BLACKSBURG – An unassisted double play by third baseman Chad Pinder in the ninth sealed the Virginia Tech baseball team’s upset win over No. 4 Florida State, 3-2, in ACC action Friday evening at English Field.
With the victory, Tech improves to 19-8 on the season, 6-4 in league play, while Florida State now sits at 23-2, 7-3 in the ACC.
After both teams stranded two runners in the first inning, Florida State had a chance to get on the board in the second. With two outs and runners on the corners, FSU tried a double steal, but Seth Miller was thrown out at the plate to preserve the scoreless tie.
Florida State starting pitcher Brandon Leibrandt (4-2) walked three of the first four batters he faced in the third, however one was picked off. With two outs, and runners on first and second, Mark Zagunis hit a single up the middle to bring home Gary Schneider and get Tech on the board.
The Hokies added a pair of runs in the fourth when Kyle Wernicki scored all the way from first on a two-out double by Sean Keselica. Schneider followed with an RBI single scoring Keselica to put Tech up 3-0 at the end of the fourth.
With no outs in the top of the sixth, the Seminoles put their only runs on the board when D.J. Stewart hit a two-run homer over the fence in right-center field, scoring Marcus Davis, who led off with a single.
Tech starter Brad Markey (3-2) went the distance for the Hokies, recording his second complete game of the year. He scattered 11 hits and one walk, while striking out four in a career-high nine innings pitched. He allowed just the two-run home run and was helped by his defense the entire night.
The Hokies turned four double plays in the game, but none more important than Pinder’s that sealed the victory for the Hokies. With one out, FSU’s Jose Brizuela was standing on third, after a leadoff double and a sacrifice. However, pinch hitter Casey Smit lined a ball towards Pinder, who snagged it then dove toward the third base bag and doubled off Brizuela, tagging the bag with his glove.
In a schedule change, the two teams will now play a doubleheader on Saturday, due to impending weather. The first game will start at 2 p.m. and will be followed by the second game – 45 minutes after the completion of the first game.
Additional Notes: The win on Friday was the first for the Hokies over a top-five team since the 2010 season (the last of five that season), when they defeated Georgia Tech (April 24). Tech has turned 28 double plays this season, nine with Markey on the mound. Of his seven starts, Markey has five quality starts and he has not allowed a run in 38 of his 51 innings pitched. Tech is now 4-6 against teams ranked No. 4 – the last win, at Florida State, 8-7 – and are 9-30 against top-five teams.
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