BLACKSBURG, Va. – Johnny Morales does it again. This time he comes through with a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to plate the winning run as Virginia Tech continues its winning streak with a 5-4 victory over North Carolina A&T Tuesday night at English Field.
Morales, who drove in the game-winning runs in Tech’s only extra inning contest this season – a 9-6 victory at Liberty back on March 22 – came to the plate with the bases loaded and no one out. He laced the first pitch he saw through a five-man drawn-in infield to plate Zac MacAneney.
Matt Blow led off the frame with a double to center and then was replaced by the pinch-runner. Chad Morgan was then intentionally walked before Chris Kay, who was attempting to sacrifice, was walked to load the bases before Morales’ hit.
With the win, Tech (24-19) has now won five in a row for the first time this season and will look to carry that momentum into its ACC series this weekend at Duke – starting on Friday at 6:00 p.m. NC A&T fell to 14-26 with the loss, despite the valiant effort.
After the first out of the game, NC A&T struck first, with five straight singles plating three runs in the first, with Dario Little driving in the first and Luke Tendler bringing in a pair.
Tech starter Eddie Campbell struck out the final two batters of the frame and then retired the side in the second with another strikeout. He allowed a lead-off triple to start the third, and Little followed by driving in Marquis Riley for his second RBI of the game to put the Aggies up 4-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Hokies cut their deficit in half with a pair of two-out triples. Morales reached base with a one-out bunt single and took second when NC A&T pitcher Craig Erskine threw wide of the bag. Gabe Ortiz followed with an RBI single, as did Tim Smalling to make it a 4-2.
Tony Balisteri led off the fourth inning with the Hokies third triple of the game, but was left stranded after a fly out, a walk, and the Aggies third double play turned in the contest.
The Hokies tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run home run from Ortiz, plating Michael Seaborn, who singled, with his 47th run of the season.
Patrick Scoggin – three innings, three hits, three walks and two strikeouts – and Jake Joyce – two innings, one hit and four strikeouts – combined to hold the Aggies scoreless over the last five innings of the game. They got some help, as the Hokies turned a pair of double plays.
Joyce picked up the win and improved to 2-2 on the season, while Erskine, who threw a complete game, suffered the loss.
The Hokies registered 12 hits in the game, marking the seventh straight game and the 12th time in their last 13 games they have reached double figures. With Ortiz’ homer, Tech has now also hit a home run in 15 of its last 17 games.
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