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March 15, 2010
Offensive outburst leads Tech to 22-10 win over Columbia
Smalling hits for cycle
English Field - 103123456789RHE
Columbia00172000010163
Virginia Tech 34120912X22260
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BLACKSBURG, Va. Shortstop Tim Smalling hit for the cycle and Virginia Tech registered season highs for runs and hits to win a 22-10 slugfest against Columbia on Monday night at English Field. The win improved Tech’s record to 12-4, while the Lions slipped to 2-5.

The game, which was tied at 10-all after five innings, featured 42 combined hits, including seven home runs, and lasted just under four hours (3:52). In all, 23 players from the two teams contributed at least one hit during the evening and 18 scored at least one run.

The Hokies collected 26 hits, including five homers, a triple and six doubles. Smalling led the way with a 5-for-5 night that included two singles, a double, a triple and a home run. He also scored five runs and drove in three. Tech right fielder Austin Wates was 4-for-4 with four runs batted in and five runs scored, while left fielder Steve Domecus collected four hits, three runs scored and two RBIs. Second baseman Michael Seaborn drove in five runs.

Domecus’ sixth home run of the season got Tech off and running. The senior outfielder drove the first offering from Columbia starting pitcher Stefan Olson high over the left field fence to open the bottom of the first inning. A double by Wates, followed by single off the bat of Smalling, gave the Hokies runners on the corners with one out in the inning. Third baseman Ronnie Shaban drove Wates home with a ground out to second, and Smalling raced home on Olson’s second wild pitch of the frame for a 3-0 Tech lead.

A Columbia fielding error opened the door for a four-run second inning. Hokie first baseman Matt Blow reached base on the error with one out in the inning and moved to second on a single by Domecus. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Sean Ryan and came home on Wates’ first homer of the year. Smalling then made it back-to-back round-trippers with a solo shot to center, his third of the season.

The Lions got on the scoreboard against Tech starting pitcher Marc Zecchino in the top of the third inning. Shortstop Alex Godshall drew a lead-off walk, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a single by center fielder Nick Cox. In the bottom of the third, Buddy Sosnoskie collected Tech’s fourth homer of the game on the first pitch from reliever Harrison Slutsky for an 8-1 lead. It was the second of the year for Sosnoskie.

It took Columbia just an inning to erase the Tech advantage. The Lions sent 10 men to the plate in the fourth and used six hits, including a couple of home runs of their own, to score seven times and knot the score. Cox and designated hitter Alexander Aurrichio smacked two-run homers during the stanza, while catcher Dean Forthun contributed a two-run double. Godshall also brought home a run with a groundout.

Smalling tripled home a run and then scored on an error for a short-lived 10-8 Tech lead in the bottom of the fourth. Columbia countered in the fifth with Forthun singling in one run and the other coming in as the Hokies turned a double play.

Tech finally managed to break the game open in the sixth, when its first eight batters of the inning reached base and scored. Overall, the Hokies sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on eight hits. The key hit in the inning was a three-run double by Seaborn. Smalling contributed an RBI-double in the inning to complete his cycle, while Wates collected a pair of hits and scored his fourth and fifth runs of the game.

Seaborn drove in a run in both the seventh and eighth innings as the Hokies tacked on three late runs. The other run came on a pinch-hit home run by senior Luke Padgett, his first since 2007

Freshman Jake Joyce, the third of five Tech pitchers, picked up the victory with two shutout innings. He allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one on the way to his first collegiate decision. Reliever Harrison Slutsky (0-1) took the loss.

Cox and Forthun had two hits and three runs batted in apiece for Columbia, which finished with 16 hits.

The Hokies will continue their 12-game homestand on Tuesday when Rider comes to town for a game scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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

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