Virginia Tech Hits Walkoff HR in 10th, Tops No. 10 Baseball
BLACKSBURG, Va. Austin Wates hit a walkoff home run with one out in the 10th inning to lift Virginia Tech to a 5-4 victory over the No. 10 Virginia baseball team Thursday at English Field. The Hokies’ win breaks their 12-game losing streak to Virginia which dated to the 2003 season.
UVa had trailed the game by two in the sixth inning, only to rally on a solo home run by Dan Grovatt (So., Tabernacle, N.J.) and a ninth-inning solo blast by Franco Valdes (Jr., Miami, Fla.).
Playing in their first extra-inning game of the season, the Cavaliers suffered their seventh one-run loss in ACC play and the ninth by three runs or fewer.
Tyler Wilson (So., Midlothian, Va.) pitched the final 3.1 innings for UVa and dropped to 6-3 with the loss. He struck out seven batters and was dominating until Wates’ long ball. Ben Rowen (4-2) did not allow a run over the final two innings for the Hokies to earn the victory.
Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.) started for Virginia and pitched six quality innings, allowing four runs (two earned), five hits and three walks while striking out five. Virginia Tech starter Rhett Ballard worked into the ninth inning, giving up four earned runs, nine hits and four walks while fanning nine. He pitched to the first two batters in the ninth before Rowen came on to relieve him.
The bottom third of the Cavaliers’ batting order had a big day, combining to go 6-for-10. Tyler Cannon (Jr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.), Keith Werman (Fr., Vienna, Va.) and Valdes each had a pair of hits for the Cavaliers (38-11-1, 15-10-1 ACC). Werman went 2-for-3 with a walk and now has reached base in eight of his last nine plate appearances.
Jarrett Parker (So., Stafford, Va.) also homered for the Cavaliers. He launched Ballard’s first pitch of the game over the left-field wall to give UVa a quick 1-0 lead. The leadoff homer was Parker’s fifth this season and his 15th home run overall.
In the third inning, Virginia Tech (31-20, 11-16) scored twice to take the lead. Ronnie Shaban drew a walk to lead off and moved to second on a single up the middle by Klint Reed. Steve Bumbry sacrificed the runners over, and Shaban scored on a Packer wild pitch. Anthony Sosnoskie then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to give the Hokies the lead.
UVa tied the game in the fifth inning. The Cavaliers loaded the bases with none out on consecutive singles by Cannon, Valdes and Werman before Parker struck out looking. Phil Gosselin (So., West Chester, Pa.) then hit a slow grounder to first to plate Cannon and knot the score.
The Hokies got the lead back in the fifth inning, taking advantage of three Cavalier errors to score twice. Tony Balisteri reached on an error to lead off. Shaban then hit a dribbler down the third-base line for a single. Third baseman Steven Proscia (Fr., Suffern, N.Y.) slipped as he threw the ball to first and the ball went down the first-base line, allowing Balisteri to score from first and Shaban to move to third. Packer struck out the next two batters, but Shaban scored on a throwing error by Proscia on the potential third out.
The Cavaliers got a run back in the sixth when Grovatt led off the inning with an opposite-field home run over the left-field wall. It was Grovatt’s sixth home run of the season.
UVa tied the game in the ninth when Valdes led off with a home run to left field his fifth homer of the year. Wates turned the tide in the 10th when he cranked a one-out offering from Wilson to straightaway center field to end the game.
The teams will play the second game of the series at 5:30 p.m. Friday.