KENNESAW, Ga. – The Virginia Tech offense woke up Saturday morning led by Chad Pinder’s phenomenal game at the plate and the pitchers continued their solid efforts as the Hokies registered an 11-1 victory over Bradley at Stillwell Stadium.
Pinder had a career-high four RBI and five hits, including a triple and four doubles, which matched Bryan Thomas’ school record. Ironically, Thomas’ effort was on Feb. 21, 2005 at Savannah State, the last time the Hokies played a non-conference game in the state of Georgia before this year's season opener. The four doubles in a single game also ties the ACC's single game record now done nine times (see list below).
Tech (3-0) struck for five runs in the second inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. Johnny Morales led off the frame with a walk, followed by a hit batter (Gabe Ortiz) and a single by Alez Perez that loaded the bases.
In his first collegiate plate appearance, Mark Zagunis singled home two and Jake Atwell made it 3-0 with an RBI groundout. Pinder, who doubled in his first plate appearance and also doubled home the game-winning run in Friday’s victory, scored Zagunis with another double and then came home on Ronnie Shaban’s RBI single.
That was all the run support the pitching staff needed as Marc Zecchino pitched five scoreless frames, allowing just two hits, three walks and striking out six.
He was replaced in the bottom of the sixth, after the Hokies tacked on two more in the top half of the frame. Zagunis and Atwell both scored on Pinder’s two-RBI triple, his fourth hit of the game – he also doubled in the fourth.
Andrew Aizenstadt took over on the mound and pitched three innings, allowing one hit, one unearned run, three walks and he struck out five in his Division I baseball debut.
In the seventh, four more Hokie runs crossed the plate, one on an bases loaded RBI walk by Perez, one on a sac fly by Zagunis, his third RBI of the game, one on another Atwell groundout and the fourth on Pinder’s record tying fourth double.
In the ninth, he came up with a chance to set a new standard for doubles, complete a 6-for-6 day, and collect extra base hits in seven straight at-bats, but his attempt was caught on the warning track.
Colin O’Keefe pitched the final inning for Tech and, after allowing a lead-off single, struck out two and got the final out on a liner to short.
The Hokies will play their final game of the weekend on Sunday against the host Kennesaw State Owls with a scheduled 3 p.m. first pitch.
Additional Notes: In 1993, Tech started the season with five straight wins and since then only the 2009 Hokies (four) and the 2012 Hokies have opened a season winners of their first three. With the two wins over Bradley (1-2), Tech is now 7-1-1 against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference. The Hokies have now won five straight non-conference games in the state of Georgia. With their 11 runs, the Hokies scored at least 10 runs for the first time this year. Last year, they were 14-2 when crossing the plate at least 10 times. With the win on the mound, Zecchino picks up career win No. 10. The Hokies have been retired in order just twice in 26 innings this season, while their opponents have been nine times. Tech starters combined for 19 innings pitched, 19 strikeouts, one earned run allowed, a 0.47 ERA, 11 hits and a .159 opponents batting average.
List of ACC players who have hit four doubles in a single game:
Greg Schuler, North Carolina vs. UMass - 3/18/80
Todd Wilkinson, North Carolina vs. VCU - 3/11/84
Brian Buchanan, Virginia vs. James Madison - 4/14/92
Jarrett Shearin, North Carolina vs. W&M - 2/24/98
Marshall McDougall, Florida St. vs. Miami - 4/30/00
Brian Patrick, Duke vs. Princeton - 3/16/02
Bryan Thomas, Va. Tech vs. Savannah St. - 2/21/05
Kyle Seager, North Carolina vs. Ga. Tech - 4/5/09
Chad Pinder, Va. Tech vs. Bradley - 2/18/02
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