BLACKSBURG, Va. – Brendon Hayden hit a two-run home run to tie the game in the second and Mark Zagunis hit a two-run home run as part of a five-run fifth to help lead the Virginia Tech Hokies to an 8-4 victory over Boston College on Friday night at English Field.
The first of the three-game ACC series was with another goal in mind as well, as part of the team’s ALS Awareness game. Recently, former Eagle player Pete Frates, who played for Virginia Tech Head Coach Pete Hughes for three seasons while Hughes was at Boston College, was diagnosed with ALS.
To shed more light on the disease, the teams honored the former player by wearing special batting practice jerseys with the slogan “Strike Out ALS”. Also, Frates was there for a ceremonial first pitch.
Tech (20-12, 3-10 ACC) starter Joe Mantiply may have had the night’s slogan in his head when he took the mound tonight. Because after allowing a two-run home run in the first inning to BC’s Anthony Melchionda, he was in command the next six frames.
The only threat the Eagles made to score in that span was on a Matt McGovern single to left which had Tom Bourdon try to score from second. However, Tyler Horan gunned down the BC base runner at the plate for his second outfield assist of the year.
Thanks to Mantiply’s scoreless frames, the Hokies were able to take control of the game. Hayden smacked his homer with two outs in the second, scoring Andrew Rash to tie the game and Alex Perez scored on a passed ball in the third to put Tech on top 3-2.
The big inning was the fifth, as the Hokies sent nine men to the plate with five of them crossing it. Perez tripled to lead off the frame and Zagunis followed with a home run. Horan walked, moved to third on Johnny Morales’ double and scored on a sac fly by Ronnie Shaban.
Morales came home on a Chad Pinder RBI single and Andrew Rash scored on a Hayden RBI single, which gave the freshman his third of the game, a season-high.
Boston College (13-17, 4-9 ACC) plated a single run in the eighth with a Melchionda RBI and one in the ninth with a John Hennessy RBI to complete the scoring.
Mantiply improved to 4-2 with the victory, tossing a season-high 7.1 innings and striking out a career-high 10 batters. He allowed three runs on six hits and three walks. Clark Labitan closed out the game with two strikeouts and an earned run. Eric Stevens suffered the loss for BC and is now also 4-2.
The two teams will return to English Field for the second game of the series on Saturday with a Noon start time. The game will be televised by RSN and can also be seen on ESPN3.
Additional Notes: Mark Zagunis extended his hitting streak to a team season-high 13 games and has now reached base in 24 straight games, both longest streaks since 2010 season. He also notched his 10th multi-hit game of the season. Joe Mantiply becomes the first Tech pitcher with at least 10 strikeouts in a game this season. Alex Perez registered his first three-hit game, which included a pair of triples. That ties a Hokie single game record, which has been done by 11 others, most recently by Austin Wates (at Charleston Southern, Feb. 28, 2010). Tyler Horan drew three walks in the game, a career-high. Clark Labitan appeared in his team-high 18th game. In the BC-VT series, Coach Hughes has now won seven straight conference games in Blacksburg (the last three as head coach at BC in 2006, and now the last four at Tech – three in 2010 and Friday night). The Hokies are now 15-2 when collecting 10+ hits, 15-6 when they steal a base, 11-1 when pitchers strikeout 10+ batters and 6-3 when they hit two home runs in a game.
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