April 8, 2006
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Jose Cueto’s seventh-inning RBI double broke a 5-5 tie and lifted Virginia Tech (13-17, 2-11 ACC) to an 8-6 win over No. 9 Georgia Tech (23-8, 6-7) in the resumption of the Atlantic Coast Conference series opener on Saturday night at English Field. Friday’s game was suspended due to inclement weather after just two pitches.
Cueto and Matt Hacker each drove in three runs, while Sheldon Adams added two hits and Billy Marn had two RBI.
Virginia Tech reliever Josh Canova (1-0) worked five innings and allowed two runs on three hits to earn the win out of the bullpen. Canova, who had only pitched four innings all season prior to Saturday’s game, issued two walks and struck out three batters.
Randy Buffington record the final out of the game to pick up his first save of the season.
Georgia Tech starter Blake Wood (6-3) struck out a season-high nine batters in 6.1 innings but was tagged with the loss. He allowed six earned runs on eight hits. Reliever Brad Rulon struck out four batters in 1.2 innings.
Georgia Tech left 10 runners on base and tied a season high with four errors.
With the score knotted at 5-5, the Hokies scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take an 8-5 lead. With one out, Bryan Thomas reached on an error and Adams singled before Cueto broke the tie with a double off the right-center field wall. Hacker followed with a two-run single past a drawn in infield.
The Yellow Jackets rallied in the top of the ninth inning to draw within 8-6 and brought the tying run to the plate. Kindel singled, took second base on a groundout and scored on a RBI single from Whit Robbins. But Canova retired Blackwood on a fly out and Buffington struck out pinch-hitter Wally Crancer to end the game.
The Hokies batted around and took a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Three straight singles from Nate Parks, Warren Schaeffer and Sean O’Brien to lead off the game loaded the bases, and Wood nearly worked out of the jam by striking out the next two batters. But e Cueto and Hacker drew back-to-back bases loaded walks and Marn added a two-run single before Wood was able to record the third out of the inning.
In the third inning, Payne singled, stole second base and scored on a RBI single from Hodges to make the score 4-1.
Georgia Tech used home runs from Payne and Mike Trapani to tie the game at 3-3 in the fourth inning. Trapani hit a solo shot, his second of the season, while Payne hit a two-run homer, his team-leading seventh of the year, following a single from Andy Hawranick.
The Yellow Jackets had a chance to do more damage in the fourth inning when three straight singles from Hodges, Kindel and Wieters loaded the bases with no outs and chased Virginia Tech starter Nicky Bowers from the game, but Hokie reliever Josh Canova induced a pop out from Whit Robbins to end the inning.
Virginia Tech scored an unearned run without the aid of a hit in the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Sean O’Brien drew a walk to lead off the inning, took third base when Trapani mishandled a ball at second base, and scored on Cueto’s RBI groundout.
Georgia Tech tied the score at 5-5 in the top of the seventh inning. Kindel worked a leadoff walk, and smartly tagged up to take second base on a foul out from Wieters. After the next hitter flied out, Steven Blackwood knotted the score with a two-out RBI double off the left-center field wall.
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday.