BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech starter Justin Wright held Duke to three runs on six hits in 7.2 innings to lead the 15th-ranked Hokies to an 11-3 win over the Blue Devils on Friday evening at English Field. The Hokies improve to 35-15 overall and 15-10 in the ACC, while the Blue Devils fall to 28-23 and 7-18.
Wright (7-3) threw seven shutout innings before allowing a three-run homer to Duke shortstop Jake Lemmerman in the top of the eighth. Ben Rowen came on in relief of Wright and held the Blue Devils to one hit in 1.1 innings of work.
Virginia Tech grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Catcher Steve Domecus lined a two-out double to right center on the first pitch he saw from Duke starter Marcus Stroman. Right fielder Austin Wates then drove Domecus in with an RBI-single to center to put the Hokies on the board.
Hokie centerfielder Sean Ryan doubled to left center to begin the bottom half of the third. After leftfielder Buddy Sosnoskie moved Ryan to third on a sacrifice bunt, Domecus lined an RBI-single to center to give Virginia Tech a 2-0 lead.
Virginia Tech added five runs on six hits and two Duke errors in the bottom of the seventh to go ahead 7-0.
Duke responded with three runs in the top of the eighth to cut the Tech lead to 7-3. Sophomore Ben Grisz came in to pinch hit for leftfielder Brian Litwin and lined a leadoff double to right field. Two batters later, centerfielder Will Piwnica-Worms drew a one-out walk. Lemmerman then hammered a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left center for a three-run jack. The home run was the 10th of the season for Lemmerman.
Ryan drew a bases-loaded walk, Sosnoskie had a run-scoring sacrifice fly to left and first baseman Ronnie Shaban added a two-out two-run single in the bottom half of the eighth to extend the Hokie lead to 11-3.
Ryan paced the Hokies at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Domecus went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored, while Wates and Shaban had two hits and two RBI a piece. Second baseman Michael Seaborn added two hits and a run scored, Sosnoskie had a hit, two RBI and a run scored and designated hitter Matt Blow finished with a double and a run scored. Third baseman Brent Zimmerman added a pair of runs in the win.
Lemmerman finished 1-for-3 with the three-run homer to lead the Blue Devils at the plate. Grisz went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored, Piwnica-Worms was 1-for-3 with a run scored and first baseman Jeremy Gould, designated hitter Will Currier, third baseman Jonathan Foreman and catcher Ryan McCurdy all had a hit for Duke.
Stroman (6-3) took the loss after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings of work. The freshman right-hander had four scoreless innings and struck out four batters while walking two in the game. Ryan Knott surrendered four runs on three hits in 1.1 innings pitched with one strikeout.
The Blue Devils and Hokies will play game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. Lefthander Eric Pfisterer (3-5, 5.82 ERA) is slated to square off against righty Joe Mantiply (3-1, 4.59 ERA) on Saturday. The series finale is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.