoff batter Austin Wates beat out a dribbler to the second baseman for an infield single. A wild pitch by McGuire allowed Wates to reach second and he scored from there on a two-out single by left fielder Steve Domecus.

A pair of inning-opening fielding errors gave the Hokies a 2-1 lead after two frames. Rowland’s three-base error in center on a ball off the bat of Hohman set up first baseman Marc Zecchino’s run-scoring grounder to third, which was also misplayed.

Hohman gave Virginia Tech a 3-1 lead in the fourth with an RBI-single. Catcher Anthony Sosnoskie’s infield single started the inning. Sosnoskie took second on another McGuire wild pitch and was sacrificed to third by Domecus. Hohman then laced a pitch to right field to bring the run home.

Hokie starting pitcher Rhett Ballard retired 12 consecutive batters after giving up the RBI-single to Plagman in the first. The senior right-hander’s string ran out when he walked Patrick Long with two outs in the fifth. Georgia Tech left fielder Chase Burnette followed with a single and Rowland doubled down the left field line to trim the lead to 3-2.

Ballard ended up throwing seven-plus innings on the night, allowing four runs on six hits, while striking out six.

The Hokies gave Ballard three more runs to work with in the bottom of the fifth and extended their lead to 6-2. Shaban got things started with a lead-off double, and he came home to score when shortstop Tony Balisteri singled in the next at-bat. After stealing second and moving to third on a passed ball, Balisteri came in to touch home on a pop single to no man’s land in shallow right field by Sosnoskie. Domecus promptly doubled off the wall in left field to score the Tech catcher for the frame’s final run.

Tech picked up two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh on another pair of miscues by the Yellow Jackets. After drawing a two-out walk, Domecus advanced to third on a single by Hohman. Then, with Hohman stealing second, the Georgia Tech catcher tried to catch Domecus off guard with a snap throw to third. The throw got away, allowing Domecus to score and Hohman to advance to third. Hohman would then come home on a wild pitch by Yellow Jacket reliever Zach Brewster.

The Yellow Jackets got two runs back in the eighth to make it 8-4. Dietrich led off with a single but made it to second on an error by Tech center fielder Steve Bumbry. He then moved to third on a wild pitch by Ballard before scoring on a single from catcher Jason Haniger. Haniger went station to station, eventually touching home on a single by Skole.

Tech added one in the eighth when Balisteri singled home Mike Kaminski, who recorded his third hit in six pinch-hit appearances this year.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, that one run wasn’t enough, as Georgia Tech pushed six across in the top of the ninth, including the game-winning three-run home run by Skole, to complete the comeback victory.

Game two of the three-game series is scheduled to get underway at 5:30 p.m., on Saturday.

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

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