CONWAY, S.C. – Behind a strong pitching performance from Joe Mantiply and a two-run blast by Andrew Rash, Virginia Tech opened the 2011 baseball season with a 4-2 victory over Indiana in the first game of the Caravelle Resort Tournament Friday afternoon at Watson Stadium.
Mantiply, a sophomore southpaw, went a career-high seven innings, scattered nine hits, allowed two earned runs and struck out five Hoosiers on the way to his first victory of the season. Junior Ronnie Shaban threw a perfect eighth and sophomore Jake Joyce closed the game in the ninth to pick up the first save of his career.
After pitching out of a bases-loaded first-inning jam, Mantiply surrendered the first run of the game in the second frame as Indiana’s Micah Johnson singled home Dustin DeMuth. He had led off the inning with a bunt single, which was the only lead-off runner Mantiply and the Hokies would allow in the game.
Tech responded in the bottom of the third with junior Johnny Morales singling to lead off the inning and senior Michael Seaborn drawing a one-out walk. Shaban singled home the Hokies first run and Seaborn scored on a wild pitch with two outs to put his team ahead, 2-1.
Rash gave the Hokies a three-run cushion with his first home run of the season. With two down in the fifth and Shaban on first, the sophomore hit a ball over the left-center field fence to put Tech on top 4-1.
Indiana (0-1) took one back in the top of the sixth, stringing three straight singles together with the third by pinch-hitter Wes Wilson scoring Michael Basil.
Mantiply got the next two batters to ground out to end the threat. He then retired the side in the seventh, the last out recorded with his fifth strikeout of the afternoon.
Shaban struck out one in the eighth inning and Joyce allowed a one-out walk in the ninth before ending the game with a fly ball to Rash.
Tech (1-0) wins its 60th season opener and improves to 4-0 all-time against the Hoosiers. The Hokies will return to the diamond Saturday to face Tennessee Tech with first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m.
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