The Virginia Tech baseball team fell to 0-2 in the ACC and 11-4 overall Saturday with a 14-9 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Unlike Friday, when the Hokies trailed from the second inning on, the game was a back-and-forth battle in which the lead changed hands five times.
The scoring started in the first inning as the Hokies got to Dusty Isaacs, Georgia Tech’s starter, from the very first batter. After Gary Schneider singled to lead off the game, he stole second to put himself in scoring position with no outs. He then advanced to third and then scored on back-to-back deep fly balls by Sean Keselica and Chad Pinder.
The Hokies weren’t able to maintain their lead for very long however, as Hokies starter Brad Markey allowed four runs on six singles, including five in a row, in the top of the second.
Markey, who attended Georgia Tech as a freshman before transferring to junior college and then Virginia Tech, received his first no decision of the year in his first appearance against his former team.
“I just wanted to do well,” Markey said. “I thought my pitches worked, and they kept staying in there, and kept grinding and ultimately won the battle.”
After a Brendon Hayden home run in the bottom of the second narrowed the deficit to two, a perfectly executed hit-and-run in the third inning notched Chad Pinder his second RBI of the game. Three more runners crossed the plate in the Hokies half and Isaacs’ day was done.
“I think our approach is always the same against every pitcher,” Pinder said. “You don’t need to change yourself from pitcher to pitcher. It’s just pitch-by-pitch; it’s what you’re going to do in every situation.”
Markey (2-1, 3.67 ERA) did not experience the same levels of success he has so far this year, but after battling through sixth plus innings, he left the game with the score in his favor.
Holding a 9-7 lead with runners on first and second and no outs, Coach Pete Hughes pulled decided to go to the bullpen. Clark Labitan and Jake Joyce, two of the Hokies most consistent relievers throughout their time in Blacksburg, combined for one inning of work, allowing six runs – two of which belonged to Markey – and five hit, while walking four.
Labitan was credited with the loss and falls to 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA on the year.
When the Hokies came up to bat in the bottom portion of the seventh, they found themselves trailing 13-9.
“I’ll go a month before I see that,” Hughes said, referring to the struggles of his best relievers. “9-7 in the seventh and I felt real good about or chances with our bullpen.”
Despite the troubles the Hokies bullpen experienced, Hughes was adamant that he had not lost faith in them.
“Our plan was to get to our bullpen as soon as we can,” Hughes said. “Those guys didn’t pitch well. They didn’t have good stuff – I don’t know why. Those guys have been reliable for their entire career here; we will go right back to them tomorrow.”
Although the Hokies may have let one get away from them, they have no time to let it linger. They will battle the Yellow Jackets for the final time in the regular season tomorrow.
“Sometimes you’re going to come out on top of those (games), and sometimes you’re on the bottom,” Pinder said.
“The best thing about baseball is we get to go out there again tomorrow, avoid the sweep and get the win – put us in the win column in the ACC.”