WILMINGTON, N.C. – For the second straight year, the Virginia Tech baseball team opened its season with three straight wins, picking up a pair of victories on Saturday in the UNC Wilmington Tournament. The Hokies handed Kent State an 8-1 setback before shutting out the host Seahawks, 9-0, and have now won 21 straight non-conference games, the third longest streak in school history.
Two quality starts by Brad Markey in game one – 7.0 innings pitched, eight hits, one earned run and five strikeouts – and Devin Burke in game two – 6.0 innings pitched, one hit, two walks and six strikeouts – was backed by early run support. In both games, Tech scored first and had three runs through three frames.
Highlighting the Tech offense on the day was Tyler Horan, Andrew Rash and Chad Pinder, who all had three RBI combined in the two games. Pinder actually hit a three-run home run, his second of the season, in the first game breaking the game wide open in the sixth. Gary Schneider and Sean Keselica both went deep with two-run shots against UNCW, in the sixth and seventh, respectively, to pad the Hokies’ lead.
Schneider also crossed the plate five times on Saturday, while Zagunis (3), Pinder and Hayden (2 each) also crossed the plate more than once. Horan led the team with five hits, while Matt Dauby had four, and Schneider and Rash had three each.
Out of the pen, Hayden worked two scoreless frames with a strikeout to close out the game against the Golden Flashes, and Keselica worked the final two innings against UNCW - as the game was called after eight innings due to rain.
Tech (3-0) will conclude its first weekend of the season with another game against the hosts, with first pitch slated for 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Kent State-UNCW game that starts at noon.
Additional Notes: The Hokies’ longest non-conference winning streak (excluding postseason) was during the 1977-78 seasons, when they won the last 31 of ’77 (lost two in the NCAA) and the first four of ’78. The second longest is from 1914-1916, when Tech won the last three of ’14, went 21-0 in ’15, and won the first game of ’16. The Hokies just passed the 1982 team that won 20 in a row during the season Tech has only been retired in order three times this season. Rash’s double in the fifth inning against UNCW was the 150th hit of his Tech career. The Hokies wore their maroon tops today, they were 15-5 last year when they wore maroon. In 1993, Tech started the season with five straight wins and since then only the 2009 Hokies (four) and the 2012 Hokies (three) had opened a season winners of their first three.
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