BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech scored two runs in the bottom of the third inning and used strong pitching and defense to make it hold up, as the Hokies defeated No. 11 Florida State, 2-1, in ACC baseball action Friday evening at English Field.
The Hokies, who improved to 19-17 overall and 4-12 in ACC action, recorded their first one-run victory of the season. With the loss, the Seminoles fell to 24-10 overall and 9-7 in league play.
Tech took a two-run lead in the third, when, with two outs, third baseman Johnny Morales walked and scored on a triple to left field by designated hitter Jake Atwell. Atwell then scored on a wild pitch by FSU starter Sean Gilmartin.
Florida State scored its lone run in the top of the fifth inning when third baseman Sherman Johnson received a lead-off walk and stole second with one out. Shortstop Justin Gonzalez walked and designated hitter Taiwan Easterling was hit by a pitch by Hokie starter Joe Mantiply.
After second baseman Devon Travis grounded into a fielder’s choice, Mantiply walked catcher Rafael Lopez, plating Gonzalez with the Seminoles only run.
Mantiply improved his record to 4-5 on the season with the victory. He pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on just three hits, striking out four and walking four.
Manny Martir ended the Seminole threat in the sixth with a grounder, but got into his own bases loaded jam in the seventh. Atwell entered the game as a pitcher in the frame and struck out the first batter he faced, then got a fly out to center to end that threat.
In all, Atwell pitched two and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball. He only allowed two hits and struck out two without allowing a walk to earn his first save of the year.
On the other side, Gilmartin lost his first game of 2011 and is now 6-1. He threw an eight-inning complete game, allowing just four hits, one walk, two runs and struck out seven batters.
Of Tech’s four hits on the evening, two were triples. Along with Atwell’s, right fielder Gabe Ortiz tripled in the bottom of the fifth inning, but was thrown out at the plate on an attempted squeeze play.
Shortstop Tim Smalling continued his impressive two-week stretch. For the sixth straight game, he had at least two hits, a pair of singles, and also stole a base in the victory.
The two teams will continue the series tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at English Field. The game, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m., was moved later in the day in anticipation of inclement weather in the New River Valley on Saturday. The game will still be televised live by regional sports networks.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).