BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech dropped a pair of ACC conference games to Clemson on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers took the first game 7-2 and won the second game, 8-3. The losses drop the Hokies to 28-23 overall and 9-17 in conference play, while Clemson improves to 36-15 overall and 15-11 in ACC action.
The Tigers pounded out 27 hits combined in the two games, but were limited to 25 singles – their two extra base hits were home runs that decided game two. The Hokies had eight extra base hits on the day of their 14 total.
Clemson got things started in the top of the first inning of the first game, as John Hinson scored on a fielder’s choice by Will Lamb. The Tigers scored again in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Hinson, scoring Chris Epps. Spencer Kieboom then scored on a wild pitch with two outs.
Tech cut into the lead in the bottom of the third inning, as catcher Chad Morgan had a lead-off double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. He then scored on a single to right by designated hitter Jake Atwell. Atwell then scored from first on a double by second baseman Michael Seaborn, making the score, 3-2.
Clemson extended the lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Jeff Schaus singled in two runs and Jason Stolz plated another run on a sacrifice fly. Tech kept the Tigers from scoring again until the top of the ninth inning, when Chris Epps plated Lamb on an infield groundout.
Tech threatened in the bottom of the ninth, putting runners on the corners with no one out, but after a two hour, two minute weather delay, Tech went down in order.
Starter Joe Mantiply took the loss, falling to 5-7 on the season, while Dominic Leone improved to 5-1. Atwell and Morgan each had two hits for the Hokies.
In game two, the Hokies got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning. Designated hitter Matt Blow hit a solo home run to right field, giving the Hokies a 1-0 lead. The Tigers took the lead in the top of the third inning, when Hinson homered to right with a runner on, giving CU a 2-1 lead.
Tech tied the score, 2-2, in the bottom of the third inning when third baseman Johnny Morales doubled and scored on a two-out RBI double by Seaborn. Clemson jumped back out in the lead in the top of the fourth inning on a two-out, RBI single by Epps.
Tech tied the score 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Left fielder Andrew Rash singled, moved to third on a single by Tyler Horan and scored on a pinch-hit single to left by Chad Pinder.
Clemson reclaimed the lead in the top of the eighth inning. After a walk and a single, Atwell replaced starter Marc Zecchino and promptly allowed a three-run home run to right by Brad Miller. The Tigers added two more runs in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Epps and a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Steve Wilkerson.
Zecchino, now 5-5 on the season, pitched seven and a third innings, allowing seven hits, striking out seven and walking just one batter. CU reliever Joseph Moorefield goes to 2-1 on the season, as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the only batter he faced. Matt Campbell earned his second save of the season for the Tigers.
Clemson pitchers held the Hokies to just six hits in the game, with no Hokie garnering two hits. Miller had three hits in the second game for the Tigers.
The two teams will play the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon at English Field. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
Additional Notes: This was Tech’s sixth doubleheader of the season and the first time they lost both ends. It has been more than seven years since the Hokies played more than five doubleheaders in a season, when they played 11 in the 2004 season. Blow’s home run was the 58th hit by Tech this year and the 31st solo shot. Tim Smalling notched his 50th career double in game one. With his two doubles on the day, Michael Seaborn now has 350 career total bases. He also now has 20 doubles this season, two shy of fifth on the school’s all-time single-season list. Chad Pinder’s triple in game one was the Hokies’ 25th this season, tying the 1994 squad for most in a single season in school history.
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