Sunday, May 18th, 1997
Hokie Baseball Team Sweeps the A-10 Tourney; NCAA's are Next!
On Saturday, the Virginia Tech baseball team finished an improbable run to the A-10 baseball championship by crushing the University of Massachusetts. Tech stormed through the A-10 tourney undefeated, downing UMass 8-4 on Thursday, Xavier 17-2 on Friday, and UMass again on Saturday, 13-8.
Just ten days ago, the team had been left for dead and wasn't even expected to be in the Atlantic 10 tournament. In the A-10, only four teams, the top two from each division, go to the conference tournament. Entering the last weekend of the season, Tech wasn't in first or second place in the A-10 West and needed the following unlikely sequence of events to occur in order for the Hokies to make the four-team field in the A-10 tournament:
The Hokies blasted through LaSalle, sweeping all three from the Explorers, and received some welcome help from GW, who handed Duquense the two required setbacks. After an up-and-down season, Tech suddenly found themselves with new life.
It was on to the A-10 tournament at Boyertown, PA, where the Hokies faced East Division champion UMass on day one. The Hokies blew open a close game late and won 8-4. On day two, Tech faced West Division champion Xavier and pounded the Musketeers, going ahead 12-0 after three innings and never looking back for a 17-2 victory.
Lastly, on Saturday, the Hokies dispatched UMass easily. Tech got up 13-2, and only a six-run sixth inning by the Minutemen kept it remotely close. It was sweet revenge for the Hokies to beat the Minutemen. Last year, a heavily-favored Tech team lost two straight to UMass in the championship round, and the Hokies unexpectedly had to go home and sit out the NCAA's.
There could be no better way to win the championship than to beat UMass twice. Tech now advances to the NCAA regionals. Pairings for the NCAA tournament are TBD.