March 15, 2015
Perez homer lifts Tech to sweep of No. 1 Virginia
Hokies register 6-5 win in first-ever sweep of ranked opponent
(1) Virginia (12-5) 0001210105122
Virginia Tech (10-9) 01003002X680
  • English Field - 2,642

BLACKSBURG – With a chance to sweep its first-ever ranked opponent in more than 20 years, the Virginia Tech baseball team saw itself down a run in the eighth frame. However, with one swing of the bat from senior Alex Perez, Tech took a 6-5 lead on his two-run home run and the Hokies closed out the game in the ninth to get the sweep of the ACC series over No. 1 Virginia at English Field Sunday afternoon.

With the win, it marked the first time Tech has swept its in-state rival in the regular season since 1999, which was just two games. The last time Tech won all three regular-season games over Virginia was back during the 1987 campaign. It’s worth noting that in 2013, the Hokies won the last two regular season games over UVa before beating them in the ACC Tournament in Durham – the last three-game win streak over the Cavaliers.

Tech improved to 10-9 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, matching its best start to the league’s slate (2013). Meanwhile, Virginia fell to 12-5 and 2-4 in the conference and was swept in its first ACC series since 2012 (North Carolina) and has lost four in a row for the first time since April 2008.

Home runs accounted for six of the 11 runs in the contest as Erik Payne put the first run on the board in the second with a solo shot to left-center field – his third home run of the season and sixth of his college career.

Virginia responded with the long ball as Kevin Doherty hit a solo homer as well in the fourth and Daniel Pinero hit a two-run shot to give the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth.

Tech answered back with three in the home half of the fifth with Sean Keselica scoring on a wild pitch and Andrew Mogg, who doubled to put Keselica on third, crossing the plate on a Saige Jenco single. Jenco then rounded the bases himself as a wild pitch and errant throw got him to third and another wild pitch allowed him to scamper home.

The Cavaliers tied it back up on a one-out RBI double by Doherty, the second of three RBIs on the day for the junior, that scored Ernie Clement, which then saw Tech go to its bullpen.

Jon Woodcock (5.1 IP. 9 H, 4 ER, 4 K) was relieved by Connor Coward, who ended the frame with back-to-back strikeouts, tossed a perfect seventh with two more punch outs, but surrendered an RBI single to Doherty that gave Virginia a 5-4 advantage.

Brandon Waddell (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 6 K) had been relieved by Josh Sborz to start the seventh and got a double-play ball to end that frame. In the eighth, though, he walked lead-off hitter Matt Dauby, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jenco.

Perez, who is no stranger to big-game moments – he leads the team with 11 career game-winning RBIs – came to the plate and drilled a 2-0 pitch into the air and had enough distance to clear the right-center field fence and put the Hokies ahead once again.

Packy Naughton came in for the ninth and allowed a two-out single to Pinero but ended the game with a grounder to pick up the first save of his career. Coward earned the win, the first of his career, while Sborz (1-1) took the loss.

For Perez, the home run is his third of the season and the fourth of his career. Keselica was the only other Tech player with more than one hit – he had three – for his first multi-hit game of the season.

With the sweep, the Hokies have now swept at least one ACC series during the past seven seasons and it’s the second time sweeping the home-opening series as they took all three against Pittsburgh last year. This is the 11th time Tech has won a series over a national-ranked opponent as a member of the ACC, but the first sweep. Their last sweep over a nationally-ranked opponent was back in 1991, versus No. 15 Tulane.

Tech will have a day to enjoy the sweep before getting back on the field to take on midweek opponents Liberty (Tuesday) and Radford (Wednesday) at English Field with both games starting at 5:30 p.m.

This series was presented by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics. With the sweep this weekend Virginia Tech, the team has added a point for its school to the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash. The score for the Clash is now, University of Virginia 7.5 and Virginia Tech 6.5. Learn more about Virginia529 and this new competition at

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