On the shoulders of a 10 strikeout perform by junior Brad Markey, the Virginia Tech baseball team improved to 6-1 on the season with a 13-4 win over the Delaware Blue Hens.
Markey’s six innings of dominance were highlighted by his ability to pound the strike zone; he threw 68 of his 89 pitches for strikes. Hokies pitching coach Pat Mason believes this a large reason for the Hokies success.
“(He was) filling up the zone," Mason said. "All of his pitches were an option in any count, and he was working quick which keeps his defense ready."
All who endured the frigid Blacksburg Sunday night appreciated the expedience in which Markey worked.
“When you have a good start and the guy throws a lot of strikes, the ball is going to be in play and you’re going to get strikeouts,” said Hokies head coach Pete Hughes. “You’re on and off the field, you get a couple runs, your defense is in every pitch. It definitely sets the tone if you get a strike thrower out there.”
The Hokies, who fell behind the Blue Hens 1-0 after the first frame, tied the game with a Tyler Horan blast to right-center field. The home run was the left fielder’s second on the season.
Markey needed little more support, but received plenty of it as the Hokies added on another eight runs over the next three innings. Chad Pinder and Sean Keselica paced the Hokies offense with six RBI on six hits.
When Markey’s night was over he handed his bullpen a 9-2 game.
The Hokies’ relievers surrendered two more in the final three frames, but numerous Hokies insurance runs, primarily the four-run seventh inning, kept the lead safely in the hands of the home team.
“We have to find somebody other than Jake Joyce and Clark Labitan to feel good at the end of the game. These next couple games…Sean Kennedy threw a lot of strikes but they got some hits off him,” Hughes said.
After two pedestrian performances just a day prior, Hughes was impressed with the attitude his team brought to the ballpark.
“I liked our energy," Hughes said. "Guys came to the park locked in. We played hard and got the bats going with a couple early runs, gets you feeling good. Much better feeling than it was yesterday that’s for sure.”
The Hokies will face the Blue Hens once more Monday at 3 p.m. for the finale of the four game weekend, which included games against Temple, Holy Cross and Delaware.
-Devin Burke (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the ball for the Hokies tomorrow.
-Six of the Hokies 13 runs were scored on two-out hits.
Sports editor Matt Jones contributed to this story.