CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – It was another dramatic finish at Davenport Field on Sunday, as No. 27 Virginia scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to claim a 6-5 victory over Virginia Tech and take the ACC series, two games to one.
Trailing 5-2 entering the eighth, the Cavaliers actually scored two in that frame as well helping them win their 14th straight ACC home series – last losing to Miami in March 2009. They improved to 9-5-1 overall, 2-1 in the conference. Tech, which had won three straight road ACC series, drops to 12-4 and 1-2 in the ACC.
Virginia struck first in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with just one out. Keith Werman drove in Derek Fisher with a sacrifice fly to left and the Cavaliers went on top 1-0.
The Hokies evened the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth with an unearned run. Johnny Morales led off with a single and moved to third on Andrew Rash’s two-base error. Tyler Horan then got new life when his foul ball was dropped and came through with his own sacrifice fly to left.
It was the same two men on second and third in the sixth inning and helped the Hokies take a 3-1 lead. With one out, Morales came home on a groundout by Sean Keselica and then pinch-hitter Kyle Wernicki singled home Rash.
The Cavaliers cut into the deficit with a single run in the bottom of the frame on a Nate Irving two-out single that scored Fisher.
Tech answered right back in the top of the seventh, with a two-out rally of its own. Alex Perez hit a one-out single, but moved to third on Mark Zagunis’ single to center. Chad Pinder, whose 13-game hitting streak ended a day before, welcomed Virginia reliever Shane Halley with his 11th double of the year, scoring both Hokies and increasing their lead to 5-2.
In the eighth, back-to-back hits by Fisher, an RBI double, and Irving, an RBI single, brought the Cavaliers back to within one at 5-4 entering the ninth.
With one out, the home team loaded the bases which prompted Tech to bring the infield in, add a fifth infielder and have the left-handed pitching Eddie Campbell face Fisher. The alignment worked, as Fisher grounded into a fielder’s choice as the Hokies cut down the lead runner at the plate.
Same scenario with two out and the right-handed batting Irving was countered with Jake Joyce, who did want he wanted, getting Irving to hit a ground ball. However, he legged out an infield single and drove in the winning run.
Marc Zecchino started the game for Tech and tossed seven strong, allowing just six hits and three runs with four strikeouts. Clark Labitan suffered the loss and fell to 3-1 on the season, while Justin Thompson, who threw just 0.2 innings picked up the win in relief, one of five Virginia pitchers to see action.
Tech has a busy week upcoming with a pair of midweek home games against Radford (Tuesday) and Wagner (Wednesday) at 5:30 p.m. before heading to Georgia Tech for its second ACC weekend series of the year.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).