Hokies handed second Clash defeat by No. 18 Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Facing an uphill battle during most of the afternoon on Friday, the Virginia Tech baseball team was handed a second loss by No. 18 Virginia during the Commonwealth Clash presented by Smithfield, playing to the 13-3 defeat in seven innings (via run rule) at Davenport Field at Disharoon Park.

Senior first baseman Gehrig Ebel led Virginia Tech (32-19, 14-15 ACC) offensively for the second straight day, batting 2-for-4 with an RBI double. Ebel's eighth two-bagger of the season marked Tech's third hit of the opening inning, presenting the Hokies with their first lead of the series.

Fortunes would soon turn against Virginia Tech during the bottom of the second inning when starter Griffin Stieg was pulled for tenderness after sitting down the first five Cavaliers he faced. Warming up on short order, Tech reliever David Shoemaker was greeted by a solo home run off the bat of Harrison Didawick, who knotted the game at 1-1 with his second home run of the Clash.

Virginia (39-14, 17-12 ACC) began pulling away during the bottom of the third inning, rallying for three runs on five hits, including a pair of leadoff singles by Bobby Whalen and Griff O'Ferrall. Ethan Anderson grounded in a run to put the Cavaliers on top, 2-1, before the hosts did reliever Jacob Exum in for three straight singles, two of which resulted in RBIs for Henry Ford and Didawick.

Despite Virginia Tech putting two leadoff runners on base to start the top of the fourth inning, Virginia negated the potential game-tying threat by turning a timely, 6-4-3 double play – one of two nifty infield sequences executed by the Cavaliers.

On the flip side of the inning, Virginia blitzed reliever Wyatt Parliament for three home runs during a span of five inning-opening batters. Eric Becker (solo homer), Anderson (three-run homer) and Casey Saucke (solo homer) brutally pushed the Cavaliers' lead to 9-1, as they widened their grip on both the game and the series.

Held hitless from the second through fifth innings, Virginia Tech fell further behind, 11-1, after Anderson's two-run home run during the bottom of the fifth inning – the designated hitter's second home run of the contest. The Hokies and the 'Hoos finished by trading two-run frames during the sixth inning, Jake Slade having his pinch-hit two-RBI single answered by Henry Godbout's two-run home run.

Joe Savino pitched five innings for Virginia, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out two batters while walking four. Blake Barker and Ryan Osinski toed the Cavaliers through the remainder of the seven-inning affair.

Fifth-year Tech outfielder Ben Watson (.415 batting average) extended his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games while junior second baseman Christian Martin went 1-for-2 with a walk for the Hokies, reaching base safely for the 19th straight ballgame.
Virginia Tech will look to salvage a victory during its regular season finale at No. 18 Virginia on Saturday, May 18. First pitch between the Hokies and the Cavaliers at Davenport Field at Disharoon Park is scheduled for 5 p.m.