The Hokies (40-21) advanced to play for the regional championship later Sunday evening against Oklahoma. UConn (35-28) saw its season come to an end.
“It was a really good college baseball game,” Virginia Tech coach Pete Hughes said. “High stakes were on the line. We got another quality start. Everything is predicated on a quality start, and we were fortunate enough to have one from Brad (Markey).
“I thought we did a good job with situational hitting and fundamental baseball on the offensive side today. I look at the three runs, but I thought we had quality at-bats. I thought the bat was on the baseball a ton, so I think our bats are still in good shape. Hopefully we can get them hot in the next game.”
Tech scored in the top of the second when Tyler Horan drew a lead-off walk and stole second base. Andrew Rash reached on an error by UConn shortstop Tom Verdi putting runners at first and third. Horan then scored when Chad Morgan grounded into a fielder’s choice.
The Hokies made it 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Horan hit a one-out double to right and came around to score on Rash’s double.
UConn’s lone run came in the fifth when Bobby Melley, who led off the inning with a single, scored on an error by the Hokies’ Alex Perez. Perez couldn’t handle a throw from Morgan on a sacrifice attempt by UConn’s Jon Testani, but Perez did chase down the ball and threw out UConn’s Max McDowell at home to preserve Virginia Tech’s lead.
The Huskies later loaded the bases in the fifth inning with one out. But Tech starter Brad Markey got Verdi to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Markey (5-4) went 5.1 innings to get the win for the Hokies, giving up one run on five hits. He struck out one and walked one. Clark Labitan was great for the Hokies in relief, going 3.2 innings to get his 11th save. He allowed just two hits and struck out four.
“Clark was a really good matchup against them, being right handed and having a ton of arm-side run,” Hughes said. “He really fit, but you still have to execute the game plan and make the pitches. I think we got him in at just the right time. I’ve never seen Brad (Markey) throw eight balls in a row the entire season. That was a good indication to make a move, and Coach (Pat) Mason was right on it. A good move is when someone comes in and executes, and Clark was very good today.”
Horan paced the Hokies’ offensive attack, going 2-for-3 and scoring two runs.
Anthony Marzi (5-7) took the loss for UConn.
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