BLACKSBURG, Va. (March 25, 2015) – Virginia Tech scored four runs in the first three innings and its pitching staff held ETSU scoreless for the final six frames en route to defeating the Bucs, 8-3, on Wednesday night at English Field.
Despite jumping out to a two-run lead in the top of the first and tying things at three in the third, ETSU’s offensive struggles continued as the Bucs hit into a pair of double plays and a triple play.
Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.), Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) all finished with two hits, while the Bucs totaled seven as a team. Cook doubled and scored two runs, while York drove in a pair and posted his team-leading fourth triple of the campaign.
After allowing three runs in the first three innings, Virginia Tech starter Kit Scheetz (1-0) held the Bucs scoreless for the final four frames to earn the win. The southpaw allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out four, while Chris Monaco retired the final six ETSU batters to close out the game.
Junior right-hander Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) suffered the loss (1-2) after surrendering the go-ahead run in the third, while Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) worked scoreless appearances for the Blue and Gold. Haeberle tossed two scoreless frames and Simpler pitched a 1-2-3 eighth-inning.
The Bucs, who dropped five of the six games on the road swing, suffered their fifth straight loss and dipped to 11-12, while Virginia Tech won its third straight to improve to 14-12.
ETSU jumped out to its early lead by plating two runs on two hits in the top of the first, but the Hokies answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning and tacked on two more runs in the second to go ahead, 3-2. Cook, who was hitting leadoff for the first time this season, got things rolling with an infield single and quickly scored on York’s triple down the line in right, while York later crossed the plate on Hagen Owenby’s (Knoxville, Tenn.) RBI ground out to second.
However, Virginia Tech responded with a two-out double by Brendon Hayden in the bottom of the first, and took a one-run lead after scratching across two runs in the second. The Hokies picked up an RBI ground out by Logan Bible, while Ryan Tufts – who singled through the left side – came in on Saige Jenco’s single to right.
ETSU’s top of the order looked to have found another spark in the third as Cook led off with a double to left-center and scored the tying run on York’s RBI single to left; however, following a Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) single, Owenby was robbed of a hit in right-center and the Hokies turned the rare 9-4-6-3 triple play.
Virginia Tech had the momentum and regained a 4-3 lead when the first four Hokie batters reached to start the bottom of the third, but Krieg worked out of bases loaded jam by retiring the next three hitters keeping it a one-run game.
The Hokies kept their one-run lead as both teams were held scoreless in the middle frames, but Virginia Tech broke the game open with a four-run seventh inning and extended their advantage to, 8-3. Rahiem Cooper led off with a double and advanced to third on a ground out by Alex Perez. From there, Hayden worked a one-out walk, but Kain Hewitt (Gainesville, Ga.) looked to have got out of the inning unscathed as he induced Erik Payne into a routine grounder to short; however, instead of turning a double play, Danny Carrier (Cincinnati, Ohio) committed an error to prolong the frame. The Hokies took advantage of the error as they pushed across three unearned runs following the miscue, making it a five-run game.
ETSU had no answer as Monaco sent down the six hitters he faced to secure the win.
Eight Virginia Tech batters accounted for its nine hits. Payne led the way with his 2 for 4 two RBI night.
The Bucs return home to host UNCG in a three-game series beginning Friday night at 6:05 p.m. at Thomas Stadium.
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