BLACKSBURG, Va. – A walk-off home run with one out in the 10th inning by Virginia Tech’s Mark Zagunis, his second homer of the game, lifted the Hokies to a 7-6 victory over the Marist baseball team on Sunday at English Field.
Marist trailed 6-2 through seven, but tied the contest with a pair of runs in both the eighth and ninth innings. The Red Foxes finished the game with 16 hits, and had 32 hits in the two-game series.
Senior shortstop Zach Shank (Lititz, Pa.) went 4-for-5 with a run scored. Freshman designated hitter Matt Pagano (Cranston, R.I.), senior first baseman Mike Orefice (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), junior right fielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.), junior catcher Zachary Passerelle (Sparta, N.J.) and freshman center fielder Graham McIntire (Concord, N.H.) had two hits apiece. Orefice drove in two runs, while Pagano scored two.
Virginia Tech scored all seven of its runs on home runs, and hit five of them. Zagunis and Tyler Horan each hit two, and Sean Keselica also had one. Zagunis finished with four runs scored, and Horan drove in four.
Keselica and Zagunis hit solo home runs in the first inning to give the Hokies a 2-0 lead, and a two-run homer by Horan put Virginia Tech up 4-0 after three. An RBI single by McIntire in the fourth plus another run scoring on a double play in the fifth cut the Red Foxes’ deficit in half, but another two-run homer by Horan gave the Hokies a 6-2 lead through five innings.
However, Marist rallied in the late innings. With two outs in the eighth, an RBI single by Berry and RBI double by Passerelle cut Virginia Tech’s lead to 6-4. Orefice then delivered a two-run single in the ninth to tie the game. The score remained tied at six apiece until Zagunis’ game-winning home run.
Clark Labitan (1-5), the last of five Virginia Tech pitchers, earned the win. Labitan struck out three in the ninth and 10th. Marist junior left-hander Jordan Eich (Spencerport, N.Y.), who struck out three in 2.1 innings, took the loss and fell to 1-2. Sophomore left-hander Rich Vrana (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) started and allowed four earned runs in six innings. Junior right-hander Chris Thorsen (Lititz, Pa.) needed just nine pitches to get through a scoreless seventh.
Marist is now 25-21-1 overall. Virginia Tech, which is ranked #22 in this week’s Baseball America Poll, is 33-19.
Marist will close out the 2013 regular season with a three-game home series against Rider next weekend. The Broncs and Red Foxes are currently in first and second place, respectively, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings, and both teams have clinched a spot in the conference championships. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at noon, followed by a single game on Sunday at noon.