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BLACKSBURG – Sean Keselica’s single in the bottom of the ninth gave Virginia Tech another walk-off victory and the ACC series win over visiting Pittsburgh. However, the Hokies then got three RBIs from Brendon Hayden in game two of a doubleheader that helped them finish off a sweep of the Panthers, 11-10 and 11-7, at English Field on Saturday.
Both wins came in comeback fashion, but the more impressive was in the first game as the Hokies found themselves down 10-2 after the Panthers’ at-bats in the fifth.
Tech (9-8-1, 3-3 ACC) plated five runs in the home half sparked by a three-run home run by Mark Zagunis. Three more runs in the seventh, which included a balk that brought home Tech’s 10th run, tied the game setting up Keselica’s heroics.
Alex Perez drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a Zagunis single and Pittsburgh elected to load the bases – intentionally walking Hayden. Keselica bounced a single back through the middle to give the Hokies their third walk-off win of the young season.
Pittsburgh (7-10, 1-5 ACC) was back at it again in the second game, quickly jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first and were ahead 4-1 when Tech came to bat in the third.
This time, the Hokies scored seven times to take an 8-4 lead with the big hit a three-run double off the bat of Hayden. Tech would tack on a single run in the fourth and two unearned runs in the eighth to keep its lead safe and finish off the sweep.
Tech’s bullpen was most responsible for the series win as it tossed 14 innings in the game and allowed just one earned run. Tanner McIntyre won Friday’s game with four scoreless innings, while Jon Woodcock (2.1 IP) and Luke Scherzer (2.0) held Pittsburgh scoreless in the first game on Saturday.
The Hokies take a couple days off before returning to English Field to host a pair of midweek games. Radford comes to town on Tuesday, while Rutgers makes a visit on Wednesday. Both games are scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch.
Additional Notes: In their previous nine ACC home opening weekends, the Hokies were 5-19 with just one series win before this weekend’s sweep … Tech has swept at least one ACC weekend each of the last six years, and just the third at home (Boston College, 2010 & 2012) … Tech is now 3-3 after six games in the conference, which has only happened twice before (2013 – 4-2; 2007 – 3-3) … The last time the Hokies scored at least 10 runs in a conference series (win or lose) was 20 years ago – April 15-17, 1994 vs. Louisville (15-4, 25-4, 14-8) … Tech has only scored 10 or more runs in three straight ACC games once before back in 2010 (May 2, 10 vs. BC & May 14-15 vs. Duke, 11, 18) … The last time Tech scored at least 10 runs in five straight games was during the 2008 season (Feb. 29 – March 2).
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