BLACKSBURG – On Senior Day at English Field, it was a pair of freshmen that helped send the two departing Hokies off with a win as Virginia Tech defeated NC State 8-5 on Saturday afternoon in the final game of a three-game ACC series and the final game of Tech’s 2014 campaign.
The Hokies (21-31-1, 9-21 ACC) held an 8-2 lead after eight frames, but the Wolfpack made it a little closer in the final inning.
NC State (32-22, 13-17 ACC) saw Bubby Riley lead off the ninth with a home run, Trea Turner score on a wild pitch and Chance Sheppard drive in another with a single. With runners on first and second, they went to pinch hitter Carlos Rodon, but Tanner McIntyre, pitching in his final game as a Hokie, got him to fly out to left to end the game.
Tech opened up its six-run advantage with two runs in the first – RBI triple by Alex Perez and RBI grounder by Mark Zagunis – and turned a 2-1 lead into a five-run advantage with four runs in the fourth.
Three straight singles by Phil Sciretta, Sean Keselica and Kyle Wernicki – the third plating Sciretta – was followed by a two-run double off the bat of Ricky Surum. Ryan Tufts would then single and score on a Saige Jenco single and the Hokies led 6-1.
They added single runs on sac flies by Surum – in the fifth that scored Sciretta – and Zagunis – in the eighth that brought home Tufts – to pad their lead.
Kit Scheetz tossed 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts to earn his team-leading fifth win of the season. Luke Scherzer tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball with four strikeouts, while McIntyre finished the game in the ninth. Wolfpack starter Patrick Peterson lasted just 3.1 innings and suffered the loss as NC State used eight pitchers in the game.
Jenco, Perez, Sciretta and Sean Keselica all had two hits in the game, as Perez’ second of the afternoon was the 150th of his Tech career. He also started his 170th career game – every game since the start of his freshman year. He joined Trey McCoy (1966-88) as the only Tech players to start every game their first three seasons as McCoy played in 168.
Perez is also just one of five Hokies to start in at least 170 games in his first three seasons at Tech, joining George Canale (1984-86, 180), Kevin Barker (1994-96, 174), Spencer Harris (2000-02, 173) and John West (1999-01, 171) as the others.
Zagunis ended his junior campaign starting in 161 straight games and 163 total, while his 213 career hits ties him with McCoy with the fourth most by a Tech player at the end of his junior season. Zagunis ended the regular season with 23 multi-hit games, second in the ACC, and 12 multi-RBI games – the only player in the conference with at least 21 and 11 games, respectively.
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