Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Tech gets a complete game from Devin Burke and will play the OU-UConn loser on Sunday.
Chad Pinder is mobbed by his Virginia Tech teammates after his eighth-inning home run during an NCAA baseball regional game against Coastal Carolina at English Field on Saturday.
Virginia Tech’s Andrew Rash (right) is met aftercelebrates his 7th inning home run by with teammate Chad Morgan (33) during an NCAA college baseball tournament regionalin a game against Coastal Carolina.
Coastal Carolina’s Colin Hering (bottom) is tagged out by Virginia Tech’s Chad Pinde at home plate after a run down in the second inning Saturday. Pinder had two hits and two RBIs in the win.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech’s bats finally came alive Saturday.
The team stayed alive, too.
Andrew Rash and Chad Pinder homered as part of a 14-hit barrage to help the Hokies beat Coastal Carolina 9-1 in a losers’ bracket game of their NCAA regional in front of 1,772 fans at English Field.
Tech (39-21), the top seed in this four-team, double-elimination regional, was coming off a 5-2 loss to Connecticut on Friday. Of the 16 No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, Tech was the only one to lose on Friday.
“I told the boys before the [Coastal] game the only option today was to win,” said Rash, a fifth-year senior who had three hits and three RBIs. “The only mindset that we had was ‘Win,’ and we went out there and did it.”
The Hokies had scored just nine runs in their previous four games combined, including a 4-1 loss to North Carolina in the title game of the ACC tournament last weekend.
“That’s how it usually goes — [a dry spell] sticks around for four or five games and then it leaves you,” coach Pete Hughes said.
Rash belted a solo homer to left in the seventh inning, extending Tech’s lead to 2-0.
“Once Andrew Rash hit that home run, our whole offense really kind of ignited, and we all felt comfortable at the plate with a little bit of a lead,” said Mark Zagunis, who had four hits and three RBIs. “It took any extra pressure off our team and we could just go out and have a good time. When you go out and have a good time, that’s when you play the best.”
“With these guys, whenever there’s a home run, it just relaxes everybody and then everyone jumps in,” Hughes said.
Devin Burke pitched a five-hitter for Tech, which must beat UConn its next opponent in another losers’ bracket game at 1 p.m. today to advance to the regional final against Oklahoma at 5:30 p.m. today.
“When you’re in the losers’ bracket, it’s critical to get a quality start [from Burke]. And a complete game? Holy cow,” Hughes said. “It saves our bullpen, which we’re going to need. It was a really good way to bounce back after a disappointing night.”
Saturday’s game was scoreless after five innings.
“That was a brutal game for five innings,” Hughes said. “When there’s no energy in the game, you’ve kind of got to dictate it yourself. That’s why we started getting aggressive.”
Tech took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth. Alex Perez walked, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored all the way from second when Zagunis legged out an infield single with two outs.
“We’ve been struggling to get people in all regional so far, so I just kind of really focused and tried to put the ball in play,” Zagunis said. “I just really hustled and was fortunate enough to beat it out, and Alex did a great job hustling as well.”
“I probably should’ve held onto the ball because that would’ve led to the guy [Perez] just staying at third,” said Coastal second baseman Jake Kane, who fielded Zagunis’ hit and threw to first.
Rash homered to lead off the seventh.
The Hokies scored again in the seventh when Chad Morgan walked, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball and scored on a safety squeeze bunt by Perez.
Pinder smacked a solo homer to left in the eighth.
The Hokies scored five more times in the ninth.
Burke (11-3) had a shutout going until Jacob May, the grandson of former Baltimore Orioles standout Lee May, homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Burke, who threw 121 pitches, struck out two and walked two. He allowed just two hits in the final seven innings.
“I didn’t feel tired at all,” Burke said. “My stuff did get better as the game went on. I definitely felt stronger.”
Pinder had two hits and two RBIs. Kyle Wernicki had three hits and scored a run.
Coastal (37-23) went 0-2 in the regional. The third-seeded Chanticleers played both games without shortstop Nick Oberg, who underwent an appendectomy Friday.
Brad Markey (4-4) will start for the Hokies in today’s early game.
If Tech wins twice today, it will play again at 7 p.m. Monday in the second and decisive game of the regional finals.
Virginia Tech 000 001 215 — 9 14 1
Coastal Carolina 000 000 001 — 1 5 0
D. Burke and Morgan; Smith, Kerr (7), Connolly (8), Lamando (9), A. Burke (9) and Powell, W. Remillard. W— D. Burke (11-3). L— Smith (5-4). HRs— VT: Rash (10), Pinder (8); CC: May (7).
Weather Journal7 wintry scenarios for Sunday