BLACKSBURG, Va. – Tyler Horan, again, led the Hokies offense, but it was Mark Zagunis’ second home run of the day that sent No. 22 Virginia Tech off the field with 7-6 victory over visiting Marist in 10 frames at English Field in non-conference action Sunday afternoon.
In all, the Hokies hit five home runs that accounted for all of its runs, and three of them were hit with two outs that produced five RBI. Tech improved to 33-19 with the victory as Marist fell to 25-21-1 with the loss.
Sean Keselica and Zagunis each hit solo home runs in the first inning to open the scoring for Tech, and in the third, Horan hit a two-out, two-run shot that put the Hokies up 4-0.
The Red Foxes plated solo runs in both the fourth and fifth frame to cut their deficit in half only to see Horan go deep again with another two-out, two-run home run. It was his fourth long ball of the weekend and his team-leading 10th of the season, which made it 6-2.
Brad Markey started the game on the mound and went six frames with four strikeouts. He allowed two runs on nine hits and walked one, but was helped by the Hokie defense that turned three double plays behind him.
However, Marist, who had 16 hits in the game, but just one for extra bases, got to the Tech bullpen, combining for seven hits in three innings and scored two runs in both the eighth and ninth to knot the game and send it to extra innings.
After Clark Labitan worked a scoreless 10th – the team’s seventh extra-inning game of the year – Zagunis came to the plate with one out and ended the game on a 2-2 pitch that gave him his first career multi-home run game and his eighth long ball of the season.
Labitan earned his first win of the year and is now 1-5, while Jordan Eich dropped to 1-2 with the loss.
Tech, who over the weekend secured a spot in the upcoming ACC Baseball Championship in Durham, N.C., will play its final ACC series of the year when it welcomes Wake Forest to English Field for a three-game set. The series starts on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Additional Notes: Tech has now won 11 of its last 13 games. The five home runs hit by the Hokies were the most hit by the team since February 25, 2011 when they hit seven versus Niagara. It was also the last time two players each hit two home runs in a single game – Tim Smalling and Andrew Rash.Zagunis scored a career-high four runs in the game – two on his own home runs and one each on Horan’s home runs. Horan’s three-game week saw him hit .538 with three doubles and four home runs (1.692 slugging percentage) and drive in nine RBI. He now leads the team with a .332 batting average and .599 slugging percentage. Horan becomes the first Hokie to hit 10 home runs in back-to-back seasons since Brad Bauder did it in 2002 and 2003. This was Tech’s 14th walk-off win under Coach Hughes. Zagunis joins Horan, Rash and Austin Wates as the only men under Hughes to hit a walk-off home run. The seven extra-inning games is a school record as is the five wins, as they improved to 5-2 with the victory.
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