#3 Virginia Tech stages six-run fifth inning to rally from 9-5 down, defeat Duke
Navigating a wild, back-and-forth affair on Thursday afternoon that featured 11 combined home runs, the No. 3 Virginia Tech baseball team buckled down and overcame its 9-5, mid-game deficit against Duke to win the teams’ series opener, 15-11, at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.
Like its early-season outpourings of home runs, Virginia Tech (38-11, 17-9 ACC) hammered six homers to the Blue Devils’ five, leaving the yard three times during its six-run fifth inning that put Tech back in control. The Hokies had fallen behind, 5-4, during the fourth inning and trailed by four runs entering the bottom of the fifth inning, rallying to outscore the visitors by the 10-2 margin throughout the remainder of the game.
Making his second consecutive start, third-year designated hitter Carson Jones went 3-for-5 to lead Tech, scoring three runs and crushing two home runs – his second and third blasts of the week. Jack Hurley matched Jones with three hits, dropping the bloop double down the left field line that kickstarted the Hokies’ heroic fifth inning.
Though Tanner Schobel was unable to score on Hurley’s fifth-inning double, Cade Hunter lifted the RBI single into right field that did the job, bringing Tech within the 9-6 score line of Duke (22-30, 10-18 ACC). With one swing of the bat, fifth-year second baseman Eduardo Malinowski evened the contest, skying a 1-0 pitch by Marcus Johnson deep to left field for the game-tying, three-run homer.
However, the Hokies’ theatrics were far from over. On Johnson’s very next pitch, Jones – who had homered to lead off the fourth inning – brought out Tech’s iconic home run hammer yet again to put the hosts on top, 10-9.
Biddison kept the home runs flying for the Hokies, capping the fifth inning with a solo shot that cushioned Tech’s lead to 11-9. After Luke Storm and Schobel had traded solo homers during the sixth inning, the Hokies did Duke in for three more runs during the bottom of the seventh inning, benefiting from Biddison’s RBI double that completed his 2-for-5, three-RBI day.
Tech starter Griffin Green had trouble settling in against the Blue Devils, surrendering five hits and three runs during his first trip through the order. Hunter sported Green a 3-1 lead with his two-run homer during the bottom of the first inning, but the Blue Devils sent Green packing three batters into the fourth inning, leaving him responsible for six earned runs.
In total, nine of the Hokies’ 14 hits landed for extra bases on Thursday (three doubles, six home runs). Tech also witnessed five offensive players sport multi-hit games and five players notch multi-RBI performances.