May 28, 2010
Clutch offense lifts Hokies to 9-8 win over Clemson
Ryan drives in Rash for game-winning run
(16) Clemson (37-21) 020400110872
(18) Virginia Tech (38-19) 50011101X9134
  • Greensboro, NC - 3,419

GREENSBORO, N.C. Sean Ryan’s single in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Andrew Rash to lift sixth-seeded Virginia Tech over second-seeded Clemson, 9-8, in the eighth game of the ACC Championship on Friday afternoon at NewBridge BankPark.

The dramatic ending moved the 18th-ranked Hokies to 2-0 in the tournament and 38-19 on the season, and put them in control of their own destiny entering Saturday’s showdown with NC State at 8 p.m. Should the Hokies defeat the Wolfpack, they would advance to Sunday’s conference championship game against either Florida State or Miami. The 16th-ranked Tigers fell to 0-2 in the tournament and 37-21 on the season.

Ryan’s only hit of the ballgame couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Hokies were looking to respond to Clemson pinch-hitter Chris Epps’ RBI groundout that had knotted the game at 8-8 in the top of the eighth. Tech’s senior center fielder roped a two-out single up the middle to score Rash, who avoided the tag by Clemson catcher Phil Pohl to put the Hokies in the lead.

Rash’s double was Tech’s 139th two-bagger of the season and set a new team record, surpassing the mark of 138 doubles set just last year by the 2009 squad. The redshirt freshman outfielder also homered in the game, as did designated hitter Buddy Sosnoskie, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Right fielder Austin Wates tallied three of Tech’s 13 hits.

Tech reliever Ben Rowen worked the final two outs of the eighth inning, as well as the entire ninth, to earn the win and improve his record to 5-1 on the season. He allowed two hits and struck out two in his 34th appearance of the season, which tied a school record set by Rhett Ballard back in 2007. Clemson reliever Kevin Kyle (0-1) took the loss despite facing just two batters. He allowed Rash’s double in the eighth before being replaced, but was responsible for the run.

Much like in their game on Thursday, the Hokies hopped out to an early lead in the first inning with the help of a home run. Second baseman Michael Seaborn scored the first run on a single by Wates, and catcher Steve Domecus registered the second run on a ground out to the pitcher by first baseman Ronnie Shaban. Following a walk issued to shortstop Tim Smalling, Sosnoskie crushed an opposite-field shot to left field, clearing the bases and giving the Hokies a 5-0 advantage. It was Sosnoskie’s 10th round-tripper of the year, good for second on the team.

The Tigers answered back with a homer of their own in the top of the second to cut Tech’s lead to 5-2. After right fielder Kyle Parker led off the frame by reaching on an error, shortstop Brad Miller ripped his seventh four-bagger of the year to center field get Clemson on the board.

Clemson took a brief lead in the top of the fourth, scoring four runs on just two hits thanks to three errors made by the Virginia Tech defense. Left fielder Jeff Schaus scored the first run of the frame on a single by third baseman John Hinson, while Parker and Hinson both scored on a double from designated hitter Richie Shaffer. Shaffer then advanced to third on an error by Smalling and came home when Clemson’s John Nester reached on an error by Brent Zimmerman.

The Hokies quickly knotted the game at 6-6 in the bottom half of the fourth, with Smalling touching home on a throwing error by Hinson that came on a fielder’s choice ground ball hit by Rash. Tech then took the lead in the fifth on an RBI double from Shaban that scored Wates, who had singled.

Rash tacked on another run for the Hokies in the sixth when he sent a towering home run deep to left field to make it 8-6 Hokies. It was Rash’s fifth home run of the season in just his 70th official at-bat.

Schaus matched Rash in the top of the seventh inning with a solo shot of his own, sending his 15th long ball of the year over the right-field wall to cut Tech’s lead to 8-7.

The victory for Tech avenged a three-game sweep that came at the hands of the Tigers when the two teams met March 19-20 in Clemson. The Hokies have not played NC State this season.

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

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