BLACKSBURG – For the first time since May 14, 2011, the Virginia Tech baseball team was swept in a doubleheader – as the Hokies lost 9-4 and 6-5 to visiting NC State Friday night – and with it, ended the team’s chance of advancing to the ACC postseason tournament next week.
Despite the losses, a trio of Hokies enjoyed solid days at the plate as Phil Sciretta had five hits combined on the day, Ryan Tufts had four hits, including two doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs, and Mark Zagunis also had four hits and two RBIs.
NC State (32-21, 13-16 ACC) used two-run scoring innings in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh frames to turn game one in its favor. Game two saw them score in just the two frames, but the five-run fourth gave them a cushion and their one insurance run in the ninth turned out to be much needed.
Tech (20-31-1, 8-21 ACC) trailed 5-0 in game two but answered with three of its own in the home half of the fourth. A solo home run by Zagunis and a clutch bases-loaded, two-out, two-RBI double by Tufts pulled the Hokies to within two.
Aaron McGarity took over for Sean Keselica on the mound and tossed four scoreless frames with five strikeouts, including striking out the side in the eighth. However, an Andrew Knizner sac fly in the ninth gave the Wolfpack a 6-3 lead.
That was the difference when the Hokies mounted a comeback started by a Tufts double, a Saige Jenco walk, and an RBI double by Alez Perez. With two outs, Sciretta singled home Jenco to make if 6-5, before the Wolfpack went to their pen, for the second time in the inning.
Will Gilbert got the final out to pick up his second save of the season for Cody Beckman (1-0), who got the win in relief. Keselica (3-5) suffered the loss.
Ricky Surum and Tufts got the Hokies on the board in the second inning of the first game with RBI singles only to see NC State tie it at 2-2 in the top of the third, then take a 4-2 lead in the fourth.
The Hokies answered right back with RBIs from Perez and Zagunis, but a Brett Austin solo home run to lead off the top of the fifth put the Wolfpack up for good in the day’s first game.
NC State's Carlos Rodon, who threw his second shortest outing of the season (5.0) and allowed his most earned runs of the year (4), managed to get the win to improve to 6-7, while Brad Markey dropped to 2-8 with the loss.
The two teams will conclude the three-game ACC series at English Field on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.
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