Coward outdueled by Stetson's Gilbert

Virginia Tech (3-6) 001000000120
(19) Stetson (7-1) 00002000X250
  • Melching Field - 1,068

DELAND, Fla. – For the second straight week, Virginia Tech senior pitcher Connor Coward tossed eight innings in a start. However, for the second straight week, the Hokies came up on the short end of his effort as Stetson’s Logan Gilbert was just a tad bit better and his team notched the 2-1 victory on Friday night at Melching Field.

The Hokies (3-6) led the game 1-0 after the top of the third as Cam Irvine registered Tech’s first hit, a double, with one out. With two outs, and on an 0-2 pitch, Nick Owens sliced a ball into left field and Irvine came around third in an attempt to score. The ball short-hopped Hatters’ catcher Austin Hale and Irvine was able to touch the plate for the game’s first run.

Stetson (7-1), ranked No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball, had a bases-loaded one-out situation in the first stopped by Coward with back-to-back strikeouts and had its leadoff man on board in the second and third, but failed to score.

In the fifth, Mike Spooner hit a bunt single and Jacob Koos followed with a two-run home run to put the Hatters up 2-1.

That was all the offense for the rest of the night. After a fourth-inning walk, Gilbert, who improved to 2-0, retired 14 straight batters and struck out a total of 13. After the home run, Coward (0-1) sat down 12 in a row to end his night. Brooks Wilson worked a perfect ninth to pick up his fourth save of the season.

Inside the Box

  • Coward – complete game, the first of his career; 8.0 innings pitched, ties career-high, done last week vs. Iowa; pushed career total for innings pitched at Tech to 151.0; struck out the side in the first, third time this season, sixth time in his career.
  • Irvine – double, his first collegiate extra-base hit.
  • J. Owens – HBP, fourth time this season; stolen base, 3-for-3 this year, 12th of his career.

Additional Notes

  • This was the ninth all-time meeting between the two schools, with Stetson holding an 8-1 advantage. The Hokies lone victory in the series was a 5-2 win back on March 31, 1986.
  • In the Sunshine State, Tech is 48-98 all-time, which includes a 14-13 mark in DeLand.
  • Tech’s last 18 games in Florida before tonight were all ACC games. Its last nonconference game was a 14-2 victory at Florida Atlantic on March 8, 2011.
  • The Hokies last six games (and seven of eight) have been decided by two runs or less, including two in extra innings. The team is 2-5 in those games.

Up Next

  • The Hokies will stay in DeLand for their next four games as they continue play in the Westin Lake Mary Stetson Invitational. They face Purdue on Saturday at Melching Field at Conrad Park with first pitch set for 1 p.m.

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