Defense and a lack of timely hitting let the Hokies down in a 5-2 loss to UConn on Friday evening at English Field. The Hokies are now in the losers’ bracket of the NCAA Regionals. They must beat Coastal Carolina tomorrow to stay alive, and they now have to win four games in a row to advance to Super Regionals.
Joe Mantiply, who had not lost a game since May 18, 2012, was not at his best. However, he didn’t get much help from his defense either. Of the four runs Mantiply allowed, only one was earned. He even suffered from the rare throwing error by the catcher on a throw back to the pitcher. With a runner on third, Chad Morgan shorthopped a throw back to Mantiply, the ball rolled off the mound, and the runner advanced to score.
Overall, Mantiply pitched 4.1 innings and allowed one earned run. He allowed 10 hits, approximately half of which were of the seeing-eye-single variety. He is now 6-1 on the season.
UConn starter Carson Cross, who entered the game 8-4 with an impressive 2.50 ERA, was excellent. He went 6.1 innings and allowed just 1 earned run on six hits and three walks. He struck out three batters.
The Hokies had nine base hits in this game, drew five walks, and Chad Pinder was hit by a pitch twice. However, they suffered from a lack of timely hitting and left 12 men on the base paths.
Virginia Tech (38-21) will play Coastal Carolina tomorrow at 1pm in an elimination game. The loser will go home, and the winner will live to fight another day.