BLACKSBURG – After leaving the bases loaded in the eighth and 10th frames of a 3-3 game, and stranding two in the ninth, Alex Perez finally broke through as he laced a bases-loaded single into right field to plate Kyle Wernicki with the game-winning run as Virginia Tech defeated UMass Lowell in walk-off fashion, 4-3, in 11 innings on Saturday afternoon at English Field.
Tanner McIntyre, who tossed 5.2 innings of relief, picked up the win on the mound for the Hokies as the team improved to 5-2 on the season. UMass Lowell’s Nick Boutoures took the loss as the River Hawks dropped to 4-2.
Tech actually jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as the Hokies sent eight men to the plate and the first three batters scored – Saige Jenco on a bases-loaded walk by Mark Zagunis; Ricky Surum on a sacrifice fly by Brendon Hayden; and Perez on a single by Matt Dauby.
However, River Hawk starter Shane Beauchemin would settle in and retire 16 straight Hokies and 19 of the last 20 he faced to keep his team within reach. He left after seven innings with five strikeouts with the game tied at 3-3.
UMass Lowell got two of its runs in the third frame, on a two-out, two-RBI single by Geoff DeGroot, and tied the game in the sixth on a single by Matthew Sanchez.
McIntyre would come in with one out in the sixth and tossed the rest of the game, scoreless with six strikeouts to improve to 1-1 on the year and 11-1 in his Tech career.
The Hokies would get to the UMass Lowell pen, notching seven hits and drawing five walks, but could not break the tie until the Perez single to win it. Perez, Wernicki and Hayden all had two hits for Tech.
The two teams will start things off on Sunday morning with an 11 a.m. start as Tech will play two games in the day – facing Cincinnati in a game that follows the River Hawks contest.
Additional Notes: McIntyre was one out away from tying his career high for innings pitched – 6.0 twice last season … It was Perez’ second walk-off RBI as a Hokie, as he drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth frame against Miami on April 14, 2012 in a 5-4 win … Tech was 5-2 in extra-inning games last year, 2-1 at English Field … It was the longest game, in terms of innings, since a 12-inning game last year at Boston College (5/3/13) … It was the longest game at English Field since May 11, 2012 versus NC State (also 11 innings).
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