CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Virginia Tech baseball twice took a two-run lead on its host for the ACC weekend North Carolina. However, each time the Tar Heels responded in their home half of the inning and then plated an insurance run late in the game to defeat the Hokies, 6-4, on Saturday evening at Boshamer Stadium.
It took six innings to score the game’s first run on Friday night, it took just for batters Saturday. Saige Jenco led off the game with a single and after a pair of groundouts was standing on third. Brendon Hayden doubled to bring him home and Sean Keselica followed with an RBI single and Tech led 2-0.
UNC (26-18, 12-11 ACC) used its own two-out rally to tie the game in the bottom of the first with Tom Zengel hitting an RBI double and Parks Jordan plating the second with a single.
Both starting pitchers settled down over the next three frames as UNC’s Benton Moss and Tech’s Brad Markey combined to allow just one hit and three walks through the second to fourth innings.
In the fifth, though, it was the same two Hokies that came through again with two-out RBIs. Alex Perez and Mark Zagunis drew back-to-back walks and Hayden and Keselica hit back-to-back RBI singles that put Tech up 4-2.
The Tar Heels responded in the bottom of the fifth by sending eight men to the plate, notching five singles and scoring three runs. They still had the bases loaded with one out when the Hokies turned a double play to end the frame, but UNC took a 5-4 lead.
It wasn’t until the eighth that Tech got another base runner, as Keselica, who had a three-hit night, singled with one out and moved to second on a Kyle Wernicki single.
UNC then went to its closer Reilly Hovis, who retired five of the six men he faced to close out the game and picked up his sixth save with the effort. Moss improved to 3-2 with the win, while Markey fell to 2-6.
Luke Scherzer came on in relief of Markey in the seventh and struck out the side, but then allowed an RBI single to Alex Raburn in the eighth that provided the final UNC run.Tech (18-24-1, 7-16 ACC) will close out the ACC weekend with North Carolina with the final game of the three-game set scheduled for Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch.
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