BLACKSBURG, Va. – Ronnie Shaban and Mark Zagunis each drove in three runs and the Virginia Tech baseball team again had to come from behind to pick up a victory, this time taking the lead in the seventh and holding on for a 7-3 win over Davidson at English Field on Tuesday evening.
With the win, the Hokies improved to 28-15 overall and have now won 15 straight non-conference games, the longest streak since the 1982 team won 20 in a row. The comeback was the 21st for the team this season and the 16th when trailing entering its at-bat in the fifth inning or later.
Davidson (16-22) made Tech work for the victory after taking an early 1-0 lead in the first frame and increasing it to 3-1 with two runs in the top of the fifth. Jake Berman scored two runs and drove in the only Wildcat run with a single, as he scored his runs on a double play and a wild pitch.
Andrew Rash had tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning with his sixth home run of the year, the 30th of his career, but his first since a March 13 blast against Radford. He had gone 92 at-bats between home runs. He ended the day with a season-high three-hit effort, also with a double, and scored three runs.
He also scored off a Zagunis RBI double in the bottom of the fifth frame to make it 3-2. For Zagunis, the hit extended his reached base streak to 35 straight, the longest for a Hokie freshman as a member of the ACC Conference and the longest since 2009 (Anthony Sosnoskie, 41). Also, since 2005, Tech's first baseball season in the ACC, only two other freshmen had more hits than Zagunis' 52 this season - Shaban (2009, 57) and Austin Wates (2008, 70).
Off reliever Danny Mooney, Tech started its seventh-inning rally with a Chad Pinder single, one of three hits for the sophomore, and an Alex Perez walk. Pinch hitter Kyle Wernicki then hit a bunt single, his team-leading fourth pinch hit of the season to load the bases.
After a force out groundball at home, Zagunis hit a high chopper over the third baseman’s head for a two-run double and a Hokies’ 4-3 lead. Tyler Horan was issued his fourth intentional walk of the season to load the bases again and Shaban came through with a bases clearing double.
It was the senior’s second double of the game, the ninth of the season and the 65th of his career. The number is just one shy of the Tech career record held by Addison Bowman (1998-01). He is also all alone in 20th place all-time in the ACC and his next one will tie him for 18th place. He also pushed his career RBI number to 175.
The Hokies used eight pitchers in the game which featured the first appearance of the year for Brendon Hayden (2.0 IP/4 K) and Jake Atwell’s return to the mound (1.0 IP) for the first time since March 10.
Tanner McIntyre faced just four batters and struck out all four over the sixth and seventh frames and was the pitcher of record. He improved to 4-0 out of the pen this season. Mooney suffered the loss and is now 1-3.
Tech will return to English Field this weekend for an ACC series with Maryland which begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
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