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February 19, 2011

Virginia Tech, Coastal Carolina hand Tech opening-day losses

CONWAY, S.C. -- A three-run ninth inning for the Hokies clinched a back-and-forth, dead-even battle as Virginia Tech edged Tennessee Tech, 11-9, in the Golden Eagles' first game of the Caravelle Resort Tournament Saturday. In Tech's second game, host Coastal Carolina claimed a 6-2 victory.

Tech's starting pitcher, right-hander Matt Shepherd, notched two of his four strikeouts in the top of the first inning to put the Golden Eagles in the batter's box quickly and the lineup got the hot bats early, taking 4-0 lead after the first inning. Returning vets Ben Burgess, Devin Rivers and Zephan Guyear all notched hits on their first at-bats of 2011, while newcomer Zach Stephen's first career hit on his first career at bat yielded two of Tech's for RBI's on the inning.

Rivers' double to left center at the four-spot in the lineup sent lead-off man Austin Wulf, who earned a walk, across the plate and Guyear's single in the seven spot brought in Burgess, who hit in the three-hole.

Tech added to their lead in the third inning when Rivers scored on a passed ball, setting the score at 5-2, but the Hokies came back in the top of the sixth and seventh to tie the game at five-all and then take a one-run lead. VA Tech's C Morgan, J Atwell and J Moreles got Shepherd for three runs on three hits in the top of the sixth before he was relieved by RHP Cullen Park, who forced a fly-out to end the inning with a score of 5-5. The Golden Eagles went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and a wild pitch in the top of the seventh game the Hokies their first lead, 6-5.

The Golden Eagles racked up another four runs to answer in the bottom of the seventh though, as Stephens notched his first career double for two more RBI's and crossed home himself on a fielding error, while Chad Hayes chipped in with an RBI single to leave the score at 9-6 after seven.

Stephens went 2-for-3 in his debut as a Golden Eagle, logging four of the team's nine runs on two hits. Rivers also went 2-for-3 and notched an RBI, while Guyear and Burgess went 2-for-4 with an RBI apiece.

The Hokies shut down the Golden Eagles after that though, as they notched two RBI's in the top of the eighth to bring the score to within one at 9-8. A home run by M Blow off of redshirt senior Jared Dobbs recorded, and singles by M Seaborn and R Shaban got three more runs in the top of the ninth for VA Tech to force the bottom of the inning. The Golden Eagles weren't able to respond and shouldered the final 11-9 loss.

Blow and Seaborn led the way for the Hokies, going 2-for-4 with one RBI each, while Shaban (1-5) and Morgan (2-5) had multi-RBI games with three and two respectively.

VA Tech's starting pitcher M Zecchino earned the win for the Golden Eagles, while Park was tagged with the loss for TTU.

In the second game, Coastal Carolina bult an early 3-0 lead and denied the Golden Eagles in a comeback bid. Tech cut the margin to 3-2 with two in the top of the fifth, but Coastal scored one in the sixth and two more in the seventh to clinch the win.

Both teams had eight hits in the game, Cassanova Donaldson collecting three for the Golden Eagles. Chad Oberacker slugged his first home run of the season, a solo shot that got Tech on the board in the fifth.

Starter Tristan Archer (0-1) was charged with the loss for Tech. He worked six innins, allowing four runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out four. Garrett Baugh tossed the final two innings, yielding two runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Tim Hern worked 4.2 innings for Coastal without a decision. He allowed six hits and two runs, two walks and fanned four. Mike Rein (1-0) got credit for the win, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. He allowed two hits and struck out one. Adam Burke came on for the final 1.2 innings and was perfect against the five batters he faced.

Tech is back ont he diamond Sunday for a game against Boston College at 10 a.m.