Virginia Tech Baseball Overpowered By No. 18 Virginia In 7-3 Loss

Virginia Tech baseball
UVA beat Virginia Tech 7-3 on Thursday, but the game wasn’t really that close. (Virginia Tech Athletics)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — With its red-hot bats doing their usual thing and a sensational start from Evan Blanco, No. 18 Virginia overpowered Virginia Tech in its 7-3 win on Thursday evening at Disharoon Park.

The Cavaliers (38-14, 16-12 ACC) clocked 11 hits — six of which went for extra bases, including three home runs — while Blanco didn’t allow an earned run in 7 ⅓ innings of work to down the Hokies (32-18, 14-14) in a game that didn’t feel all too competitive.

“We just didn’t do anything offensively and we let a starter go into the eighth,” Tech head coach John Szefc said. “So that was the ballgame, pretty much.”

Tech registered seven hits in the game, but none were for extra bases, and it only took five at bats with a runner in scoring position. Four members of the starting lineup failed to record a knock as first baseman Gehrig Ebel led the way with a 2-for-4 day, scoring two of the team’s three runs.

UVa’s sophomore southpaw gave up five hits and four walks while striking out two batters, bending but never breaking early before retiring 11 of the last 13 batters he faced. His lone moment of real fallibility came in the top of the fourth inning, where a poor error led to a couple of unearned runs.

“He threw a lot of strikes, got after our guys, used his changeup for strikes,” Szefc said. “He’s what a Friday night guy is supposed to look like.”

After Blanco induced an Eddie Eisert ground ball to third that should’ve been an easy, inning-ending 5-3 out, UVa third baseman Eric Becker airmailed the throw to first, allowing Ebel — who singled and advanced on a groundout — to score the Hokies’ first run. After Sam Tackett drew a walk, Christian Martin muscled an RBI single up the middle to cut the lead to 5-2 with Tech’s second unearned run of the frame.

Meanwhile, Tech starter Brett Renfrow struggled against the top offense in the ACC, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks in just three innings. It was his shortest outing of the season, as he tied career-highs in hits and runs allowed. He had never struck out fewer than four batters in a game, but only punched out one Cavalier in the ballgame. 

UVa slugged a pair of two-run homers off the freshman — first from Eric Becker, then from Jacob Ference — and could have hit three if not for a tremendous leaping grab by Tackett in left field to rob Henry Ford of a round-tripper in the bottom of the first.

Behind Renfrow, the Hokies pitched decently well, but not well enough to keep the Cavalier bats consistently quiet. Matthew Siverling retired the first five batters he faced before surrendering a two-out, two-strike solo home run to Harrison Didawick — the 20th of the season for the UVa slugger, who went 3-for-3 with a walk.

Later, Siverling put two aboard with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, where he was replaced by Grant Manning. Five pitches later, the Chapman transfer gave up an RBI single to Casey Saucke to extend the Cavalier lead to five runs. 

Every member of Virginia’s starting lineup reached base safely, with all but one hitter recording a base hit. As a team, the Cavaliers — who entered the game leading ACC play with a .310 average — hit .324 on the night.

“Their lineup is one of the best lineups you’ll see,” Szefc said. “That’s an Omaha lineup for sure. I don’t know what they are on the mound, but they’ve got good enough players, positionally, to be an Omaha-type team for sure.”

That’s where things cooled off for both squads, for the most part. Manning held things down for the remainder of the ballgame, tossing a scoreless final 2 ⅓ innings, yielding just two hits while striking out a batter. Tech got a run back in the top of the eighth on a pinch-hit RBI single for freshman catcher David McCann to cut the lead to 7-3, but it was too little, too late for the Hokies, who were fortunate to be down only four runs in the first place.

“We’ve got to pitch well, we’ve got to play way better offensively,” Szefc said. “Tonight, we didn’t really do anything. I mean, only scored one earned run, so it was not too good offensively. If you’re going to come into a park like this, you’ve got to score. If you don’t score, you have no chance. So I mean, the only reason why we’re somewhat in the game is because their third baseman airmailed the ball.”

Virginia will look to clinch the series on Friday at noon ET (moved up from 6 p.m.) as the Hokies try to avoid losing their sixth ACC series in a row. It’ll be a rainy day in Charlottesville, but the precipitation should hold off for both squads to fit a game in.

Box Score: No. 18 Virginia 7, Virginia Tech 3

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Well Tech didn’t give anything positive to write about. Get out the broom for uva. Tech is doing a great impression of the swan dive as they limp across the finish line.

  2. Was this written by a UVA fan or what? I mean seriously, UVA is 16-12 in the ACC, not exactly a dominant ACC team. Please don’t post stuff like “With its red-hot bats doing their usual thing” about UVA ever on a Virginia Tech website. Next time, just write a one-sentence article that reads: “UVA won 7-3.”

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