Hokies bat big, pitch 13 strikeouts to down 'Canes, 13-4

BLACKSBURG – With every starter landing in the hit column and its pitching staff dealing 13 strikeouts on Sunday afternoon, the Virginia Tech baseball team scored a complete-effort victory against Miami, prevailing by the 13-4 margin during its ACC home finale at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.

Fifth-year outfielder Ben Watson batted 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and two RBIs to lead the Hokies, elevating his season batting average to .422 (84-for-199) – the best mark among ACC hitters. Watson belted three or more hits for the 11th time during his first NCAA Division I campaign, extending his hitting streak to 10 consecutive games.

Junior third baseman Carson DeMartini put Virginia Tech (32-17, 14-13 ACC) on top, 2-0, during the bottom of the first inning with his 20th home run of the spring. In doing so, DeMartini became the Hokies' first slugger to swing 20 or more home runs during a season since 1996, following in the footsteps of MLB first baseman Kevin Barker.

Tech right-hander Griffin Stieg pitched three comfortable innings during his first start since April 28 when he had left prematurely at No. 15 North Carolina due to injury. Stieg allowed two runs on three hits and struck out two batters while totaling 52 pitches, departing with the Hokies clinging to the 3-2 lead.

Miami (23-27, 10-17 ACC) pulled itself even at 3-3 during the top of the fourth inning behind a pair of one-out singles by Lorenzo Carrier and Lucas Costello. Tasked with working out of a bases-loaded jam, reliever Wyatt Parliament surrendered the game-tying sacrifice fly to Jacoby Long before striking out Edgardo Villegas – one of three inning-ending strikeouts on Parliament's Sunday ledger.

Virginia Tech turned infield singles by Eddie Micheletti Jr. and Sam Tackett into its go-ahead run during the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners at first and second base and two outs, Tackett's infield hit found the diving glove of shortstop JD Urso, who flipped late to second base, allowing Micheletti to round third and score to put the Hokies ahead, 4-3.

Tech struck for two unearned runs during the bottom of the fifth inning as the Hurricanes' first baseman, Carlos Perez, was unable to secure the final out on Gehrig Ebel's pop up to shallow right field. Perez's dropped ball allowed Grady to score from third base, opening the door for Henry Cooke to shoot his RBI single to center field – part of his two-hit, three-RBI afternoon.

Eddie Eisert's first home run of the season opened Virginia Tech's six-run sixth inning that essentially put the game away with the hosts leading, 12-3.

Christian Martin's infield single foreshadowed another infield single by Watson that ended up plating two runs for the Hokies due to Ashton Crowther errantly throwing the ball away at first base. Soon after, Micheletti was the RBI beneficiary of a bases-loaded walk, setting the table for Cooke to deliver his two-RBI double into the gap in left center field.

Tech closer Jordan Little matched reliever Wyatt Parliament with five strikeouts, completing the three-inning save for Virginia Tech – his seventh of the season.

Costello went 3-for-3 to pace Miami, which also received two-hit showings from Long and Daniel Cuvet. Left-hand starter Herick Hernandez lasted four and two-thirds innings for the Hurricanes, recording six strikeouts while allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits.

Prior to the game, Virginia Tech recognized fifth-year pitcher Matthew Siverling as the recipient of the 2024 Johnny Oates Memorial Award. The award is presented annually to the program's most exemplary student-athlete who best exemplifies the traits Johnny was known for: being a loyal friend and teammate whose enduring and eternal faith, devotion to family, character, integrity, competitive nature, courage and perseverance continue to be an inspiration for all.

Virginia Tech will host its 2024 regular season finale on Tuesday, May 14, when the Hokies invite James Madison to English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. (previously 7 p.m.).
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