There was little doubt at English Field this weekend as the No. 18 Virginia Tech baseball team swept Boston College with relative ease. The Hokies only trailed for one-half inning in the three games combined.
Tech (32-14, 14-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned its first ACC sweep of the season over the Eagles (24-20, 12-12 ACC) by 9-4, 3-1 and 10-5 margins.
“(The sweep) creates more space for us in the league,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “When you talk about at-large bids and hosting regionals, every win is critical, and it’s one step closer to Omaha. So everything is important.”
The last victory brought the Hokies’ home record to 20-5 and showed that the Hokies had no hangover after facing a slew of top-10 teams.
Redshirt senior center fielder Sean Ryan led the way offensively, going 7-for-13 with two runs batted in over the three games.
“I played really good this weekend,” Ryan said. “I didn’t play that well against Georgia Tech last weekend, so I really worked mid-week on my swing and my approach, and it paid off this weekend. I was being over-anxious against Georgia Tech by swinging at pitches that were out of the zone. This week
I had to make sure I was staying aggressive and swinging at strikes.”
The three starting pitchers for Tech, junior Justin Wright, sophomore Mathew Price and freshman Joe Mantiply, held the Eagles just enough for the offense to propel the team to victory.
In game one, Wright (5-3) tossed six and one-third innings, allowing just five hits and striking out nine.
“I’ll tell you a guy who doesn’t get enough credit — Justin Wright,” Hughes said. “I think we got a lot of guys in our program who get a lot of attention — and rightfully so — but Justin is in the background a little bit. He’s our Friday night guy, and he’s given us great outing after great outing.”
In game two, Price (6-3) threw a complete game while striking out nine and allowing one run.
“Matt Price threw a gem yesterday,” said redshirt senior catcher Steve Domecus, “one of the best games he’s ever thrown in his life.”
Mantiply (3-1) struck out five and allowed four runs on five hits in game three.
With the pitchers suffocating the Eagles’ hitters, the Hokies capitalized on opportunities and held onto leads.
Anytime Boston College scored, the Hokies responded with runs of their own. After falling behind for the first time in game three, Tech rallied by scoring four runs and regaining the lead.
The key for the offense was two-out hitting as Tech notched 13 two-out RBIs
“That’s just ridiculous,” Domecus said. “We’re a good two-out team. Coach always says no one’s better than us with two outs.”
Each game featured a 1-1 tie at some point, but Tech always pulled away.
The first game of the series saw Ryan and sophomore third baseman Ronnie Shaban pummel the Eagles’ pitching staff by going a combined 6-for-9.
It was complete domination until the Eagles broke through for three runs in the top of the ninth inning, but the Hokies won 9-4.
For game two, Boston College sent out then-undefeated pitcher Pat Dean to tie the series. However, Tech was able to tack three runs on him. Two of the runs came off the bat of redshirt freshman Andrew Rash, who has been seeing increased playing time.
Those runs would be all Price needed to lock the game down as Tech won, 3-1.