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February 19, 2011
Hokies battle back for 11-9 victory
Tech scores nine runs after the fifth inning, including three in the ninth.
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CONWAY, S.C. – Virginia Tech twice battled back to take the lead, the second time for good, as the Hokies found some offense and recorded an 11-9 victory over Tennessee Tech on Saturday afternoon at Watson Stadium in their second game of the Caravelle Resort Tournament.

Junior Ronnie Shaban had three RBI for Virginia Tech, as he drove in one run in each of his last three at-bats. The final gave the Hokies a two-run lead in the top of the ninth, and he then closed out the game on the mound to pick up his first career save.

Virginia Tech found itself down four runs after one inning, but starter junior Marc Zecchino found his groove after the first. He allowed just one hit and one run over the next four frames as the Hokies mounted a come back. He finished with a career-high tying five strikeouts in five innings of work.

After leaving three runners stranded in the first two innings, freshman Chad Morgan came through in the third with a two-out bases-loaded single back up the middle to score a pair of runs.

Three frames later, they finally chased Golden Eagle starter Matt Shepherd as they sent eight men to the plate and scored three times to tie the game at five.

Morgan started the rally with a single, followed by a junior Jake Atwell single. Senior Matt Blow executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, and reached first on a throwing error by Shepherd.

Junior Johnny Morales then singled home one, junior Gabe Ortiz sacrificed in a second, and Shaban brought in the third with a ground ball.

Sophomore Andrew Rash put the Hokies up 6-5 in the seventh, as he drew a walk, moved to second on a balk and got to third on a fly ball to center. He scored on a wild pitch with two outs, the second time in as many days the Hokies capitalized on such a miscue.

Tennessee Tech (0-1), however, put another four spot on the board in the bottom of the seventh, with Zach Stephens, who went 2-for-3 with four RBI, coming through with the big hit, a two-out two-run double to left center. The Golden Eagles scored two more unearned runs as they took a 9-6 lead into the eighth.

Virginia Tech continued its offensive onslaught, plating two more runs in the eighth on another Shaban RBI grounder and then senior Tim Smalling getting his first hit of the spring, lacing a ball to deep center for an RBI triple.

After seniors Sean McDermott (0.2) and Brandon Fisher (0.1) worked a scoreless eighth, the Hokies came to bat in the ninth still down one.

Blow changed that with one swing of the bat. His one-out solo home run over the right field fence tied the game at nine, but the Hokies were not done.

With another two-out rally, they took a two-run lead, as Ortiz and senior Michael Seaborn went back-to-back with doubles and Shaban collected his third RBI with a single. For Seaborn, it was his third run of the day, tying a career-high.

Shaban was called upon to close the game, and after hitting the first batter, he struck out the second then got the final two outs on grounders to give the Hokies their second win of the young season. Fisher picked up the win, while Chad Hayes suffered the loss for the Golden Eagles.

Virginia Tech (2-0) has scored 15 runs this season so far, with nine of them coming with two outs. Also, the bullpen has done its job, throwing six combined innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out five.

The Hokies will finish the tournament on Sunday as they take on the hosts Coastal Carolina with first pitch slated for 3:30 p.m.

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

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