March 6, 2010
Hokies complete double-header shutout sweep of Long Island
Starters Hahn and Mantiply combine for 17 strikeouts in pair of wins

BLACKSBURG, Va.Virginia Tech registered consecutive shutouts in Blacksburg for the first time since 2004 with a double-header sweep of Long Island University, 6-0 and 11-0, at English Field on Saturday at English Field.

Saturday’s sweep marked the first back-to-back shutouts, home or away, tossed by the Hokies since March of 2003, when they won at Seton Hall and Liberty on consecutive days. It was the first double-header shutout for the Hokies since April 6, 2002, when Tech won a pair of games at Villanova, as well as the first-known double-header shutout at home in Tech history.

Tech improved to 7-2 with the victories, while Long Island fell to 1-6.

Hokie pitchers Jesse Hahn, Ronnie Shaban and Ben Rowen combined on a three-hit shutout in the opener, with Hahn picking up the win to improve to 3-0 on the season. The shutout was the first for Tech at English Field since a 5-0 win over Longwood on March 21, 2007.

Hahn and Long Island left-hander Matt McCormick hooked up in a pitchers’ duel during the early innings of the opening game. The Tech starter retired the first 13 batters he faced before yielding a soft single to right field off the bat of LIU outfielder Drew Walsh with one out in the fifth. The junior right-hander had exceeded a career-high for strikeouts by the end of the third inning. He ended up fanning nine batters over his seven innings of work, allowing just two hits and walking only one.

McCormick (0-1) allowed a base runner in each of the first four innings, but only allowed one to advance as far as second base. He benefited from a double-play, a pickoff and a caught stealing to hold the Hokies in check.

Tech finally managed to break up the scoreless contest in the bottom of the fifth when second baseman Michael Seaborn doubled to right with one out. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Seaborn scored the game’s first run on a single by Shaban, who opened the game at third base.

McCormick left the game after a one-out single by Tech shortstop Tim Smalling in the sixth inning. Blackbirds’ reliever Emerson Morillo failed to retire a batter in a brief stint that included two wild pitches, two walks, a hit batsman and an error. Smalling scored the Hokies’ second run on the first wild pitch. Tech first baseman Austin Wates and catcher Steve Domecus, both of whom reached on walks by Morillo, also scored during the frame. Wates came home on a sacrifice fly by Seaborn, while Domecus scored all the way from second base on LIU’s second error of the inning.

Shaban moved to the mound in the eighth and pitched himself in and out of a jam. The junior right-hander hit a batter and walked a man but used a pair of strikeouts and a lineout to maintain the shutout. In the bottom of the inning, Shaban lashed a two-out double to score a run and then came home on a single by center fielder Sean Ryan to extend the Hokies’ lead to 6-0. Rowen assured the shutout with a scoreless ninth inning.

Shaban, Domecus and left fielder Luke Padgett led Tech’s 11-hit attack with two hits each. Shaban also collected a pair of RBIs, while Domecus scored twice.

Strong pitching remained the order of the day for the Hokies in the nightcap. Freshman lefty Joe Mantiply (2-0) started and worked six impressive innings, allowing just three hits, while striking out eight batters and walking only one. Reliever Marc Zecchino ran into trouble in the seventh, allowing a walk and a single before settling down to retire the next three batters, including two on strikeouts. Junior college transfer Manny Martir and freshman Patrick Scoggin each coaxed a double play while holding the Blackbirds scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

Catcher Anthony Sosnoskie’s third home run of the season staked the Hokies to a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap. Right fielder Mike Kaminski duplicated the feat in the third inning with his second round-tripper of the year for a 2-0 Tech advantage.

A three-run double by designated hitter Chris Kay capped a five-run sixth inning for the Hokies that stretched their lead to 7-0. Tech also got an RBI-single from Sosnoskie and a sacrifice fly from Seaborn during the inning.

A pair of pinch-hit home runs provided three more Tech runs. Buddy Sosnoskie joined his older brother with a homer thanks to a solo shot in the seventh, while redshirt freshman Andrew Rash entered the game an inning later with a two-run blast. The younger Sosnoskie closed out the scoring with a run-producing fielder’s choice in the eighth.

Tech continued its trend of double-digit hits in every game this season with 15 in the nightcap. Anthony Sosnoskie led the way with three, while Smalling, Wates and Shaban finished with two each.

Long Island catcher Tyler Jones had two of the Blackbirds’ five hits, including a double. LIU starting pitcher Adam Sauter (0-2) took the loss.

Tech and Long Island are scheduled to close out their four-game series with a 1 p.m., game on Sunday.

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