March 4, 2011
Hokies split with visiting Bryant
Andrew Rash has a hand in all six runs scored, Marc Zecchino strikes out a career-high 11 batters.
Bryant (4-3) 021000000351
Virginia Tech (7-3) 000010100251
  • English Field
Bryant (4-4) 000000000021
Virginia Tech (8-3) 30100000X470
  • English Field - 189

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Marc Zecchino tossed eight scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters as Virginia Tech defeated Bryant University 4-0 to earn a split in a non-conference baseball doubleheader at English Field on Friday. Bryant won the opening game, 3-2, behind the five-hit pitching of Peter Kelich.

Zecchino and reliever Sean McDermott combined on a two-hit shutout as the Hokies moved their overall record to 8-3. Bryant, which got five-hit pitching from four pitchers during the first game, is now 4-4 on the season.

Redshirt junior Zecchino carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of game two before yielding a one-out single to Bryant second baseman Dan Muscatello. The Bulldogs only other hit was a double by shortstop David Soltis with two outs in the seventh. Zecchino, who improved his record to 2-0, walked just one batter in facing only two batters over the minimum over his eight innings.

After struggling to get two runs in the opening game, Tech scored three runs in the first inning of the nightcap. All three of the runs came on left fielder Andrew Rash's fourth home run of the season. The blast was preceded by a one-out single by shortstop Tim Smalling and a walk to first baseman Ronnie Shaban. Rash went to work again in the third inning, producing a two-out RBI-single to increase the Hokies' lead to 4-0.

Tech finished with seven hits in the game, including two each from Rash and freshman right fielder Chad Pinder. On the day, Rash was 4-for-8 and drove in five of the six runs scored by the Hokies during the twinbill and scored the other.

Bryant struck first in the opening game, posting a pair of runs in the top of the second on a soft double down the right field line by catcher Mike Delponte. First baseman Jamie Skagerlind drew a two-out walk and third baseman Tim Norton followed with a single to set the stage for Delponte's two-bagger. The Bulldogs capitalized on another walk an inning latter as right fielder Joseph Carcone got a free pass to open the third. After he was sacrificed to second, Carcone raced home on Kevin Brown's single to right.

Bulldog starter Kelich pitched three perfect innings before giving up a leadoff single to Tech center fielder Tony Ballisteri, who was quickly erased on a double-play. Kelich faced the minimum number of batters over his first 4 1/3 innings before Tech got on the board. A one-out single by Rash, followed by a two-base smash to deep left center by designated hitter Matt Blow cut the lead to 3-1 in the fifth.

Rash pulled Tech within a run in the seventh and chased Kelich in the process. Smalling led off the inning with a long double to center and came in to score when Rash lashed a one-out single to left field. That ended Kelich's day, but three Bulldog relievers combined to hold Tech hitless the rest of the way to preserve the sophomore right-hander's first win of the season against one loss. Mark Andrews, who pitched the ninth inning, saw Tech get the tying run on base via an error before coaxing a game-ending double-play for his second save of the year.

Tech starting pitcher Joe Maniply (2-1) pitched a career-high eight innings and absorbed his first loss despite allowing just three runs on four hits. He struck out eight batters, to tie a career best, and walked three.

The first game marked the third time this season Tech has lost by a single run - actually all of their losses. Combined over the two games, Hokie pitchers held Bryant scoreless for 15 straight frames and registered its second shutout of the season.

Due to the threat of inclement weather, the four-game series is now slated to conclude with a double-header on Saturday morning at 11. The two teams will not play a game on Sunday.

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

HokieSports Shop