With two outs left in the bottom of ninth, only three words could be heard at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park in Blacksburg, Va.: “Let’s go Hokies!”
After falling behind 5-0, Virginia Tech (14-9, 10-7 Atlantic Coast) found itself within striking distance in the ninth inning and topped Boston College (13-12, 4-10) on a walkoff comeback by a final score of 6-5.
Having secured its first series-opening win in nearly a month on Thursday against No. 13/23 Virginia Tech, BC looked to continue its momentum into Saturday with right-hander Emmet Sheehan on the mound.
Center fielder Sal Frelick reached on a three-base error made by VT left fielder Carson Jones in the first inning, and the Eagles quickly capitalized, as second baseman Cody Morrissette drove a single into left field the next at-bat to bring in Frelick and put BC on the board.
Frelick later flashed some leather in the home half of the first inning, making a diving catch on the run on a popup into short center field between second baseman Morrissette and the right fielder Dante Baldelli to keep the score at 1-0.
In the top of the second inning, left fielder Cameron Leary grounded a single up the middle with one out, setting up catcher Peter Burns. Burns wasted no time, squaring up the first pitch he saw: a 92-mph fastball down the heart of the plate from Virginia Tech right-hander Anthony Simonelli. Burns shot a rocket over the right-field wall for a two-run homerun to put BC on top 3-0, his second longball of the series so far.
BC scored again in the top of the fourth inning. With runners on first and third and one out, Baldelli grounded a ball to the shortstop and hustled down the first-base line to beat out the potential inning-ending double play and score third baseman Vince Cimini.
Burns came around to score again in the top of the sixth inning, as Baldelli singled to right field for his second run batted in of the afternoon, giving the Eagles a commanding 5-0 lead.
Virginia Tech finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning, with catcher Dayne Leonard singling to left field to bring in third baseman Kevin Madden. Second baseman Lucas Donlon then singled to right field later in the inning to drive in Jones and cut the BC lead to 5-2.
Sheehan tossed a gem on the bump, throwing 6.2 innings with one earned run allowed on a masterful 12 strikeouts, surrendering just five hits and one walk. The junior cruised through the first six innings on 89 pitches. He had complete control of his arsenal, showcasing a fastball that consistently sat in the 90s and topped off at 94 mph, as well as a 12-6 curveball that came in between 73 and 76 mph.
Freshman Charlie Coon came in to relieve Sheehan and inherited a jam early with runners on first and third with just one out. Coon quieted the Hokies’ rally, retiring the next two batters on just six pitches.
Virginia Tech made it 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning following a single by Madden that scored right fielder Gavin Cross.
The crowd came alive for the Hokies in the bottom of the ninth, as BC’s Max Gieg—in to relieve Coon—allowed the first two batters to reach base and bring the game-winning run to the plate with no outs.
First baseman TJ Rumfield lined out to left field with the bases loaded to bring in Donlon and cut the lead to 5-4 on the sacrifice fly. Madden, the hero of the game, then lined a single just past the outstretched glove of Morrissette to drive in two and give Virginia Tech the walk-off victory.
Featured Image by Kayla Brandt / Heights Staff