The Virginia Tech baseball team used a nine-run second inning to defeat Radford 14-10 to improve to 8-1 on the season.
The game, which was pushed back a day due to Tuesday’s weather, was played in frigid and windy conditions at English Field. The elements did not hold back the Hokies’ bats, which registered a season-high 14 runs on the day
After the Highlanders scored twice in the top of the second on a Kyle Fairbanks RBI single and a subsequent stolen base, the Hokies rallied back in the bottom of the frame. Tech sent 14 batters to the plate in the nine-run outburst.
The Hokies have avoided letdowns after falling behind this season. Through nine games, Tech has trailed for just two innings. That resiliency showed itself once again on Wednesday.
“It’s just this lineup,” said Andrew Rash. “One through nine is spectacular. I haven’t played on many lineups with this kind of firepower, and I think it’s going to be like this all year.”
The second inning began with a Rash solo home run, his first of the season. The Hokies went station-to-station the rest of the inning, scoring on RBI from Matt Dauby (3), Rash (2), Sean Keselica (1), Chad Pinder (1), and Alex Perez (1).
“You come to the ballpark and see the wind blowing out, as a hitter you love it,” Rash said. “I think, offensively, we did some really good things today and had some young guys step up.”
Keselica, Tech’s starting pitcher, went four innings, allowing three runs on four hits. The sophomore made his second appearance of the season — his first start — after pitching a total of 3.1 innings all of last season.
“Very good outing from Sean Keselica, which we need,” Hughes said. “I liked his stuff today, threw a lot of strikes. I think he’s a long guy out of the pen versus left-handed lineups and maybe a mid-week starter, but I was real happy with his outing.”
The Glen Gardner, N.J. native was excited for his first start as a Hokie, while looking to expand his role as a reliever.
“It was my first time starting here at Tech, and I just had a simple mindset to pound the zone early and let the defense work,” Keselica said. “I think it’s crucial for me to be the long relief guy and just come in and do my job hopefully.”
Six Hokies had multi-hit games in the 16 hit effort. Rash, who entered the game batting .321, went 4-for-5 at the plate to raise his average to .394.
Hughes went with a slightly different lineup Wednesday. Outfielder Gary Schneider moved into the leadoff spot while Alex Perez hit eighth. With the big lead, Hughes was able to get some of his regulars some rest. Pinder, now hitting .375 on the season, left before the fourth inning with hamstring tightness. His status will be monitored.