It was expected to be a day of celebration inside English Field at Union Park, but instead No. 21 Louisville (24-11, 9-9) played spoiler, sweeping Virginia Tech (15-20, 6-12) by throttling the Hokies 16-1 during the Saturday night grand opening of the stadium.
Virginia Tech had its largest crowd of the season Saturday night, with 3,420 fans in attendance for all the festivities. John C. Asbury, CEO and President of Union Bank & Trust, cut the ribbon ‘officially’ opening English Field at Union Park. Several Hokies threw out ceremonial first pitches, including long time baseball coach Chuck Hartman and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
“It was a really impressive deal,” said head coach John Szefc. “From the administrative standpoint, it just shows you how first-class everything is done here. It doesn’t really surprise me because of how well things are done here. It was pretty typical of how they do it. The event was really well planned out and well executed.”
The raucous crowd was quickly silenced when Louisville exploded for 10 runs in the first two innings. Freshman Ian Seymour only threw 21-of-45 pitches for strikes and had the shortest outing of his career, only lasting one inning. The combination of walks (10 for the game) and untimely errors (three errors for six unearned runs) quickly led to a blowout and sweep for Louisville.
In game one of the series, Virginia Tech wasted an outstanding performance from Friday night starter Connor Coward, losing 3-2. Coward tossed 8.2 innings while allowing three runs (two earned runs), one walk, and striking out 11 batters. He ultimately picked up the loss when he surrendered a solo shot to Louisville’s Josh Stowers in the top of the ninth.
The Hokies had their chances, but left nine on base, including the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the sixth.
“Baseball is a game of opportunities,” Szefc said. “You have to take advantage of the opportunities you have. They certainly did and that’s the difference in a one run game.”
In game two of the series, the offense again sputtered with only four hits, and the Hokies lost 3-1. The trio of Luke Scherzer, Nic Enright, and Joey Sullivan combined for 9.0 innings, six hits, three runs (two earned), and three strikeouts. Louisville’s team ERA now stands at 3.43 after the three-game series.
Following the sweep, Virginia Tech dropped to last place in the ACC Coastal. There’s no rest for the weary. After playing five games in five days this past week, the Hokies play two weekday games this week – at Radford on Tuesday and home against Old Dominion on Wednesday – before traveling to Notre Dame for the weekend series.
“I’m going to take a couple days to think about it,” said Szefc concluding the finish of the series.
Virginia Tech gets its chance to right the ship on Tuesday at Radford. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.