MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Ronnie Shaban had three hits, two RBI and earned the save on the mound to help Virginia Tech to a 7-4 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers Friday afternoon in the first game of the Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach tournament at BB&T Coastal Field.
The Hokies overcame five errors on the day to improve to 4-1 overall while the Mountaineers dropped to 3-2 with the loss.
Thanks to a solo home run from Tyler Horan in the bottom of the fourth, Tech took a 1-0 lead, but it was short-lived as West Virginia plated three, two unearned, in the top of the fifth.
However, the Hokies responded with four runs in the bottom of the fifth with a one-out rally. Alex Perez drew a walk, Jake Atwell doubled and Chad Pinder drove in Perez with a single. Shaban then tripled home Atwell and Pinder and Johnny Morales followed with a sacrifice fly and Tech led 5-3.
After the Mountaineers cut their deficit to one with an RBI single from Matt Frazer, the Hokies answered back with another run as Pinder doubled and scored an unearned run on a Shaban single.
Perez gave Tech a third insurance run in the eighth with a two-out RBI single which scored Horan, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame.
Shaban came in from the pen and worked a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his second save of 2012. Andrew Aizenstadt, who threw 2.1 innings of relief with four strikeouts earned his first win. Manny Martir, who got the start, went just four innings with five strikeouts and did not allow a hit, Colin O’Keefe struck out one in 0.2 innings, and Clark Labitan struck out two in a scoreless eighth.
The Hokies return to action on Saturday with a pair of games at BB&T Coastal Field. They open with Coastal Carolina at 1 p.m. which is followed by a contest against George Mason at 5 p.m.
Additional Notes: Tech improved to 52-31-1 all-time versus WVU and 11-3 on a neutral field. With the win, the Hokies end a three-game slide on Feb. 24 and improve to 3-1 all-time playing in Myrtle Beach. When the Mountaineers scored an earned run in the fifth, it ended a string of 32 straight frames for Tech pitchers without allowing an earned run, the longest streak in the Hughes’ era. Meanwhile, Hokie starters have gone 26 straight innings without allowing an earned run. Tech has only been retired in order four times this season (43 innings) and no more than once in each game. The last time the Hokies won a game after committing five errors was April 9, 2010 – they actually committed six errors - in a 9-7 victory over Miami. For the fourth time this season, Tech pitchers combined to strike out at least 10 batters, punching out a season-high 14 on Friday.
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