When you think of quality college baseball, Virginia Tech isn't exactly the first school that comes to mind. But this season, things are different, and the Hokies were doing surprisingly well at 11-2 through coach Pete Hughes' innovative recruiting tactics that drew players from all over the U.S. They hoped to have a real coming-out party in the opening weekend of ACC play, but Georgia Tech stalled those dreams in an 11-1 drubbing on Friday night. The Jackets scored six runs off two homers, one of which was a grand slam off of Daniel Palka's bat in the top of the fifth. Zane Evans had four RBIs to give him 21 on the season, good for third place on the team. The big bats weren't all the Jackets did well, though, as Buck Farmer pitched through six while only giving up two hits and one earned run, his first earned run allowed on the year. Farmer was one out away from having pitched 3 games worth of 0 ERA ball. The bullpen (Jonathan Roberts and Sam Clay) threw three scoreless innings to close out the game on two hits and one walk.
This scoring in this game followed a similar pace to the scoring in the March 5th tilt against Mercer, slow in the beginning and then explosive towards the end. The early scores took the form of two runs in the top of the second off an Evans homer followed by a bases-loaded RBI walk by Mott Hyde in the top of the fourth. Then, in the top of the fifth, Tech put up four on the Palka grand slam. The scoring barrage came to an end in the ninth when the Jackets took four more trips around the world. All told, the Jackets had nine hits, six of which went for extra bases. It was a power hitting night reminiscent of the 2010 team that hit 122 home runs.
Impressive offense stats seem to the buzz in Atlanta this season. Tech extends their streak of games with ten or more runs to eight overall. The Jackets also lead the ACC in the hits, RBIs, and runs. Buck Farmer gives good contrast to these hitting stats by having an ERA of 0.33 and 299 career strikeouts.
Tech takes on the Hokies tomorrow at 2 P.M. in Blacksburg. The game can be heard on 91.1FM in Atlanta or at wrek.org/listen.