For most of the game it appeared as if Virginia would have it’s seventh straight win pretty much in hand. But that was before the Hokies remembered that they are one of the best home run hitting teams in the country. Virginia Tech hit three home runs off Alec Bettinger, who otherwise was terrific in long relief, to make Virginia sweat on their way to a 10-9 win.
Virginia got on the board first thanks to a home run by Cameron Simmons. It was the sophomore’s fourth on the season and scored Caleb Knight for an early 2-0 lead. Virginia Tech got one back in the bottom half off Virginia starter Derek Casey thanks to an RBI single by Mac Caples.
The Hoos got a big inning in the top of the third sending nine guys to the plate and putting up five runs to take a 7-1 lead. Robbie Coman plated Adam Haseley and Pavin Smith with a two-RBI double, while Knight and Jake McCarthy had RBI singles. Justin Novak also chipped in an RBI that scored Knight after he advanced to third on a double by Simmons. The Hokies made the scored 7-2 in the bottom half of the third with a Ryan Tufts single that scored Jack Owens after he moved to third on a double by Rahiem Cooper.
Virginia kept the pressure on in the fourth when Knight delivered his second RBI of the game. The Hokies finally won an inning on a bases loaded single by Tom Stoffel that scored Cooper and Matt Dauby. Following the hit, Casey would exit the game going 3.2 innings giving up four earned runs on six hits, four walks and two strike outs. He’d leave as the pitcher of record with an 8-4 lead.
Virginia would get two more runs, one in the fifth on an Andy Weber single and another in the eighth when Smith scored on a nifty first and third steal.
But that is when Virginia Tech would use the long ball to get right back in the game. Sam Fragale hit his ACC leading 14th home run of the year to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Cooper did likewise, leading off the eighth with his ninth of the year. Then three batters later, Fragale added an RBI single making the score 10-7. Bettinger then gave up his third home run of the game, this time a two-run shot to right by JD Mundy making the score 10-9. That would be all for Bettinger as he tallied three innings, giving up five runs on five hits, no walks and five strike outs. Tommy Doyle entered to get the final out of the inning and preserve the one run lead.
The ninth continued to deliver drama. Doyle stayed on and looked to be making easy work getting two quick outs off a fly out and a pick off. But then a walk, a single, and a stolen base put the winning run in scoring position. However, Doyle ended the threat quickly coming up with a big strike out for his 10th save of the year.
It was a banner day for the Virginia offense. The Hoos racked up 17 hits with each Cavalier starter registering at least one hit. Knight and McCarthy each had three hits while Coman, Simmons, and Knight each drove in two runs apiece.
Virginia and Virginia Tech square off in the second of the three game set Friday at 5:30 P.M. The game will be televised by ACC Network Extra.