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Virginia Tech’s offense can’t finish strong as batters leave nine baserunners stranded Sunday.
BRITTANY TATUM | Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech starter Devin Burke held North Carolina scoreless for five innings on Sunday but the Hokies gave him little help in a 3-0 loss to the Tar Heels.
BRITTANY TATUM | Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech infielder Gary Schneider makes a play on a ball against North Carolina on Sunday.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Tech baseball team is searching for toughness after getting swept for the second straight weekend.
The Hokies suffered a close loss to No. 1 North Carolina for the second straight day, falling 3-0 on Sunday at English Field.
The Hokies (22-15, 7-11 ACC) stranded nine baserunners Sunday.
“As a team, just mentally weak,” said Andrew Rash, who was hitless three times with a man on base. “We let an opportunity go past us that we should have capitalized on.
“If we don’t get mentally prepared and get tougher, we’re not going to get to where we need to get.”
UNC clobbered Tech 21-8 on Friday and won 9-8 in 10 innings Saturday.
“Very frustrating,” Tech coach Pete Hughes said. “We had a chance to win a series here.
“Our guys are going to have to figure out a way to play better, especially in the end.
“I don’t like the way we’re playing late. … We’ve got to get tougher in these tight games.”
The Tar Heels (34-2, 15-2) scored once in the sixth and twice in the seventh. It was only the fifth time this season that UNC was held to three runs or less.
The Saturday and Sunday games were not the only close losses Tech has suffered in recent weeks.
Florida State beat Tech 11-10 on March 30, although the Hokies did win that series.
North Carolina State swept the Hokies the following weekend, including a 14-inning win in the series opener. In the third game of that series, State scored four runs in the eighth to win 7-3.
This latest sweep left Tech with only the ninth-best ACC record in the conference. The teams with the eight best league records will make next month’s ACC tournament.
“Time’s running out,” said Hughes, whose team has four ACC series left. “We better figure it out.
“You get into an extra-inning game, it’s got to be adrenaline, it’s got to be something you embrace. … It’s my fault for not instilling that in them.”
The NCAA tournament also remains a realistic goal for Tech, which was ranked No. 9 in the NCAA’s official RPI last week.
Hobbs Johnson and two relievers combined to hand Tech its fourth shutout loss of the year.
“We didn’t play up to our potential this weekend. I think that’s pretty clear,” said Tech’s Gary Schneider, who grounded out with two men on base to end the second inning.
The Hokies were held to three hits — their second-lowest total of the year — but still had plenty of baserunners thanks to six walks and a hit batsman.
“That [loss] falls right on our offense,” Hughes said. “It wasn’t like their guy was dominant.
“We blank them for five innings and we can’t put anything up on the board to get momentum.”
The Hokies had men on first and second with one out in both the first and sixth innings. They had men on first and third with one out in the second. Tech left a man on second in both the fifth and seventh. Tech had a man on third with one out in the ninth.
Tech wasted good pitching from Devin Burke (5-3) and Clark Labitan, who combined to hold UNC to seven hits.
Parks Jordan had an RBI single off Burke in the sixth. Colin Moran and Brian Holberton each had an RBI single off Burke in the seventh.
“Burke was really good — good change-up and kept us off balance,” UNC coach Mike Fox said.
North Carolina 000 001 200 — 3 7 0
Virginia Tech 000 000 000 — 0 3 1
Johnson, Kelley (7), Parrish (9) and Roberts; Burke, Labitan (7) and Morgan. W— Johnson (1-0). L— Burke (5-3).
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