WESTFIELD, Ind. – It took 12 innings, but Virginia Tech baseball was able to win its ACC series at Notre Dame with a 5-4 victory on Sunday afternoon at Grand Park as Mark Zagunis scored the game winner on an unusual play.
With runners on the corners and two outs, Tom Stoffel hit a grounder to second base. Rather than toss to second or throw to first – both force plays – Notre Dame second baseman Cavan Biggio decided to try and tag Sean Keselica, who was on first.
Keselica slid for second and Biggio lost the ball, which allowed Zagunis to cross the plate for the go-ahead run.
Tech (12-9-1, 5-4 ACC) finished the game off when Sean Kennedy, who allowed a one-out single in the home half of the 12th, got the final two outs with fly balls to Stoffel. Kennedy earned his second save of the season with the scoreless frame as Luke Scherzer (2-1) picked up the win out of the pen.
Notre Dame (8-14, 1-8 ACC) actually held a 3-1 lead after one and broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth on a bases loaded RBI single by Forrest Johnson. The play would have scored two, but Ricky Sanchez, who was on second, failed to touch third on his way to the plate and was called out when the Hokies touched the bag.
Tech scored single runs in the first, second and third to tie the game at 3-3, and Zagunis came through with an RBI single in the seventh to bring home Ricky Surum to knot the contest again.
Saige Jenco, Alex Perez, Kyle Wernicki and Stoffel all had a pair of hits in the game, while Jenco scored once and drove in another. Zagunis added two runs to his RBI single and Wernicki also scored a run to go with a double, the only extra base hit of the game.
Again, Tech’s bullpen came through – the staff has allowed just one run (earned) over its last 32 innings pitched (0.28 ERA) – throwing 6.2 scoreless innings. Aaron McGarity relieved starter Jon Woodcock (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 K) and pitched 1.2 innings, Phil Sciretta went 1.1 innings and Scherzer threw 2.2 with one strikeout.
Fighting Irish starter Pat Connaughton lasted 3.2 frames, while Michael Hearne went the rest of the way (8.1 IP) and suffered the loss dropping his record to 1-2.
Tech will stay on the road this week, travelling to Lynchburg to face Liberty on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. - a game that can be seen on ESPN3 - before heading to Charlottesville for an ACC series at Virginia starting Friday.
Additional Notes: Tech’s 5-4 mark in ACC play ties its best ever start after nine games with last year’s squad … Dating back to April 12-14, 2013 – a span of 13 weekends – the Hokies have either tied or won every weekend except one (at Clemson this year) and that includes postseason action … In its last 25 extra-inning games, Tech is 16-8-1, which includes an 8-1-1 mark on the road, and has not lost in extra innings to a team from outside of North or South Carolina since March 2006 (10-0-1) ... The Hokies are now 9-0-1 this season when scoring first.
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