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The Hokies improve to 8-2 against intrastate opponents as the season nears finish.
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Virginia Tech's Chad Morgan (33) rounds third base on his way to scoring during a second inning rally against Radford on Tuesday.
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
irginia Tech infield players celebrate after defeating Radford University 4-3 in Radford on Tuesday.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
RADFORD — There was no “hangover” for the Virginia Tech baseball team Tuesday.
The No. 25 Hokies followed up Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Virginia by defeating Radford 4-3.
Tech (28-18), which rejoined the Baseball America Top 25 on Monday after a three-week absence, took the lead in the first inning and never lost it.
“After an emotional weekend and a big series win, I thought our guys did a good job,” Tech coach Pete Hughes said. “Tuesdays are a challenge because it’s always an emotional hangover. You’ve got to be able to be consistent and play fundamental baseball, and I thought we did that.”
The Hokies improved to 8-2 against intrastate foes this season, including two wins in three games against then-No. 5 UVa last weekend.
“Starting two weeks ago, we are in a sprint for the rest of this season, and that means on Tuesday too. So I just said [before Tuesday’s game], ‘Let’s get the foot on the gas pedal and keep it there,’ ” Hughes said.
Last weekend marked the first time Tech won a series against UVa since 2009. Tech became the first team to sweep an ACC doubleheader from Virginia since 2008.
For the first time in their history, the Hokies have won two series in the same season against teams ranked in the top five. Tech won a series against then-No. 4 Florida State in March.
“Everyone’s starting to feel good,” said Sean Keselica, who had two hits and one RBI on Tuesday. “That was a great series win [against UVa]. And this midweek game kind of keeps our momentum going.”
The Highlanders (24-20), who upset UVa on April 8, lost to Tech for the second time this year.
Radford played without one of its best hitters. All-Big South shortstop Jeff Kemp missed his fourth straight game after straining cartilage in his rib cage in batting practice Thursday.
The Highlanders, who have lost four of their past five games, trailed 4-0 midway through the second inning.
“We don’t have the ability to play from behind,” coach Joe Raccuia said. “We’re not built that way offensively. So if we don’t get a good start or we don’t make plays early in the game, it puts us behind. We kind of need a couple zeroes early in the game because it relaxes us a little bit. When you’ve got a young team, it makes you feel a little more comfortable.
“We’re built off of being able to play defense and some foot speed. We’re not built for the big inning.”
The Hokies scored a run in the first on a wild pitch by Dylan Nelson (5-3).
They added three runs in the second. Chad Morgan had an RBI single and Ryan Burns and Keselica each had an RBI double.
The Highlanders left 10 men on base.
Radford scored a run in the bottom of the second on Chris Coia’s sacrifice fly. With the bases loaded, Brendon Hayden (2-0) retired Josh Reavis on a fly ball to right to get out of the inning.
Pinch hitter Nygeal Andrews had an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-2 in the sixth. With runners on second and third, Sean Kennedy struck out Coia and retired Josh Gardiner on a grounder to get out of the inning.
Zach Woolcock hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-3 in the ninth. After Woolcock stole second, Clark Labitan retired pinch hitter Kyle Fairbanks on a grounder to end the game and earn his seventh save.
Virginia Tech 130 000 000 — 4 8 1
Radford 010 001 001 — 3 9 0
Hayden, Kennedy (5), Markey (8), Labitan (9) and Morgan; Nelson, Maxwell (4), Woods (7), Andrews (8), Costello (9) and Reavis. W— Hayden (2-0). L— Nelson (5-3). Sv— Labitan (7).
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