Sophomore Connor Thomas pitched for the Jackets against freshman LHP Ian Seymour. Both came in with 2-1 records and neither got a win in a game that saw the Jackets fall far behind and battle back only to fall short. GT pitching left much to be desired, especially by hitting four batters.
The game started out as a pitchers’ duel, with each team held to a couple of singles. That changed pretty drastically in the top of the third when VT put together three hits and a hit batter to score one and load the bases with one out. Colin Hall then made a nice catch on a sinking line drive to right and threw behind the runner at second, getting the third out before the runner could score from third. The Hokies asked for a video replay, but the call stood and it was 1-0, much better than it could have been. The Jackets got the run back in the bottom of the third when Michael Guldberg singled, went to 2nd when Bailey got hit by a pitch, went to 3rd on a passed ball, and scored on Joey Bart’s shallow pop to right. It was 1-1 after three.
Unfortunately, the Hokies jumped all over Thomas in their 4th, scoring four times on two singles, a triple by Jack Owens, and a double by Tom Stoffel. After Thomas got out two on a deep fly, he was relieved by Jake Lee with the runner still on 2nd. It was easily Connor’s worst outing of the year. Lee got a strikeout to end the inning, but the Jackets trailed 5-1. The Hokies got a leadoff homerun from Mundy in their 5th, and after Lee hit a batter with one out, Robert Winborne came in. A bouncing double down the third base line and a sacrifice fly to center made it 7-1 before Winborne could get out three.
Seymour could not get through the bottom of the 5th, as he was relieved by Andrew McDonald, a right handed redshirt senior with one out and runners on the corners. He struck out Bart and pinch hitter Kyle McCann around an RBI single by English, so GT trailed 7-2 as Keyton Gibson came in to pitch the 6th. Gibson couldn’t get it done either and after two singles and a walk he was relieved by Jared Datoc with runners on the corners and a run in to make it 8-2. A grounder to a pulled in Wilhite at shortstop allowed him to throw out the runner at home, but pinch hitter Zach Kokoska doubled off the left center wall, driving in the two that would make the final difference with the score a daunting 10-2 before a nice play by Waddell at third got out three.
After Jacket futility in their 6th, Ben Schneiderjans came in for the 7th. He hit the first batter, who was thrown out trying to steal second by Bart and Ben only faced three batters for a shutdown inning. In the bottom of the 7th, a two out single by Murray and the ninth homerun of the season by Bart to right center made it slightly more respectable at 10-4. Hugh Chapman came in to pitch the 8th and got through it without further damage despite some wildness that he overcame. After GT could again do nothing in their 8th, Joseph Mannelly came in to pitch the ninth and got three quick outs on 6 pitches to bring up the Jackets for their last chance.
They made the most of it, bringing the tying run to the plate twice in the persons of Austin Wilhite and pinch hitter Paxton Rigby, but the Hokies brought in closer Nic Enright and they both struck out. The Jackets scored four times on singles by Bailey, Murray, and McCann and a double by Bart, and an error allowed English to reach. In the end, it was too little and the final was 10-8 as Tech fell to 10-8 and 1-4. McDonald got the win in relief, Thomas the loss, and Enright the save. Murray and Bart each had three hits for GT. The rubber game is Sunday.