Hokies Baseball Scores Season-High 24 Runs Against George Mason

The Hokies posted 24 runs in Tuesday’s demolition of George Mason. (Morgan Gay)

Behind 26 hits and five home runs from its incandescent lineup, Hokies baseball walloped in-state foe George Mason 24-5 on Tuesday night at English Field for their seventh consecutive midweek win.

Virginia Tech (26-12) scored nine runs in the first inning, setting the tone for the rest of the ballgame as it set a new season-high in runs scored. Despite a couple of early rallies, the Patriots (17-21) were simply outmatched in every facet from the words “play ball.”

“There’s a little bit of separation between what’s coming out [our dugout] and what’s coming out of [their dugout],” Tech head coach John Szefc said. “That’s been the case thus far [in midweeks]. … It’s not like one or two guys are just driving the bus the whole time. We have a whole bunch of guys.”

Three of Tech’s homers came consecutively in the bottom of the first with Carson DeMartini, Gehrig Ebel and David McCann going back-to-back-to-back to give the home team a 6-2 lead. It did not look back from there. In the opening frame, the Hokies sent 14 batters to the dish and scored nine runs on nine hits and two walks.

“It’s kind of contagious when everyone starts hitting the ball,” Ben Watson said. “The talk is really good in the dugout about what everyone saw and what worked for them. And usually it can translate to the next guy.”

After the first inning, the Hokies led 9-2. Though George Mason posted two runs in both the first and third inning, Tech put up four in each of the third, fifth and sixth innings and three more in the seventh.

DeMartini struck again in the bottom of the third with his second longball of the night — a 413-foot laser to left center — to raise his season total to 17. 

“My training has led me to hit the ball in the air,” DeMartini said. “The big thing is just maximizing how hard I can hit it. That’s what I train because that’s what guys get paid to do.”

Every member of Tech’s starting nine reached base safely, highlighted by a 5-for-5 day for Watson, who singled three times and doubled twice to raise his average to a torrid .412. It was his fifth consecutive game with multiple hits and second game this year with four or more knocks. 

“I don’t really think I’ve changed anything I’ve been doing the whole season, to be honest,” Watson said. “I mean, it’s baseball. Sometimes a ball goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. I think it’s been going my way lately.”

Five Hokie batters recorded multiple hits, including Ebel’s 2-for-4 effort with three RBI and a 2-for-3, two-RBI night for Chris Cannizzaro.

“We just sat back and relaxed,” DeMartini said. “We just did our thing. I don’t think we really had anything that stood out. Just the fact that everybody was relaxed, they were on their pitch, and that was it.”

Tech’s pitching had a bounce-back outing after a shaky finish to its last weekend series, giving up five runs on eight hits and just two walks. True freshman lefty Madden Clement started his third consecutive midweek and did his usual thing, tossing 2 ⅓ innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits while striking out four batters — all of which went down in a row.

Behind the rookie, the Hokies tossed six arms — only one of which allowed a run to score — while giving up just five hits and two walks.

“We kind of minimized damage,” Szefc said. “One of the things we really try to stress is to be ready in the first inning, like be ready right out of the gate. You don’t want to give up a two-spot in the first, but we did answer with a nine-spot. So you can’t complain about that.”

Meanwhile, all but one Patriot pitcher gave up two or more runs. Starter Dylan McCarthy was shelled for seven runs on six hits and a walk and recorded just one out in the bottom of the first. With a bit of a dropoff in talent on the mound, the Hokies recorded more hits with runners on base (17-for-31), RISP (10-for-22) and two outs (13-for-20) than they did in their entire previous series against Duke. 

“It just reminds us how good we actually are,” Watson said. “And it’s just a lot of fun. Weekends are more tense — weekends are also very fun as well — but when you can score a bunch of runs, everybody’s doing well, see guys come off the bench and score, you get a bunch of hits. I think it’s just fun.”

One of the benefits of pulling so far ahead in such a matchup was Tech’s ability to empty its bench, allowing several younger, less-experienced players to see some action.

With almost the entire starting nine subbed out in the sixth inning, many of those players delivered, with Nick Locurto — who actually started the game in right field — raking a three-run triple in the sixth, Jake Slade lacing a pair of base hits and Warren Holzemer hitting his first career home run in the seventh, a moment that was greeted with plenty of joy in the Hokies dugout.

“You would’ve thought he just hit an ACC walk-off [in the dugout],” Watson said. “That was awesome because Warren works harder than anybody on the team. To see it pay off, hit a nuke like that was just really awesome.”

The level of competition ramps up drastically for the Hokies as they head down to Chapel Hill for a weekend series against No. 15 North Carolina (31-10, 15-6 ACC), which currently leads the ACC Coastal Division. It’s a pivotal tilt for Tech to get back on track in league play and continue to bolster its NCAA Tournament résumé after losing each of its last three conference series.

“It’s always great to get a win,” DeMartini said. “Roll that on into the weekend, hopefully carry some mojo, and go whoop some butt.”

Box Score: Virginia Tech 24, George Mason 5 

1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Let’s talk about it if and when we win another ACC series. Does carrying “mojo” mean hitting with RISP?

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