W: Drue Hackenberg (3-0) L: Sebastian Gongora (0-1)
BLACKSBURG – Receiving a top-to-bottom effort behind freshman Drue Hackenberg’s masterful seven innings of work on Sunday, the Virginia Tech baseball team thumped Wright State, 17-1, to clinch the teams’ three-game series at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park.
Hackenberg was in complete control of his third start of the season, pounding 59 of his 73 pitches for strikes on his way to his third consecutive victory. Despite losing his shutout in the seventh inning to a solo home run by Gehrig Anglin, Tech’s rookie right-hander successfully set a season and a career high with his six strikeouts, scattering five hits without allowing a free base.
Virginia Tech (9-1) stroked 18 hits against the Raiders’ arms while witnessing every starter reach base safely at least once for the second straight game. The Hokies tied their season high for home runs (five) for the second time this season as Gavin Cross, Eduardo Malinowski, Jack Hurley, Conor Hartigan and Lucas Donlon each made swings of the program’s iconic home run hammer.
Cross and Malinowski rushed Tech out to the 2-0 lead during the first inning, both homering to the opposite parts of the field. Brushing the glove of Andrew Patrick on its way out of the yard, Cross’s homer marked his first of 2022 while Malinowski’s brought his season total to seven – including his sixth home run within a seven-game stretch.
Facing runners at second and third base with two outs in the fourth inning, Carson DeMartini delivered the two-RBI single that sparked an eight-run rally for the Hokies. Nick Biddison (double), Cross, Schobel and Malinowski (triple) each bagged run-scoring hits in sucession while Jack Hurley capped the inning with his two-run homer to straightaway center.
Tech loaded the bases again during the fifth inning, plating three more runs with help from Schobel’s two-RBI double into the left field corner to stake the 13-0 lead.
Hartigan pushed the hosts’ lead to 15-0 during the sixth inning with his two-run homer to left field – his first with the Hokies. Donlon matched Hartigan with a two-run homer in the eighth inning as Tech tied its season high for runs scored (17) for the first time since Opening Day (Feb. 18).
Anglin went 3-for-3 to lead the Raiders.
Virginia Tech will end its 11-game, season-opening home stand on Tuesday, March 8, when the Hokies host a marquee midweek game against East Carolina. First pitch at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park is scheduled for 4 p.m.