BLACKSBURG, Va. – Tyler Horan had a career game, but it was Chad Pinder’s two-out, two-RBI triple in the eighth frame that lifted the No. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies to a 7-6 victory over visiting Marist at English Field in non-conference action Saturday night.
Tech trailed 6-5 entering the home half of the sixth and, in both the sixth and seventh, the Hokies had a runner on second with no outs and could not bring home the tying run. In the eighth, one-out back-to-back singles by Ryan Burns, who tied a season-high with three on the night, and Alex Perez set the Hokies up once again.
Hitless in three at-bats since a first-inning double, Pinder smacked a triple into right center and brought home the tying and go-ahead runs – his fifth game-winning RBI of the season.
Horan then stepped into the box and was intentionally walked. His night consisted of a two-out, two-run home run in the first, a solo home run in the third, an RBI double in the fifth – that tied the game at 5-5 – and another double that led off the seventh.
The four hits tied a career high, now done three times, the two doubles tied a career high, now done seven times, and the two home runs tied a career high, as he also hit two against Duke last year on March 23. The four RBI was one shy of his career high.
The Hokies had seven extra base hits in the game – the most since March 19 versus Liberty (9) – which included an RBI triple by Perez in the second and a Keselica double in the fifth, who scored on Horan’s double that tied the game.
Marist (25-20-1) used 16 hits – 14 of which were singles – to plate its six runs, which included a three-run fifth that gave them its first lead at 5-4.
The two teams will play another game on Sunday, the final regular season non-conference game for the Hokies, with a 1 p.m. start.
Additional Notes: The game was the 900th game coached by Pete Hughes. The Hokies are 10-2 in their last 12 games. Before Saturday, Tech was just 1-14 in games when trailing entering the eighth inning – the lone win was 2-1 at Duke in 11 innings on March 15. It’s the team’s 10th comeback win of the year, seventh when trailing as late as the fifth frame. With the win, Burke has now tied Joe Saunders (three times) and Jason Bush (once) for the most wins by a Hokie pitcher since Bush won 11 in 1999. Labitan’s eighth save is the most since Matt Daulton saved a Tech record 14 in 2003. It’s also the 11th of his career, just two shy of tying for the fifth most ever in a Hokie career.
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