Virginia Tech rallies, knocks off UVa. in extras

The Virginia baseball team dropped a 10-8 game in 11 innings to Virginia Tech Friday in the ACC opener at Davenport Field. UVa (7-5-1, 0-1 ACC) squandered a four-run lead in the ninth inning in the defeat.

UVa finished with nine hits. Nate Irving (Fr., Yonkers, N.Y.) had a pair of hits for the Cavaliers. Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) scored a pair of runs and also drove in two.

Virginia relief pitcher Branden Kline (Jr., Frederick, Md.) tossed the final 3.0 innings and took the loss to fall to 2-2 this year. He gave up seven runs (six earned), five hits and four walks while striking out four. UVa starting pitcher Whit Mayberry (Jr., Alexandria, Va.) worked 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs, seven hits and four walks while tying a career high with seven strikeouts.

Virginia Tech reliever Clark Labitan (3-0) was credited with the win after 1.2 innings of scoreless work. Starter Manny Martir worked 4.0 innings, giving up an earned run, two hits and two walks while striking out four.

Virginia scored the game’s first run in the second inning without registering a hit, with Werman getting the run home with a sacrifice fly.

Virginia Tech (12-2, 1-0) tied the game in the third on an RBI double from Jake Atwell, then tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth on an RBI triple from Tyler Horan and a sacrifice fly from Alex Perez.

UVa sliced a run from the lead in the fifth on a Mike Papi (Fr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) sacrifice fly, and the Cavaliers then forged ahead with a four-run sixth inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Werman laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.). Werman reached when first baseman Sean Keselica unsuccessfully tried to shovel the ball to the plate. Taylor followed with a two-run triple to right center, and he scored on a two-out single from Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.).

The Cavaliers added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single from Irving.

Virginia Tech rallied in the ninth inning. Kline walked the first two batters, and Chad Pinder followed with a double to score Atwell. Johnny Morales grounded out to score a run, and Andrew Rash was hit by a pitch. Kline struck out Horan for the second out, then uncorked a wild pitch to advance Rash to second. Keselica was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Chad Morgan blooped the next pitch into shallow right field to score a pair and tie the game.

The Hokies moved ahead in the top of the 10th when Papi dropped a fly ball with two outs, allowing Mark Zagunis to score, but Virginia countered in its half of the 10th with a Bruno sacrifice fly to plate Branden Cogswell (Fr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.).

Virginia Tech scored the eventual winning runs in the 11th inning. Kyle Wernicki led off with a single, stole second and scored on a double by Keselica. Morgan followed with a sacrifice fly to push the Hokies’ lead to 10-8. UVa threatened in its half of the 11th, but the inning came to a halt when Fisher ripped a line drive off Labitan, and the ball bounced directly to Perez at second base for a 1-4-6-3 double play to end the game.

Game two of the series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. Free hot chocolate and coffee will be available throughout the day, while supplies last.


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