No. 13 Virginia Tech Baseball Pitches Its Way To Marshall Win

Jordan Vera led Virginia Tech on the mound in Tuesday’s win over Marshall. (Morgan Gay)

Behind dominant collective pitching and an early spark of offense, No. 13 Virginia Tech kept Marshall at bay for a 4-2 win on a cold, rainy Tuesday afternoon at English Field.

The Hokies (19-4, 8-1 ACC) received a first-inning, three-run double from catcher Henry Cooke while their arms combined for 10 strikeouts and no walks against the Thundering Herd (8-16, 2-4 Sun Belt) to notch their seventh straight win and 17th victory in their last 19 games.

“We pitched really well,” Tech head coach John Szefc said. “We didn’t walk a batter in the whole game. We only gave up four free bases over the last eight innings. That’s why we won, because we pitched so well.”

In a ballgame where the Hokies scored their fewest runs of the season and tied their season-low in hits (6), the arms put them over the top.

Jordan Vera started on the bump for the second time this season and delivered a sharp outing, tossing 3 ⅔ innings of one-hit ball, allowing five hits and striking out six batters, all in the first 13 hitters he faced. The lone run allowed by the Ole Miss transfer was on a passed ball by Cooke in the top of the first inning.

“Just tried to throw strikes,” Vera said. “I think the biggest thing for me up to now was my command being a little off. So just attacking with the fastball has kind of been the biggest adjustment. So probably just keeping the fastball in the zone.”

In the home half of the opening frame, Cooke raked his bases-clearing triple into the gap in right center field after each of Tech’s first three batters walked on just 13 combined pitches. That was a theme on the day for the Hokies, who only registered six hits but took as many free trips to first. No player recorded more than one hit in the ballgame, and Ben Watson’s 0-for-4 day ended his 18-game hitting streak.

Cooke — who has caught each of Tech’s last nine games — is 17-for-his-last-35 with three home runs and 15 RBI. With Gehrig Ebel currently serving a suspension for violating team rules, the sophomore has held things down well behind the dish.

David McCann hit a solo home run to give Virginia Tech a lift on Tuesday. (Morgan Gay)

While the Tech offense only plated one more run via a fourth-inning 437-foot solo home run from David McCann, the bullpen kept the lead safe and secure. Jacob Exum and Preston Crowl combined for four shutout innings, giving up two hits with a pair of strikeouts before Jordan Little recorded his fourth save of the season — and third in the last five days — to secure the win.

“He’s been huge,” Vera said of Little. “He’s a psychopath. As a hitter, I wouldn’t want to face him. What he did at Boston [College], coming in after seven innings of rest, I’ve never seen that. He’s been a huge part of our bullpen. So hats off to him.”

It didn’t come easy for the East Carolina transfer, though. He loaded the bases before recording an out in the ninth inning with a pair of singles and a hit by pitch. But he was able to retire three consecutive Marshall batters to strand the tying run in scoring position.

“He’s earned the opportunity to stay out there and do his thing,” Szefc said of Little. “He wasn’t out there walking people. They had some good at-bats, like give them credit. … He’s been way more good than not good for us in tight situations. So when a guy has been that way, he’s going to have a longer leash than if a guy hasn’t been that way. And that’s also why you put him in the game in that situation, because it was a save situation.”

Tech stays home for a weekend series with last-place Pitt (11-10, 1-8 ACC), which begins  on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET on ACC Network Extra. The Hokies will look to continue their best-ever start to ACC play and win their seventh consecutive series to start the season.

“We just keep doing what we do,” reliever Andrew Sentlinger said. “We’ve got really good hitters, good pitchers. If the pitchers maybe aren’t on, the hitters pick us up or vice versa. Just keep doing that, and I think we’re just as good as any team in the country and we can beat anyone.”

Box Score: No. 13 Virginia Tech 4, Marshall 2 

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Pitching depth is a very good sign this early in season…hard to throw to maximum effectiveness when its still cold.

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