April 25, 2009
Wright pitches Hokies to 7-4 upset of No. 11 Miami
Sophomore strikes out a career-high 10 batters
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Virginia Tech (25-16) 000600010790
(11) Miami (28-14) 0100000034113
  • Alex Rodriguez Park - 2,698

CORAL GABLES, Fla. Sophomore pitcher Justin Wright turned in a commanding, eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance on Saturday night, leading the Virginia Tech baseball team to 7-4 victory over 11th-ranked Miami at Alex Rodriguez Park.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Virginia Tech and improved the Hokies’ record to 25-16 overall and 10-12 in the ACC. It was Tech’s second win over the Hurricanes in the past two years – the Hokies upset then-No. 1 Miami last May – and it marked Tech’s third win over a top-20 team this season. The Hurricanes’ record dropped to 28-14 overall and 12-11 in league play.

The Hokies collected nine hits in the game, and seven of them came in one huge inning that ended up being the deciding factor. Tech pushed across six runs in the fourth inning to overcome the fact that they struck out a season-high 16 times as a team.

But none of those strikeouts mattered thanks to the career-high 10 doled out by Wright, who was dominating in throwing his fourth straight game of at least seven innings. The sophomore left-hander has enjoyed great success against the Hurricanes in his two seasons, as he tossed his first collegiate complete game versus Miami in Blacksburg last year. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk in this one, winning his fourth consecutive decision to improve to 5-1.

“He’s really good,” Tech head coach Pete Hughes said of Wright. “All that kid does is give us quality and dominating starts, and eventually he’s going to start getting some recognition for it.”

Wright was aided by the Hokie defense, which tied a season high by turning three double plays and played errorless ball for the third straight game.

Yasmani Grandal, who homered in Friday’s game, did so again in the second inning of this one, sending a solo shot to left-center field to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead.

The Hokie bats lit up in the top of the fifth, as eleven batters came to the plate and strung together seven hits – more than three times their total of two from Friday’s game – to put six runs on the board. Austin Wates and Anthony Sosnoskie got things started with a single and walk, respectively, before three consecutive Hokies delivered RBI singles. Mike Kaminski, Ronnie Shaban and Michael Seaborn were the ones to do the initial damage, while Buddy Sosnoskie followed the trio with a two-run double to right-center field. After Miami starter David Gutierrez (2-5) finally got the second out of the inning, Klint Reed contributed a base hit of his own before Steve Bumbry capped the onslaught with the final run-producing base knock of the frame.

Tech put another run on the board in the eighth thanks to a pair of mistakes by the Miami defense. Shaban reached with one out when he was hit by a Michael Rudman pitch, and then made it to third when the Miami first baseman threw a fielder’s choice grounder by Wates into left field while trying to start a double play. Shaban then came home to make it 7-1 Hokies when Rudman was called for a balk.

Miami gave the Hokies a scare in the ninth, scoring three runs to set the final score at 7-4. Pinch hitter David Villasusso led off the comeback attempt with his first career home run, ending Wright’s complete game bid in the process. Sophomore Brandon Fisher came on in relief of Wright and recorded two outs, though he allowed an RBI single to Dave DiNatale and an RBI double to Iden Nazario before giving way to Ben Rowen. Rowen struck out Vickash Ramjit to end the game and earn his third save.

The final contest of the three-game series is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

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

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