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BLACKSBURG, Va. – Joe Parsons pitched a career-high seven strong innings as Virginia Tech defeated the Liberty University Flames, 9-1, in a non-conference baseball outing at English Field on Wednesday. The win improved Tech to 7-2 on the season, while the Flames fell to 3-6.
Parsons retired the first seven batters he faced and stranded runners in scoring position during the third, fourth and sixth innings before giving up an unearned run in the seventh. The senior right-hander struck out a career-high seven batters and walked just two on the way to his second win without a loss. Relievers Sean McDermott and Brandon Fisher each added a scoreless inning for the Hokies, Fisher adding two punch-outs to end the game.
Tim Smalling got Tech on the board in the bottom of the first. The senior shortstop drew a two-out walk from Liberty starting pitcher Steven Evans and then scored all the way from first on a double off the wall in deep center by designated hitter Andrew Rash. Rash scored the Hokies’ second run in the fourth when he led off the inning with a walk, moved to third on a single to right by first baseman Ronnie Shaban and came home as redshirt freshman catcher Chad Morgan grounded into a double play.
Tech took advantage of two costly errors by the Flames in the fifth. A two-out, two-base throwing error on a grounder off the bat of center fielder Tony Balisteri opened the door for three runs. Balisteri came home with the first run on a single by second baseman Michael Seaborn, who moved all the way to third on a fielding error in left field. Smalling followed with an RBI-double and eventually scored on another single by Shaban.
The ball never left the infield as the Hokies opened the gap to 9-0 in the sixth with the help of another inning-opening error by the Flames. Freshman left fielder Chad Pinder reached on the visitor’s fielding error, moved to second on an infield single by third baseman Johnny Morales and took third on a bunt-single by Balisteri. Seaborn brought Pinder home with another infield hit and Moarales scored as Smalling grounded out to first. A wild pitch plated Balisteri, and Seaborn scored the final run on a groundout by Rash.
The Flames’ Justin Sizemore led off the seventh with a single, moved to second when teammate Austin Taylor drew a walk, took third on a passed ball and finally came home as second baseman Dalton Sype grounded out to the shortstop.
Tech finished with nine hits in the game with Shaban and Seaborn collecting two each. Smalling, Rash and Seaborn drove in two runs apiece for the Hokies. Sizemore led the Flames with two hits, while Steven Evans (0-2), the first of six Liberty pitchers, took the loss.
Tech is scheduled to open a four-game weekend series against Bryant University with a 3 p.m. game at English Field on Friday.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).