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May 13, 2014

Around The Bases: Week 13

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With a weekend off from ACC play, the Hokies played just two midweek games over the last week. Now, we enter the final week of regular season play and the Hokies have a slim chance to sneak into the ACC Tournament. It will take a sweep this week, but it remains possible.

The Week In Review

Tuesday - Game 48: 4-3 L to West Virginia
The old Virginia Tech/West Virginia rivalry was renewed on the diamond last week as the Hokies and Mountaineers battled at a neutral site in Princeton, West Virginia. Unfortunately for the Hokies this one went very similar to their ACC Friday games over the course of the season.

Freshman pitcher Aaron McGarity started and threw perhaps the best he has thrown all season, as he scattered eight hits over 6.2 innings and gave up just two runs.

Shortstop Ricky Surum gave the Hokies a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the top of the second inning, but West Virginia tied it a few frames later with a single of their own. Left fielder Phil Sciretta regained the lead for the Hokies in the sixth inning with an RBI single that plated designated hitter Brendon Hayden.

Unfortunately for McGarity, a fielder error in the bottom half of the inning put a runner on second base, where he scored on an RBI single by West Virginia outfielder Jacob Rice.

Tanner McIntyre relived McGarity with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and got his one out to end the inning. In the top half of the eighth inning, Sciretta again came up big with an RBI single to make it 3-2 Hokies.

First baseman Sean Keselica moved from first base to the mound to try and close out the game, but gave up two runs on an RBI double and a fielder's choice. Suddenly, the Hokies were down 4-3 and had three outs to try and tie the game.

In the top of the ninth inning, only center fielder Saige Jenco, who went 3-for-5 on the day, could manage a single with two outs. Second baseman Alex Perez grounded out to end the game and hand the Hokies their tenth one-run loss of the season.

Wednesday - Game 49: 12-5 W over Northeastern
Virginia Tech wasted no time taking control on Wednesday, as the Hokies plated four runs in the first two innings off an RBI single by Hayden, an RBI groundout by Keselica, an RBI single by Sciretta, and an RBI double by Hayden.

The Huskies battled back with three runs in the top of the third inning off of Virginia Tech starter Matt Tulley, who threw three innings and earned the win in just his fifth start of the season.

A trio of RBI singles in the fourth inning by Perez, Mark Zagunis, and Keselica extended the lead to 7-3, Hokies.

McIntyre relieved Tulley and threw 1.2 innings as he gave up two tallies in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI double and a bases loaded walk. From there, it was all Hokies.

Sciretta singled in another run as he continued his big week and Keselica scored on an error in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 9-5 Hokies. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Hayden doubled home a run to make it 10-5. Finally, an RBI single by Jenco and a sacrifice fly by Perez made it 12-5.

Brad Markey came on and threw a perfect ninth inning in eleven pitches that likely served more as part of his throwing regimen during the off week than anything else.

Last Chance for the Hokies

Last week, we identified the three things Virginia Tech needs to happen to sneak into the ACC tournament. Here's a refresher:

1) Sweep NC State this week and hope the Wolfpack only win at the most, two out of three against Wake Forest last weekend.

The Wolfpack won the Friday and Saturday games against the Demon Deacons, but lost the Sunday matinee in extra innings, so this is still in play. Virginia Tech must sweep the Wolfpack this weekend.

2) Hope Pittsburgh gets swept by both Maryland (last week) and Notre Dame (this week).

The Panthers have obliged so far, as Maryland thumped them at home three times. They lost the Friday game 21-1. They take on Notre Dame this weekend and have to be swept by the league's worst team for the Hokies to have any shot.

3) Hope Boston College loses at least two out of three to Clemson this weekend.

The Eagles travel to Clemson to face the Tigers in their regular season finale. Clemson is 13-13 in the ACC but are very capable of sweeping a home series.

The Week Ahead

Tues, May 13 - vs. William & Mary (5:30 p.m.)
Thurs, May 15 - vs. NC State (5:30 p.m., ESPN3)
Fri, May 16 - vs. NC State (5:30 p.m.)
Sat, May 17 - vs. NC State (2:00 p.m.)

First up this week is a visit from a very talented William & Mary team. The Tribe are 30-18 overall and 14-3 in the CAA. They are likely a tournament team and will present a tough challenge for the Hokies.

This weekend is a big one in Blacksburg, as graduation ceremonies coincide with the season finale series against NC State. As mentioned above, the Hokies must sweep the Wolfpack to even have a chance of slipping into the play-in game at the ACC Tournament next week. It will be a tough chore for the Hokies, despite NC State's surprising struggles this year.

If you get a chance, head out to English Field Thursday night as Carlos Rodon will get the ball for the Wolfpack on the mound. Rodon is the favorite to be drafted first overall in this June's MLB Draft.

Virginia Tech NEWS


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