W: Henry Weycker (1-0)
L: EY, Brooks (0-2)
BLACKSBURG – Scoring seven two-out runs on Saturday, the Virginia Tech baseball team punished Fordham early and often at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park as the Hokies downed the Rams, 8-2, to clinch their fifth consecutive season-opening victory.
Tech’s four-, five- and six-hitters combined to bat 8-for-12, score five runs and total five RBIs, helping the Hokies distance themselves from a 4-2 ballgame in the fifth inning. Cleanup second baseman Eduardo Malinowski went 3-for-5 and finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle while sophomore outfielder Jack Hurley followed with his third consecutive three-hit game (3-for-4) that featured his first career three-bagger.
Conor Hartigan delivered two RBI singles and a sacrifice fly for Virginia Tech (5-0), which has now won five season-opening games for the second time under head coach John Szefc (2019). Through five games, the Hokies are sporting a +45 run differential, a .366 team batting average and a 2.00 team ERA.
Malinowski’s first-inning RBI double and third-inning solo homer contributed to Tech taking its 4-0 lead into the fourth inning. There, fifth-year southpaw Ryan Okuda picked up two outs before surrendering a two-run homer to Zach Selinger that allowed Fordham (1-5) to halve the score line at 4-2.
Okuda issued one strikeout across four and one-third innings, relying on reliever Kiernan Higgins and exceptional defense to close the door on the Rams during the fifth inning. Facing runners at first and second with one out, Hurley fielded CJ Vazquez’s single in left field and proceeded to throw out Chris Genaro at the plate with his timely, 7-2 relay.
Fordham missed a chance to defensively end the fifth inning when Hunter’s falls ground ball ate up second baseman Jack Harnisch, plating Malinowski as an unearned run. Tanner Schobel added a two-run, sixth-inning homer – his second of the season – to bump Tech’s lead to 7-2, providing enough legroom for Henry Weycker to post three scoreless relief innings and earn his first career win.
Brady Kirtner handled the ninth inning on the mound for Tech, striking out Jake Guercio to end the game.
• Virginia Tech’s Jack Hurley (11-for-19, .579) and Eduardo Malinowski (8-for-19, .421) are both riding five-game hitting streaks. Including his 2021 season at Penn, Malinowski has now hit safely during 14 consecutive collegiate games.
• The Hokies have yet to trail this season during all statistically-counting games.
• Tech’s pitchers allowed only one Fordham hit with runners in scoring position (1-for-9).
Virginia Tech will eye its second straight weekend sweep in Blacksburg on Sunday, Feb. 27, when the Hokies entertain their season finale with Fordham. First pitch at English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park is scheduled for 1 p.m.