The rubber game between the Cavaliers and Jackets featured freshman righty Mike Vasil (1-2, 4.66 ERA) against sophomore lefty Brant Hurter (2-0, 4.02 ERA). The game ended with plenty of unwanted angst, but with a 6-5 Tech victory.
Tech scored two in the 1st on singles by Waddell and Guldberg and a RBI ground rule double by McCann. English drove in Guldberg with a sac fly, but unfortunately McCann left 2nd too soon and was called out. That cost Tech a run, as he could have scored on Serratos’ ground out, but Tech led 2-0. UVA got one right back after Hurter hit the first batter in the 2nd and a couple of singles drove him in to make it 2-1.
The Jackets got two more in their 2nd when Colin Hall and suddenly hot Baron Radcliff singled and doubled to start the inning. Austin Wilhite drove in Hall with a sac fly and a clutch two out single by Waddell drove in Radcliff to make it 4-1.
In the Tech 5th , Wilhite singled but was erased at second on a fielder’s choice that put Waddell on. Luke was balked to second, went to third on a Guldberg single and scored when the left fielder misplayed it, putting Guldberg at second. UVA brought in sophomore lefty Andrew Abbott after much stalling by HC O’Conner. Abbott got out of further damage and Tech led 5-1.
In the 7th, the Cavaliers got runners to second and third with one out, but a strikeout and groundout kept them scoreless for the inning. McCann drove in Waddell for Tech’s final run in the bottom of the 7th after he walked and moved around on a passed ball and sac bunt.
After Brant gave up a leadoff single in the 8th , he was relieved by Keyton Gibson. Hurter had pitched a fine game with seven hits, seven strikeouts, and no walks. Keyton hit the first batter and gave up a line drive three run homer to dangerous Brendan Rivoli, and it was suddenly 6-4, with Tech fans feeling queasy. Jake Lee came in to pitch, but only stayed long enough to issue a four pitch walk before Coach Hall brought in Luke Bartnicki.
The freshman Bartnicki restored order, coaxing a 6-4-3 DP and a 6-4 fielder’s choice third out after a single by four-for-four hitting Cayman Richardson. Tech still led by two.
After Bartnicki walked the leadoff batter in the 9th, Tristin English moved to the mound from 1st and Jackson Webb took over there. You may know, Tristin has been battling a quadriceps injury and the coaches were reluctant to use him, but this was an important ACC series. The game was saved, but with plenty of drama. First, a single put runners on the corners, still with no outs. Then, for the second inning in a row, a 6-4-3 double play got two quick outs at the cost of Virginia’s fifth run. Next, Simmons singled to bring up Rivoli, who had hit a three run shot the previous inning. This time, Tristin struck him out swinging to end the game and series. Tech improved to 13-7 (3-3) and Virginia fell to 9-10 (2-4).
Hurter got the well earned win that Tech’s bullpen barely saved for him, and Vasil the loss. English got the save. Tech finds itself in a three way tie at the top of the Coastal, although Miami holds a tie breaker right now. A trip to Macon and a trip to Louisville loom.