February 19, 2010
Tech falls to Kentucky in season opener
Rough third inning leads to 15-6 Hokie loss
Virginia Tech (0-1) 1000200306113
Kentucky (1-0) 11800203X15152
  • Conway, SC - 348

CONWAY, S.C. Despite tallying just four fewer hits than Kentucky, the Virginia Tech baseball team dropped its season opener on Friday to the Wildcats by a score of 15-6 at the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Conway, S.C.

The difference in the contest proved to be an eight-run third inning by the Wildcats that pushed the Tech deficit to nine runs (10-1). The Hokies tried to fight back with two runs in the fifth and three in the eighth, but the Wildcats equaled Tech on both occasions keep the final margin at nine.

Tech had won three of its prior four season openers, and its all-time record on opening day is now 59-56-2. The game was the first of the year for Kentucky as well, which tied the all-time series between the two schools at four games apiece.

Four Hokies recorded two hits each in the game, including leadoff hitter and center fielder Sean Ryan, preseason All-American first baseman Austin Wates, senior catcher Anthony Sosnoskie and senior right fielder Mike Kaminski. Wates and Sosnoskie each drove in two runs, while Wates added two walks and a stolen base. Redshirt junior shortstop Tim Smalling, who started in the 2007 and 2008 seasons for Arkansas before transferring to Tech, made his Hokie debut with a two-run single and a run scored against his former SEC opponents.

Junior left-hander Justin Wright got the start on the mound for the Hokies but never quite got going, lasting only 2.1 innings and allowing 10 hits. He gave up a career-high 10 runs (eight unearned) to take the loss. He struck out two and walked none.

For the Wildcats, preseason All-American second baseman Chris Bisson went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, two runs and a pair of doubles to lead the charge. Six-foot-nine right-hander Alex Meyer, who ranked sixth in the nation last year with 12.06 strikeouts per nine innings, started on the mound for Kentucky and fanned eight Hokies in five innings of work to pick up the victory.

The Hokies got on the board in the top of the first with an unearned run. Smalling reached on a fielding error by the Kentucky third baseman, and after he moved to second when Wates drew a walk, he came around to score the season’s first run when Sosnoskie slapped a single through the left side.

Kentucky tied it up in the bottom half of the first thanks to a leadoff double by Bisson. He moved to third on a fly to right by Braden Kapteyn and then came home on a sac fly to left by Macus Nidifer.

In the bottom of the second, Keenan Wiley’s towering solo shot over the right field wall gave the Wildcats a lead that they would not give up the rest of the way. Kentucky followed that up by unloading seven hits for eight runs in the third inning to chase Wright from the game and build a 10-1 lead.

The Hokies got two runs back in the top of the fifth inning. Wates tripled off the center field wall to plate DH Matt Blow, who led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out. After left fielder Steve Domecus was hit by a pitch, Sosnoskie laced a base hit through the right side to score Wates for his second RBI single of the game and cut the Kentucky lead to 10-3.

However, Kentucky’s Andy Burns answered with a two-run homer to left field in bottom of sixth to extend the Wildcats’ lead back to nine at 12-3.

Tech chipped away at the lead in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with one out for Smalling, who singled over the shortstop to left-center to score Kaminski and pinch-hitter Andrew Rash, who walked in his first collegiate plate appearance. Ryan moved to third on the play, and soon scored when Wates singled through the left side for his second hit of the game. Wates is riding a 14-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

Kentucky got those three runs right back in the bottom of the eighth with the help of Tech’s third error of the game to set the final score of 15-6.

The Hokies will return to action tomorrow at 4 p.m., when they are scheduled to face tournament host and 12th-ranked Coastal Carolina.

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

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