BLACKSBURG, Va. — With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth, Luke Scherzer stuck out Virginia’s Pavin Smith looking and with it gave Virginia Tech a 3-1 victory against No. 1 Virginia and clinched the ACC series for the Hokies on Saturday afternoon at English Field.
With the win, Tech (9-9, 3-2 ACC) notched its first series win against a top-ranked team and only its fifth win against a No.
Aaron McGarity got the start for Tech and, just like a day before, Tech surrendered an unearned run in the first frame. After a lead-off single by Adam Haseley, who eventually scored, McGarity sat down 11 straight Cavaliers before a Kenny Towns double ended the stretch in the fourth. A wild pitch and walk put runners on the corners, but a grounder ended the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Hokies, who had tied the game in the third on a sacrifice fly by Alex Perez that scored Saige Jenco, looked as if they ran themselves out of an inning after a lead-off walk was caught stealing for the second out of the frame, but they mounted a two-out rally.
Four straight singles by Kyle Wernicki, Andrew Mogg, Ricky Surum, that scored Wernicki, and Jenco — his third hit of the afternoon — loaded the bases and gave Tech a 2-1 lead. Miguel Ceballos then walked home a run and the advantage become 3-1.
From that point on the UVa pitching staff shut down the Hokie offense, allowing just one walk over the final four frames and the game turned into Tech trying to hold off the Cavaliers.
In the fifth, with two outs and runners on first and second, Pinero singled to left and Ceballos came up firing home and got Justin Novak at the plate to end that frame.
In the seventh, McGarity got the first two outs, but two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Pinero and Tech went to its pen, bringing in Scherzer, who got Pinero to pop to second.
In the ninth, a one-out single was followed by a fly to center and a strikeout before a single and a walk loaded the bases once again. Scherzer picked up his third save of the season with the called strike three.
McGarity improved to 2-1 on the season with the win after tossing 6.2 innings, allowing six hits, one unearned run and three walks and struck out two. Scherzer went 2.1 innings and struck out two as well. The Cavaliers’ Connor Jones lost his first decision of the season and is now 4-1.
Perez came one assist short of tying his own record for most assists in a single game by a second baseman as he had nine, while Sean Keselica had 16 putouts at first, three off the single game school record for first basemen, as the two pitchers forced 16 ground-ball outs.