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June 5, 2010

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Virginia Tech Post-Game Press Conference
Bucknell Post-Game Press Conference

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind an outpouring of offense from its entire lineup, Virginia Tech outlasted two weather delays and a feisty Bucknell team on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Bison 16-7 to stay alive in the NCAA Baseball Columbia Regional. Sophomore Buddy Sosnoskie hit two home runs to lead the Hokies before an announced crowd of 4,302 at Carolina Stadium.

Virginia Tech (39-21) will advance to play the winner of tonight’s South Carolina-Citadel game, which was slated to get underway at 8:20 p.m. The Hokies won their first tournament game since 1999, bringing to an end a stretch of four consecutive postseason losses. Bucknell (25-35) was eliminated from tournament play in its fifth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance.

While the game itself lasted only two hours, 47 minutes, two separate weather delays – one in the second inning and another between the fifth and sixth – added up to an additional 2:21 of game time that pushed the start of the day’s second game back by nearly an hour and a half.

Sosnoskie’s two-home run, 3-for-5 afternoon led a 16-hit Hokie outburst in which every starter had at least one hit and reached base twice. For the sophomore, it marked his first career multi-homer game and set a career high with six RBIs on the day. First baseman Ronnie Shaban went 3-5 as well with four RBI, and shortstop Tim Smalling also had a 3-5 day, scoring and driving in two apiece. Right fielder Austin Wates went 2-4 with three runs scored, and center fielder Sean Ryan was 2-6 with a run and an RBI. For the Bison, center fielder Bob Donato went 3-3 to lead the attack while catcher B.J. LaRosa went 2-3 with a pair of RBIs and second baseman Ben Yoder was 2-4.

Manny Martir (4-3) earned the win for Virginia Tech after four innings of relief after the lengthy rain delay, giving up four runs – three earned – on four hits while striking out three and walking one. Bucknell’s Trey Frahler (4-7) was charged with the loss after giving up nine runs on six hits and walking two in 1.2 innings of work. The Bison used six pitchers in the game.

After numerous missed opportunities in Friday’s game, Virginia Tech struck early today, sending eight batters to the plate in the opening frame. The Hokies loaded the bases in the first without hitting a ball out of the infield as Sean Ryan legged out an infield hit, Steve Domecus walked and Austin Wates reached on an error by the Bucknell shortstop. First baseman Ronnie Shaban then delivered with a two-RBI single through the right side, scoring Ryan and Domecus to make it 2-0. A passed ball would bring in Wates to make it 3-0, and then Tim Smalling and Buddy Sosnoskie followed with singles to bring in Shaban. A fly ball from Andrew Rash to deep right field then scored Smalling from third to make it 5-0.

Despite having to wait out a 1 hour, 44 minute weather delay, the Hokies continued to pour it on in the second with a four-run, two-out rally. After two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases, Shaban drove in two more with a double into the gap to make it 7-0. Smalling followed that up with a single of his own to bring home Wates and Shaban and give Virginia Tech a 9-0 lead.

After a scoreless third, Tech added another in the fourth after Michael Seaborn delivered a leadoff single and Wates drove him in with his 15th double of the season to make it 10-0 Hokies. Another Hokie run would cross the plate in the fifth, again with two outs, as Tony Balisteri singled and scored on a Ryan double to make it 11-0.

However, Bucknell would not go quietly. Though Virginia Tech reliever Manny Martir cruised through the second, third and fourth innings, he ran into trouble in the fifth when Bob Donato led off with a doble, then Drew Constable followed up with a single. An errant throw from the Tech right fielder alloowed Donato to score from third, putting Bucknell on the board. With one out, David Duffett doubled down the right field line to bring in Constable and make it 11-2. Then, with two out, catcher B.J. LaRosa launched a two-run homer to right field to narrow the margin to 11-4.

Between the fifth and sixth innings, Mother Nature would again interrupt the proceedings with more rain and lightning, but for only 37 minutes this time. After the Hokies went in order in the top half, Bucknell chipped away at the Tech lead once again. Doug Shribman reached on an error, then moved to third on a base hit by Donato. A sacrifice fly to the wall in right brought in Shribman to make it 11-5.

But Virginia Tech would answer in the top of the seventh, this time without waiting until two outs were recorded. SS Tim Smalling led off with a double for his third hit of the afternoon, and Buddy Sosnoskie launched his 11th home run of the season to left field to re-extend the Hokie lead to 13-5. Once again, however, Bucknell kept fighting. Three straight singles by Ben Allen, LaRosa and Ben Yoder led to a Bison run to make it 13-6.

The Hokies delivered the decisive blow in the eighth, however, as Sosnoskie’s second home run of the day brought home three runs to make it 16-6. Shribman answered with his 21st home run of the season – by far the most of any player in this regional – to make it 16-7, but that would be all the Bison would manage the rest of the way.

For continued coverage of the NCAA Baseball Columbia Regional, stay with and