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Tech (40-22) was hosting a regional for the first time, the Hokies hurt themselves with four errors in the final against the Sooners on Sunday night.
Virginia Tech closer Clark Labitan (center) celebrates with Chad Morgan (33) after the Hokies beat UConn 3-1 in the NCAA regionals at English Field on Sunday.
Virginia Tech's Chad Morgan (top) tags out UConn's Max McDowell during Sunday's losers' bracket final at the NCAA regional final at English Field in Blacksburg.
Monday, June 3, 2013
BLACKSBURG — Hurting its cause with errors yet again, the Virginia Tech baseball team saw its season come to an end Sunday night.
Helped by four Tech errors, Oklahoma beat the Hokies 10-4 in an NCAA regional final at English Field.
“You don’t play clean baseball on a Tuesday or in a regional final, you’re not going to win,” Tech coach Pete Hughes said.
Tech fifth-year senior Andrew Rash was in tears in the postgame news conference.
“I’m going to miss these guys,” he said.
The second-seeded Sooners (43-19) went 3-0 in the four-team, double-elimination regional to advance to the super regionals. If Tech had won Sunday night, a second and decisive game of the finals would have been necessary tonight.
“I’ve got 35 guys down there crying their eyes out because they want to go to the super regional,” Hughes said.
It was the third time in four years that Oklahoma made a successful postseason trip to the commonwealth. The Sooners won a super regional at Virginia in 2010 and a regional at UVa last year.
The Hokies advanced to the final by beating Connecticut 3-1 earlier in the day.
Tech (40-22), the top seed in this regional, was hosting a regional for the first time. But Tech went 2-2 in the regional, committing nine errors in those four games.
Defense was a problem in Tech’s final three losses of the year. Tech committed four errors in last weekend’s 4-1 loss to North Carolina in the ACC tournament title game and committed two costly errors in a 5-2 loss to UConn in Friday’s regional opener.
Aggressive baserunning also hurt Tech against Oklahoma.
With Tech leading the Sooners 1-0 in the fourth, Tyler Horan was thrown out trying to steal third. Rash then belted a solo homer to extend the lead to 2-0.
Aided by two Tech errors, the Sooners scored four runs in the sixth to grab a 4-2 lead.
With the bases loaded, Max White hit an RBI single to left. Matt Oberste hit a fielder’s choice grounder and first baseman Sean Keselica made an errant throw home, allowing the second run of the inning to score.
After an RBI single by Hector Lorenzana gave the Sooners a 3-2 lead, Hughes pulled starter Eddie Campbell (2-5) in favor of Jake Joyce. But the Sooners scored again on a throwing error by catcher Chad Morgan.
Tech scored a run to cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth, but two other Hokies were thrown out at home in that inning.
Sooners third baseman Garrett Carey made a barehanded grab of an Andrew Rash fielder’s choice grounder and threw out Mark Zagunis at home. Morgan hit an RBI single to center to bring home Horan, but Rash was thrown out at home as he tried to score on that single as well.
Tech had runners on first and second in the seventh, but Keselica struck out and Chad Pinder grounded out to end the inning.
The Sooners added six runs in the ninth, with the second run scoring on another Morgan error, for a 10-3 cushion.
Tech’s first game of the day was delayed two hours by rain.
Brad Markey (5-4) and Clark Labitan combined on a seven-hitter to beat fourth-seeded UConn (35-27) in the losers’ bracket final.
Leading 1-0, the Hokies scored again in the fourth when Horan doubled and scored on a Rash double.
In the bottom of the fifth, UConn’s Bobby Melley was on second and Max McDowell was on first when Tech second baseman Alex Perez committed an error while trying to catch a throw to first on a bunt. Both runners tried to score on the play, but only Melley did. Perez chased down the ball and threw to catcher Morgan, who tagged out McDowell at home.
Labitan, the team’s closer, relieved Markey with a man on first and one out in the sixth. Labitan pitched the rest of the way for his 11th save.
Sunday’s Game 1
Virginia Tech 010 100 001 — 3 7 2
Connecticut 000 010 000 — 1 7 1
Markey, Labitan (6) and Morgan; Marzi, Jolin (6), Mahoney (7), Feehan (7) and McDowell. W— Labitan (5-4). L— Marzi (5-7). Sv— Labitan (11). Attendance— 1,203.
Sunday’s Game 2
Oklahoma 000 004 006 — 10 13 1
Virginia Tech 010 101 001 — 4 13 4
Fisher, Ladd (6), Hayes (7), Evans (9) and Hermelyn; Campbell, Joyce (6) and Morgan, W— Fisher (3-2). L— Campbell (2-5). HR— VT: Rash (11).Body Type here.
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