CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A critical error by Virginia Tech in the bottom of the seventh in a tie game resulted in No. 1 Virginia scoring three unearned runs in the frame and posting a 7-4 victory in the final contest of the three-game ACC series at Davenport Field on Sunday afternoon.
After the Hokies had just taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh, the Cavaliers quickly tied it up after a single, a walk and an RBI single by Mike Papi. Tech went to relief pitcher Luke Scherzer and, after getting a pop fly and intentionally walking Joe McCarthy, he got a grounder to third and a force play at the plate.
With two outs and the bases still loaded, Scherzer got another grounder to third, but the ball was misplayed allowing the go-ahead run to score. The Cavaliers added two more runs to take the three-run advantage.
The Hokies managed to get the tying run to the plate in the ninth frame as Tom Stoffel and Alex Perez each singled. For Perez, it was his fourth hit of the day, setting a career high. But, Nick Howard was able to get the final out for the Cavaliers and picked up his eighth save in the process.
Virginia (23-4, 10-2 ACC) took a 3-0 lead after three frames on a two-RBI triple by McCarthy in the first, and added an RBI single by Brandon Downs, plating an unearned run, in the third.
Tech (12-12-1, 5-7 ACC) got on the board in the fourth with a two-out rally. Perez led off the frame with a single and, two batters later, was standing on second. Sean Keselica knocked him in with a single, Phil Sciretta put runners on the corners with his first career hit and Kyle Wernicki brought home Keselica with a single.
In the seventh, the Hokies again came through with a pair of runs with two outs. Ricky Surum singled with one out and moved to second on a two-out hit from Saige Jenco. Perez then singled to center, which was going to easily plate Surum, but an error also allowed Jenco to score – which gave Tech the lead.
The Hokies actually held the lead in all three games against the Cavaliers, and outhit them in all three games, which a Tech team had never done before in ACC play – lose all three games but outhit their opponent. Four times prior, Tech had outhit its opponent and lost two games in that series, but never all three.
Out of the Virginia pen, Whit Mayberry earned the win, improving to 3-1, while Sean Kennedy suffered the loss and is now 1-1.
The Hokies will take a day off before starting a 17-game, 23-day stretch that will see Tech stay in state for all of them. The span includes 14 home games, three ACC home series, and the Hokie-Smokey Classic in Salem, Va. This week Tech will host James Madison, Tuesday, and Radford, Wednesday, both with a 5:30 p.m. start.
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