5/20 baseball

VT Baseball vs. Wake Forest Game 3

Virginia Tech (30–21, 12–17 ACC) wrapped up their regular season competition against No. 1 Wake Forest (45–9, 22–7 ACC). The Hokies were looking to avoid being swept in a series where Coach John Szefc believed they'd been the better baseball team.

“We couldn’t get out of the fifth,” Szefc said. 

Jonah Hurney took the mound for the Hokies in their final regular season bout, while Seth Keener got the start for Wake Forest. In this series alone, the Demon Deacons have deployed a top MLB Draft prospect in Rhett Lowder, the ACC strikeout leader in Josh Hartle and the ACC ERA leader in Keener. 

To no one’s surprise, Christian Martin got the first hit for the Hokies tonight. Martin has been a pillar of consistency at the plate. The sophomore infielder has safely reached base in 36 consecutive games. 

After back-to-back “hit by pitches” and Martin’s base hit, Cannizaro walked in the first run of the game. A sac-fly from Lucas Donlon sent Brody Donay in to score. With base runners on first and second, Garrett Michel threaded a two-run single in left field. 

The Hokies have jumped out in each game of this series. Runs have been a premium for Wake Forest opponents, but the Hokies haven’t had trouble offensively early in ballgames.

Wake Forest was on the ropes after Virginia Tech scored six runs in two innings. Facing a full count, Nick Kurtz smashed a solo shot to bring the score to 6–1. Back-to-back walks from Andrew Sentlinger gave the Demon Deacons life. Sentlinger was then replaced by Jacob Exum. The freshman would take the mound with the bases loaded.

After a huge strikeout from Exum, The Hokies escaped the inning. The Hokies were boasting a commanding 6–1 lead entering the fifth inning: the inning the Hokies have struggled in all weekend.

Following an umpire delay, Wake Forest’s Pierce Bennett roped an RBI double to close the lead. The Hokies immediately opted for a pitching change, bringing in Matthew Siverling. Siverling’s first pitch was an RBI single, courtesy of Kurtz. 

Virginia Tech once again got out of a jam in this one, carrying a 6–3 lead into the sixth inning. The Hokies survived the fifth inning that has haunted them this weekend.

Coach Szefc’s squad responded today. At the top of the sixth inning, Carson Jones slapped a grand slam to right center, blowing the game open. The No. 1 team in the nation trailed 11–3 after a five run inning from the Hokies. 

The difference between this game and the first two games of the series was evident. Virginia Tech’s offense was stellar late, and the pitching staff didn’t break down. The Hokies’ 14 runs were the most Wake Forest allowed all season.

This victory snaps Virginia Tech’s seven-game conference losing streak. A 14–6 victory over a team of Wake Forest’s caliber should help the Hokies build confidence, but they’ll need to win the ACC Tournament to secure a NCAA Tournament berth. 

After picking up their most impressive victory of the season, the Hokies will look to extend their season next week at the ACC Tournament. 

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