Another weekend, another doubleheader. That’s the story for Virginia Tech baseball, who got swept by Louisville this weekend at English Field.
The impending thunderstorms this weekend caused Sunday afternoon’s game to be rescheduled for Saturday, forcing the Hokies to play their fifth doubleheader this season.
But head coach John Szefc wasn’t too worried.
“The good thing is we’re at home and the weather’s warm, which has not been the case in a lot of the doubleheaders we’ve played,” Szefc said about having to play two games on Saturday. “I don’t know if you ever get used to playing doubleheaders because these nine inning games are brutal. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Game 1: Virginia Tech Loses Nailbitter to Louisville
The weekend series against the No. 21 Cardinals got started Friday night with Connor Coward taking the mound for the Hokies. Virginia Tech was coming off two straight wins over Marshall and looking to make a statement against Louisville.
The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Hokies scored twice in the fifth to take the lead back.
After Louisville scored on an error in the eighth, centerfielder Josh Stowers hit the go-ahead home run in the ninth to take a 3-2 lead and ultimately win the game for the Cardinals.
Going down early in a series is a situation the Hokies are familiar with this season.
“We’ve been here before many, many times,” Szefc said. “It’s just a matter of rebounding and regrouping and we’ve done a really good job of that this year. We just have to do it again tomorrow.”
Coward pitched 8.2 innings on Friday, allowing two earned runs and striking out 11 batters.
“We had good starting pitching tonight,” Szefc said. “Connor was great. We just didn’t support him out there.”
The Hokies had an opportunity to break the game wide open in the bottom of the sixth, but ended up leaving three men on base.
“You can’t go out there and leave the bases loaded in the seventh, or whatever inning that was,” Szefc said. “That was a big point in our game right there. I give their guy credit. He did a really good job of working out of that.”
The Hokies had 11 hits on Friday night and left nine runners on base, something that has to change if the team wants to win close games in the future.
“It’s a game of opportunities. You’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities you have and they certainly did,” Szefc said. “That’s the difference in a one-run game. That’s the way this league is man, you have to take advantage of the opportunities if you’re going to win one-run games.”
Doubleheader: Virginia Tech Drops Both Games in Doubleheader
Saturday’s first game wasn’t quite the bounceback Szefc had hoped for. Virginia Tech scored just one run in the first game of the doubleheader, losing 3-1. The Hokies only had four hits and left four runners on base.
Starter Luke Scherzer pitched three innings, giving up one run on one hit.
The Hokies’ lone run came on a sacrifice fly by JD Mundy in the fifth, but they couldn’t get anything else going offensively.
Things only got worse for the Hokies, who lost the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader 16-1. The pitching and defense just wasn’t in sync in the third game of the series, as Tech committed three errors and used seven pitchers in the game.
Starter Ian Seymour got tagged with the loss, pitching just one inning and giving up four earned runs on two hits.
The only run of the game for Virginia Tech came on a Tom Stoffel home run in the bottom of the first, but the Hokies only managed three more hits the rest of the game.
Despite the loss, Szefc was impressed with the turnout for the grand opening of English Field at Union Park, which featured festivities including a ribbon cutting and first pitches by Chuck Hartman and Tyrod Taylor.
“I think it was really an impressive deal. It shows you how first class this place is,” Szefc said. “It doesn’t really surprise me because of how well things are done here. It is pretty typical of how they do it.”
The Hokies have a busy week ahead of them as they have two midweek contests. They’ll play a game at Radford on Tuesday before returning home on Wednesday to face Old Dominion. Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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