LYNCHBURG, Va. – A walk-off home run by Liberty’s Tyler Bream in the bottom of the ninth spoiled a magnificent outing by Virginia Tech pitcher Marc Zecchino, as Liberty University came out on top of a pitcher’s duel by a score of 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
Zecchino came on at the start of the third inning in relief of starter Rhett Ballard and turned in the best performance of his career, allowing just one run on one hit, one walk and four strikeouts. He tied a personal best by tossing six innings, and even retired 13 consecutive batters at one point. But he was lifted after walking Liberty leadoff batter Matt Williams in the ninth with a 3-1 lead.
Sophomore Sean McDermott came in and allowed a single to center fielder Curran Redal before getting catcher Errol Hollinger to foul out. Then, with a 1-2 count on designated hitter Cody Brown, McDermott was forced to leave the game with an apparent arm injury. Junior Ben Rowen came on and got Brown to fly out to right field, but Bream followed with a three-run shot to right field that ended the game in dramatic fashion.
The loss dropped to Rowen’s record to 3-2 on the season and felled the Hokies’ mark to 25-14. Liberty improved to 26-13 with the win, with reliever John Long (1-0) getting credit for the victory after tossing the top of the ninth. There were just nine total hits in the game, with the Flames collecting five to the Hokies’ four.
Liberty’s Brown provided the game’s first run when he pounded a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the second inning.
After registering just one hit through the first four frames, the Hokies finally got to Liberty starting pitcher Chris McDougal in the fifth. McDougal hit Hokie left fielder Steve Domecus with a pitch to start the inning, and Anthony Sosnoskie followed with a double to the left-field corner that allowed Domecus to race all the way home for Tech’s first run. After a Ronnie Shaban groundout advanced Sosnoskie to third, the Hokies’ catcher came home on a base knock up the middle by second baseman Michael Seaborn.
A sacrifice fly to center field by Tech first baseman Austin Wates brought home third baseman Ty Hohman for a run in the top of the sixth. Hohman had led off with a walk before moving to third on a single to right by center fielder Steve Bumbry.
Tech will return to conference play this weekend with a three-game set at Miami. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Comcast Sports Southeast will televise Saturday’s contest.
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