Devin Burke pitched a complete game, and Virginia Tech eliminated Coastal Carolina from NCAA Regionals with a 9-1 win at English Field on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies remain alive, and they ran their record to 39-21 with the win.
Burke went all nine innings, allowing just five hits on 121 pitches. Coastal Carolina got a ninth inning solo homer from Jacob May, but they other than that they never threatened. Burke ran his record to 11-4 on the season with today’s win.
“When you’re in the loser’s bracket, it’s critical to get a quality start and a complete game,” Virginia Tech coach Pete Hughes said. “It saves our bullpen, which we’re going to need. Holy cow…that game was Devin Burke setting the tone for everything.”
Burke toyed with Coastal Carolina with fastballs and offspeed pitches for the first five innings. In the sixth he began throwing a first pitch curveball that kept opposing hitters off balance. The score was 0-0 after five innings, but after the Hokies took a 1-0 lead in the sixth, their bats began to wake up.
Andrew Rash led off the seventh with a solo shot, and Chad Pinder added another solo homer in the eighth inning. Leading 4-0 going into the ninth, Tech blasted four insurance runs across the plate in the top half of that frame and cruised to the win over the #3 seed in the Blacksburg Regional.
The Hokies will face the loser of tonight’s Oklahoma-UConn game on Sunday at 1pm at English Field. Brad Markey will likely get the ball for Virginia Tech. The loser of that game will be eliminated from NCAA Regionals, and the winner will play the winner of tonight’s game at 5:30pm on Sunday. That’s why Burke’s complete game was so critical today. It saved Tech’s bullpen for a possible double-header on Sunday, and a potential game on Monday as well.
After this afternoon’s action, Tech is one of 48 teams remaining in the field. They’ll have to win their next three games to advance to Super Regionals.