Trailing after six innings, the Virginia Tech baseball team broke through in the seventh inning for five runs in route to a 7-3 win Tuesday night against Davidson.
The Hokies (28-15) shifted their lineup prior to the game, putting some faces in new places. The result was the team's 21st comeback win.
Freshman Mark Zagunis, who regularly catches, appeared in his first game in left field. He finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Tyler Horan, normally the Hokies’ left field, played right field Tuesday, and Brendon Hayden was the designated hitter and also pitched two innings of scoreless baseball.
“Hayden I thought was awesome, being his first appearance,” said Pete Hughes, head coach. “We backed off on him on the mound just because we were really deep at that point. We didn’t want him to be overwhelmed as a two-way guy, so we just focused on his hitting.”
However, the biggest change came through a player the Hokies thought would have a banner season — Andrew Rash.
The redshirt-junior centerfielder from Anderson, S.C. came into the night with a meager .255 batting average. A National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason All-American (third team outfield), Rash was expected to hit cleanup and drive in 50-plus runs.
Rash hit leadoff Tuesday night and turned in his first three-hit game of the season, a good sign for Rash and the Hokies’ lineup.
“When coach was putting (the lineup) up on the board, I was just sitting there and I didn’t realize it at first,” Rash said. “He got down to the five spot and I look up and see my name up there and said, 'Hey coach, you mess up names?' He said, 'No, you’re hitting leadoff.'”
Rash was penciled in at leadoff for a reason other than his struggles this season. Against Wake Forest this past weekend, right fielder and leadoff hitter Gabe Ortiz strained his knee in the outfield and is scheduled to get an MRI on Friday.
“Obviously you feel for the guy, it’s his senior year and he’s been playing great,” said Chad Pinder. “It’s just unfortunate something like that had to happen to such a great guy on our team.”
In Ortiz’s absence, Rash came through with a bang.
In the first inning, he hit his first home run since March 10 against Virginia — a string of 94 at bats. He said it felt good to finally get it off his shoulders.
“It felt great,” Rash said. “It was definitely good to finally get that going. I had a great single and a great last at bat, but it feels good and I’m going to do everything it takes to get us to the ACC tournament.”
His head coach was encouraged about his play as well.