Hokies thwarted by Hurricanes on Senior Night, 7-5

BLACKSBURG – Spotted an early lead on Saturday night, the Virginia Tech baseball team was one big inning away from holding on and leveling the series against Miami, despite receiving the 7-5 defeat by the Hurricanes at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.

Graduate pitchers Jeremy Neff and Matthew Siverling anchored the opening four and closing three and two-thirds innings on the mound for Virginia Tech (31-17, 13-13 ACC). Neff set a season high with seven strikeouts – topping out at 220 career strikeouts – while Siverling fanned three batters, collecting the final 11 outs from 11 batters faced.

Junior third baseman Carson DeMartini scored on both of his two doubles, batting 2-for-5 to lead Tech's offense that was outhit by the challengers, 9-8. Fifth-year outfielder Ben Watson extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive games with a single during the third inning while sophomore shortstop Clay Grady added a 2-for-3 showing from the middle of the Hokies' lineup.

Virginia Tech led, 4-1, through three innings of play and carried the 4-2 lead into the sixth inning where Miami (23-26, 10-16 ACC) turned the game in its favor. The Hurricanes rallied for five runs on four hits, leveraging the Hokies into making three bullpen calls before escaping with the 7-4 advantage.

Jack Scanlon's solo home run against Grant Manning cut Tech's lead to 4-3 while a pinch-hit double by Edgardo Villegas introduced Miami's tying run on base. Dealt a 3-1 count by Jacob Stretch, Jacoby Long proceeded to double in Villegas through the gap in left center, knotting the game at 4-4 with the Hurricanes threatening for more.

With the bases loaded, Tech reliever Jordan Little surrendered a four-pitch, RBI walk to Dorian Gonzalez, putting Miami on top for the first time since the opening inning. Carlos Perez followed by slapping a two-RBI single through the right side, shooting the visitors out to the 7-4 lead.

Virginia Tech responded early to Daniel Cuvet's solo homer during the first inning, plating the game's next four runs without a run-scoring hit. The Hokies put together two runs during the first inning and tacked on solitary runs during each of the next two frames, nearly cashing in for more during the bottom of the fourth inning.

There with one out, Tech loaded the bases for Christian Martin, who batted the first pitch he faced from starter Rafe Schlesinger off his right foot and down the right side of the infield. Despite the circumstance, Martin's ground ball was ruled fair by home plate umpire Ryan Clark, allowing Miami to complete the awkward, 3-2 double play and squash the Hokies' impending rally.

Virginia Tech put the potential game-tying runs on base during both the eighth and ninth innings, though was unable to pull any closer than 7-5. With runners at the corners and one out during the bottom of the ninth inning, Grady ended up grounding into the game-ending, 6-3 double play.

Schlesinger pitched six innings for the Hurricanes, allowing four runs on seven hits while recording two strikeouts. Nick Robert provided the three-inning save, despite walking five batters.

Virginia Tech will look to snap its three-game losing skid on Sunday, May 12, when it contests its series finale against Miami. First pitch at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park is scheduled for 1 p.m.Gallery: (5-11-2024) BSB: Senior Day and Miami Game 2