BLACKSBURG, Va. – On Senior Day at English Field, Virginia Tech’s seniors played key roles playing in their final game for the Hokies, but it wasn’t enough as #12 Georgia Tech defeated the Hokies, 5-3, in the host’s final game of the year on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Yellow Jackets earn a share of the Coastal Division Championship, but advance into the 2011 ACC Baseball Championships as the third seed, improving to 39-17 on the year and finishing 22-8 in the conference. The Hokies end their season at 30-25 overall and 11-19 in the league.
Highlighting the final game of the regular season was seniors Matt Blow and Chris Kay, who combined for five hits, and the Tech bullpen that threw four senior pitchers and did not allow a run over five innings.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, Blow, who was in the leadoff spot, hit the first pitch he saw off the right field wall for his second triple of the year. Senior Michael Seaborn followed with a sacrifice fly and the Hokies tied the game at 1-1.
Georgia Tech regained the lead in the third on a sacrifice fly and then padded its advantage with three more in the fourth. Jacob Esch scored his third run of the game and Matt Skole came home as well on the big hit, a two-RBI double by Jake Davies, who had three RBI in the game.
In the bottom of the fourth, senior Tony Balisteri hit a one-out single and scored one out later on Kay’s single to left, one of his team-high three hits in the contest.
Senior starter Joe Parsons, in his fifth inning of work, allowed back-to-back hits to leadoff the frame, which put runners on the corners and that is when the Hokies went to their pen.
Senior Brandon Fisher threw a total of three pitches to get out of the jam, as Brandon Thomas lined into a double play, as Johnny Morales dove for the liner and doubled up Mott Hyde on third. His next pitch to Zane Evans resulted in a flyout to left.
Fisher worked a perfect sixth inning to keep the Yellow Jackets still within reach at 5-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, senior Tim Smalling recorded his sixth triple of the season, tying for fifth all-time in a single-season at the school, and came home as shortstop Esch’s relay throw sailed into the Virginia Tech dugout.
Next, it was senior Sean McDermott’s turn to keep Georgia Tech in check, as he retired the seventh in order, striking out Hyde to end the frame for his 93rd career punchout.
Senior Kyle Cichy and Manny Martir (listed as a senior on the team, but is expected to return for another season) kept the Yellow Jackets off the scoreboard over the last two innings, as the pen did not allow a hit and just three base runners over the last five frames.
However, Georgia Tech closer Luke Bard did his job as well, striking out five over the last two innings, allowing only Kay to reach base with a two-out single in the ninth.
Buck Farmer improved to 10-2 with his seven-inning outing and Bard saved his eighth game. Parsons dropped to 7-3, losing for the first time since April 3.
The Hokies honored all of their seniors before and during the game, a list that included Kay, Seaborn, Smalling, Balisteri, Fisher, Danny Farris, McDermott, Blow, Jake Peeling, Cichy and Parsons.
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