March 23, 2012
Hokies lose ACC home opener to Duke
Tyler Horan hits two home runs in 5-3 setback
Duke (9-14) 3000010105100
Virginia Tech (17-7) 0011100003101
  • English Field - 1,163

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Hokies’ eight-game home winning streak came to an end Friday night as Virginia Tech was dealt a 5-3 loss at the hands of the visiting Duke Blue Devils in the Hokies’ first game of their first ACC home series at English Field.

Tyler Horan hit two solo home runs and Jake Atwell had three hits for Tech, but it wasn’t enough as the team fell to 17-7 on the season, 2-5 in the ACC. Duke rode starter Marcus Stroman through eight innings to get the win, improving to 9-14 overall and also 2-5 in the ACC.

The Blue Devils opened the game in the first by loading the bases on Tech starter Joe Mantiply and then plated all three when Mike Rosenfeld hit a two-out double into the right-field corner and Duke was on top 3-0.

Mantiply settled in and held the Blue Devils off the scoreboard over the next four frames while the Hokie offense was able to knot the score with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Horan hit his home runs in the third and fifth to sandwich a Jake Atwell run in the fourth with Alex Perez driving him in.

In the sixth, a two-out RBI single by Andrew Istler put Duke back on top, 4-3, and the Hokies squandered a chance to tie the game in the home half of the sixth.

Atwell led off with a triple, his fourth of the year, but was left stranded as Stroman struck out the side. He then allowed just one single over the next two frames to keep the Hokies off the board. He went eight innings and struck out eight batters.

Istler earned his third save of the year pitching a perfect ninth to help Stroman improve to 3-2. Mantiply suffered the loss, his first of the year, and is now 3-1. Clark Labitan struck out four in 1.2 innings of work and Jake Joyce threw 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to finish the game for Tech.

Andy Perez led Duke with three hits, while Chad Pinder and Andrew Rash joined Horan with a two-hit evening.

The two teams will continue their ACC series with another game on Saturday at English Field starting at 2 p.m.

Additional Notes: Tech is still just one win shy of 2,000 victories in its program’s history. The 8-0 start at home to open the season was the longest opening-season streak at English Field. It was also the longest winning streak at any point during a single season since 1997 (nine wins, April 19-May 11) and the second-longest winning streak since 2000, which spanned two seasons (10 wins, April 24, 1999-March 4, 2000). Tech is now 13-2 when collecting at least 10 hits in a game – the only other loss was Feb. 19 at Kennesaw State. The Hokies have hit 22 home runs this season, 16 have been solo shots. Horan’s two home-run game was the first of his career. Atwell notched his third three-hit game of the season and leads the team with 12 multi-hit games.

For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).

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