BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Rider Broncs scored nine runs on eight hits in the sixth inning to take a lead that they wouldn’t give up, eventually claiming a 10-6 victory over Virginia Tech in non-conference baseball action on Wednesday night at English Field.
Rider improved to 6-7 with the win, while the Hokies saw their four-game winning streak come to an end and fell to 13-5.
Tech starter Manny Martir actually took a perfect game into the sixth inning with the Hokies up 3-0, but that’s when the Broncs’ bats woke up and turned the game in Rider’s favor. Third baseman Adam Wayman and right fielder Karl Johnston each had two hits in the inning, with Wayman scoring twice and Johnston driving in three.
Martir, a junior right-hander who had thrown just one inning this season after transferring from Indian River College inJacksonville, Fla., was untouchable through the first five innings, retiring all 15 batters he faced, including seven strikeouts. But the Broncs figured him out in the sixth, as Martir allowed six hits and two walks in the frame. He ended up getting credited with eight runs, all earned, to take the loss. He finished with eight strikeouts.
Rider starter Chris Taylor picked up the win after tossing 5.1 innings. He allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits, while walking none and striking out one.
Even before the decisive sixth inning, things weren’t quite going Tech’s way despite Martir’s efficiency, the 3-0 lead and a giant shamrock painted on the center-field grass to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Shortstop Tim Smalling drove in Austin Wates for the game’s first run with a two-out single in the fourth, but Smalling injured his shoulder sliding into second trying to advance on the throw home and was forced to leave the game.
Then, in the fifth inning after a run-scoring triple by Tony Balisteri, starting right fielder Mike Kaminski laid down a bunt single that brought Balisteri home. Kaminski rolled his ankle beating out the throw to first and he, too, was forced to leave the game.
The Hokies managed three runs in the bottom of sixth, with Steve Domecus scoring on a throwing error and Anthony Sosnoskie producing a two-run double, but that would be all Tech could muster the rest of the way.
Rider’s Nick Wojnowski set the final score in the seventh inning with a solo home run off the right-field foul pole.
Both Smalling and Kaminski are expected to be available to play during the Clemson series, which begins on Friday at Clemson at 6:30 p.m.
The Hokies wore special green jerseys and caps as part of the St. Patrick’s Day theme, and the jerseys are currently up for auction at (www.hokiesports.com/auction). A photo of the jerseys and more information is available at (http://www.hokiesports.com/baseball/recaps/20100316aaa.html).
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).