#6 seed Virginia Tech used a monster game from shortstop Chad Pinder and an efficient outing on the mound from Joe Mantiply to destroy #3 seed UVA 10-1 in their opening game of the ACC Tournament.
Pinder, Tech’s junior shortstop, hit two huge home runs and drove in six runs. His second inning two-run blast capped a six-run inning for the Hokies, and he later added a grand slam to account for the remainder of his team’s runs.
Pinder also got it done in the field, throwing a UVA runner out at the plate in the second inning, and he also had a critical 6-3 double play. He is projected to be selected in the first five rounds of June’s MLB Draft.
Mantiply, a senior from Danville, allowed just one run over seven innings. He surrendered seven hits and four walks, while striking out just two. While he did allow baserunners, Mantiply was excellent at getting out of jams. UVA loaded the bases with just one out in the first inning, but Tech’s ace got out of it with a strikeout and a groundout.
Mantiply continued to be shaky into the second inning, but Pinder’s clutch throw to the plate retired a UVA baserunner, and right fielder Andrew Rash made a great diving catch in foul territory to get their pitcher out of the inning. After his defense picked him up early in the game, Mantiply settled down to run his record to a perfect 6-0 in 12 starts.
This was Virginia Tech’s third straight win over UVA this season. The Hoos are ranked #5 in the country in this week’s Baseball America poll, and their loss to Tech dropped them to 45-10 on the season. The Hokies improved to 36-19, and they are currently ranked #21 in the Baseball America Top 25.
Tech has two games remaining against teams from their pod. They will take on #2 seed Florida State on Thursday night at 7pm. The Seminoles are ranked #7 nationally in the Baseball America poll. The Hokies will then play Georgia Tech on Friday afternoon at 3pm. Both games will be televised by RSN (check your local listings…today’s game was on Channel 642 on DirecTV).
Virginia Tech took two out of three games against Florida State during the regular season, but were beaten 2-1 in a three-game series against Georgia Tech. Yellow Jacket ace Buck Farmer, who beat the Hokies soundly during the regular season, pitched in Georgia Tech’s win over FSU on Wednesday. Thus, he won’t be available to pitch against VT on Friday.
Pete Hughes is expected to start Devin Burke (9-3, 3.49 ERA) against Florida State on Thursday night. FSU is expected to start Luke Weaver (6-2, 2.08 ERA). The Noles must beat Tech to stay alive for the ACC Championship. The winner of each pod will play in the Championship Game on Sunday.
At this point the Hokies are projected as a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but there is an outside chance they could host a regional if they win the ACC Championship.