Home #5 Virginia Tech storms back from early deficit, defeats Villanova, 15-5
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#5 Virginia Tech storms back from early deficit, defeats Villanova, 15-5

virginia tech logoFifth-ranked Virginia Tech cranked up the heat after its slow start against Villanova as the Hokies thundered to a 15-5 non-conference victory at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.

Sophomore shortstop Tanner Schobel recorded the second four-hit game of his collegiate career, leading Tech offensively with his 4-for-5 outing that featured two RBIs and a stolen base. Nick Biddison batted in three runs and scored two himself during his 2-for-5 evening while Eduardo MalinowskiLucas Donlon and Carson DeMartini each put forth multi-hit performances from the bottom third of the Hokies’ lineup.

After first pitch of Saturday’s game had been postponed by five hours due to steady afternoon rainfall, Virginia Tech (32-10) struggled to find its form early, falling into a 5-0 hole less than two innings into the contest. Unable to cross the plate through its first four offensive innings, the Hokies struck gold during the bottom of the fifth inning, rallying for the first of two six-run frames that sent Tech on its winning course.

Villanova (17-23-1) carved its success against right-hand starter Griffin Green, who was charged with the five runs that put the Hokies behind. Chris Rotondo hit a two-run homer off Green five pitches into the ballgame while the Wildcats went on to plate three more runs during the second inning, scoring on an errant throw by Gavin Cross and a two-RBI single by Jack O’Reilly.

Donlon’s second single of the night put the wheels in motion for Tech’s six-run fifth inning that flipped the momentum over to the Hokies. DeMartini and Biddison followed with consecutive bunted singles – Biddison’s resulting in Tech’s first run when catcher Will Reiner errantly missed O’Reilly at first base, allowing Donlon to score from second base.

Cross and Tanner Schobel ended Villanova starter Tyler Arella’s day by pulling RBI singles through the right and left sides, respectively, later manifesting the sequence with a double steal against reliever Cole Patten. Conor Hartigan (RBI single) and Cade Hunter (RBI groundout) proceeded to drive in the game-tying runs during their ensuing at-bats while Malinowski crushed the go-ahead RBI double to right field to put Tech on top, 6-5.

Jonah Hurney blanked the Wildcats while collecting nine outs from 11 batters faced en route to earning his fourth relief victory of the 2022 season. Hurney made his way into the sixth inning where he was relieved by Graham Firoved, who struck out the side on his way to six strikeouts and three innings of one-hit, shutout pitching.

Cade Hunter unleashed his team co-leading, 14th home run during the bottom of the seventh inning, triggering a six-run, two-out rally for the Hokies. Tech benefitted from three defensive errors by Villanova, cracking double digits when Biddison’s booming fly ball bounced off the wall in left center for a two-RBI triple – his first of the season.

The Hokies added three runs during the eighth inning without a hit to lock in the scoring before Ryan Metz shut the Wildcats down to end the game.

Cade Hunter’s solo home run during the seventh inning marked Virginia Tech’s 85th home run of the 2022 season, setting the program’s ACC-era, single-season record. The Hokies’ 85 home runs hit during the 2022 season are the most the program has yielded since the 1988 campaign (140 homers).

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].