Charlotte Holds Virginia Tech Baseball At Bay To Avoid Sweep

Griffin Stieg and Virginia Tech didn’t have as much success on Sunday against Charlotte as they did in the first two games. (Virginia Tech athletics)

Charlotte flipped the script against Virginia Tech on Sunday to notch its first win of 2024 and avoid being swept at home to open the season.

The 49ers (1-2) jumped over the Hokies’ (2-1) pitching early and often to establish a lead that they didn’t relinquish, keeping Tech at arm’s length for a 10-5 victory inside Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.

After registering just six hits and four earned runs in the first two games of the series, Charlotte exploded to the tune of 13 hits and 10 runs.

The Hokies weren’t able to replicate their formula for success from Friday and Saturday. Starting pitcher Griffin Stieg wasn’t as sharp as his two predecessors in the series, throwing just two innings and giving up four hits, five runs and issuing a walk without recording a strikeout. The bullpen stumbled as well; all but one Hokie pitcher (Jordan Little) gave up a run. 

All the while, Tech’s bats struggled with only six hits, going 2-for-16 with runners on base and 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The offense combined for eight strikeouts, with Carson DeMartini, Eddie Micheletti Jr. and Sam Tackett each striking out twice. Only four members of the starting lineup recorded hits.

In contrast, every member of the 49ers lineup reached base as they went 9-for-22 with runners on and 4-for-11 with RISP. Charlotte also benefited from timely hitting, going 6-for-14 with two outs. Third baseman Noah Furcht was red-hot, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.

After falling behind by a run in the second inning following some nifty baserunning by catcher Gehrig Ebel, who scored from second base on a wild pitch, Charlotte ripped off six consecutive runs in the second and third innings.

Furcht led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run and right fielder Thad Ector lifted a two-out, two-strike RBI double to left field for Charlotte to take a 2-1 lead. Tackett nearly made an incredible leaping grab, but the ball fell out of his glove against the wall.

In the third inning, the 49ers loaded the bases before Stieg or Jeremy Neff could record an out. They proceeded to score on a Furcht walk, Juan Correa sac fly and a two-out, two-strike, two-run single from Ector to take a commanding 6-1 lead heading into the middle innings.

Charlotte starter Cole Reynolds gave up a solo home run to first baseman Garrett Michel — which traveled 378 feet to opposite field — to lead off the fourth and a sac fly to left fielder Chris Cannizzaro in the fifth, but he was very solid otherwise to keep Tech at bay. In his 4 ⅔ innings of work, he gave up four hits and three runs with three walks while striking out three Hokies. 

Following a stretch of seven consecutive Charlotte batters retired by Neff, the 49ers offense woke back up in the sixth inning with a Brandon Stahlman RBI single and a Carson Bayne sac fly to make it 8-3.

Tech continued to claw back in the seventh inning with an RBI double from DeMartini and another sac fly from Cannizzaro to reduce the lead to three, but Charlotte continued its hot streak against the rest of the Hokies bullpen. It knocked two more RBI singles: one from Dante DeFranco against Jacob Exum in the seventh and another from Rene Lastres off Carson Ohl in the eighth, reaching double-digit runs to ice the game. 

The Hokies, meanwhile, went down in order in the eighth inning and left two runners stranded in the ninth to lose their first game of the season.

Neff registered the longest outing of the game for Tech, tossing 3 ⅓ innings and giving up three hits, three runs and three walks with a strikeout. Exum threw 1 ⅓ innings, allowing three hits and a run with a strikeout. Ohl, a transfer from Grand Canyon, gave up a hit, a run and a walk with two strikeouts in ⅔ of an inning in his Hokies debut.

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s bullpen was excellent, combining for 4 ⅓ innings of two-hit ball, giving up just two runs and a walk. Tony Rossi tossed the last 2 ⅔ innings and didn’t give up a hit while striking out four Hokies to pick up the win.

Tech returns to action on Wednesday for an in-state midweek clash with James Madison (1-2) — which knocked off No. 3 Arkansas on Sunday — at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

Box Score: Charlotte 10, Virginia Tech 5

1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. looking at the previous two wins’ box scores you’ll see a lot of KOs –
    I think the line scores indicated 15 & 9 KOs. yipes!! even I noticed
    that smoke alarm. now add 9 more KOs in the loss.
    our bats are not hitting opposing pitches. 33 is an inordinate amount
    of KOs – lack of contact and putting the ball in play – in three games,
    if you expect to be a consistent winner and make the CWS.

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