Fair 57°
April 23, 2011
Rash hits two out in 11-2 victory
Andrew Rash now has 16 home runs this year, Marc Zecchino evens record at 4-4

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Andrew Rash hit a pair of home runs and Marc Zecchino turned in another quality start as Virginia Tech defeated Maryland 11-2 Saturday afternoon in ACC action at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

In all, Rash had three hits – the fourth time in the last five games – four RBI and three runs scored to help the Hokies improve to 22-19, 6-14 in the ACC. Zecchino (4-4) went eight innings, scattered 10 hits, struck out three and allowed just one earned run to drop Maryland to 17-24 overall and 4-16 in league play.

Ronnie Shaban also had three hits for the Hokies, driving in two, while Matt Blow also drove in a pair and Michael Seaborn scored two times.

Tech got on top early by putting two on the board in the top of the first inning. Seaborn drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Shaban drove him home with a single to left for his 150th career RBI in a Tech uniform. Rash followed with his team-leading 15th double of the season to plate Shaban.

Maryland’s starter Brady Kirkpatrick (2-2) settled down and retired eight straight after Rash’s double, but when he stepped to the plate again, it pretty much ended his day.

He hit Rash with a pitch, walked Tony Balisteri and Blow followed with a two-RBI double. After a strikeout for the second out of the third, Johnny Morales hit a bunt single and a wide throw allowed him to go to second and Blow to score.

Jake Atwell, who went hitless on the day and ended his 11-game hitting streak, followed with a walk and then moved to third and Morales scored on a failed pick-off attempt. Seaborn hit his 14th double of the year – 40th of his career – to plate Atwell, who did extend his game-scoring streak to 12 straight. Shaban then knocked in Seaborn again for his team-leading 46th RBI, which put the Hokies up 8-0.

Meanwhile, Zecchino was cruising on the mound, scattering a single an inning before running into his first jam in the third. Back-to-back one-out singles put the first Terrapin on second base. However, he got a fly out and a strikeout to end the threat.

In the fourth, Austin Kilbourne hit the first extra base hit off Zecchino – a one-out double – but was left stranded on second, which he also did two frames later when Aaron Ramsey led off with a double but was left right there.

Rash blasted his first home run of the day to lead off the seventh inning, marking the 14th time in the last 14 games Tech has hit a home run. It was the team’s 51st long ball of the season, its 29th solo shot and the 12th time the Hokies have led off an inning with a home run.

Down by nine, Maryland finally put a run on the board, as another double lead to a Charlie White one-out RBI single, but just as he did in the first and would do in the eighth, Zecchino got a double play ball to end the frame and allow no more damage. The team has now turned 39 double plays, nine while Zecchino has been on the mound – the highest number for any Tech pitcher.

For good measure, in the ninth, Tim Smalling led off with a double and came around to score on Rash’s second home run of the day, his team and league-leading 16th of the season. It also gave him 43 RBI for the season.

Entering the week, he was in the top five nationally in home runs, and has now gone deep in four of the last five games. He has also now hit more home runs by another Hokie since 1996, when Kevin Barker hit a team-leading 20 home runs.

Tech will face Maryland in the final game of the series with first pitch at Noon on Sunday.

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

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