OU baseball ready to 'see what happens tomorrow' vs. Virginia Tech with CWS berth on the line
Even the NCAA couldn’t stop the Hokies from hammering away on Saturday.
No. 4-seeded Virginia Tech is known for hitting the ball hard. The team entered this weekend with the seventh-most home runs in the nation (120), and even more recognizable is its celebration once a ball does leave the park.
When a Hokie crosses home plate after hitting a dinger, he’s handed a sledgehammer that he slams on the ground as his teammates go ballistic. It’s a celebration that Virginia Tech fans have grown to love, but the NCAA isn’t as big of a fan.
Following the conclusion of Regionals, NCAA Baseball’s Secretary Rules Editor Randy Bruns reinforced the prohibition of all orchestrated activities by dugout personnel, citing them as something that may “distract, intimidate or disconcert the opposing team.”
But the Hokies kept swinging.
Virginia Tech kept its season alive with a 14-8 win over Oklahoma in Game 2 of the Blacksburg Super Regional. The team hammered five home runs in the process, and its first one came on the first at-bat of the game.
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Nick Biddison stepped into the second pitch he saw from David Sandlin and smacked it over the wall in left field. Biddison then crossed home plate and performed the Hokies’ signature celebration, albeit with an invisible sledgehammer instead of a real one.
"They took advantage of mistake pitches," OU head coach Skip Johnson said. "They're good hitters. That's what's going to happen when you make mistakes."
Virginia Tech kept swinging in the third inning when Gavin Cross and Cade Hunter each delivered two-run home runs to make it a 5-0 contest. Hunter’s homer nearly stayed in the park, but John Spikerman couldn’t snatch it as he lept at the wall in right field.
OU tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the frame.
Blake Robertson put the Sooners on the board with an RBI single, and Jimmy Crooks delivered a two-run single soon afterward to trim the deficit to 5-3.
OU then showed some power of its own in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brett Squires delivered a 441-foot solo home run, which Virginia Tech’s outfielders didn’t even bother to chase.
But the Hokies responded.
Virginia Tech delivered its second leadoff home run of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Tanner Schobel did the honors, and the deep bomb sparked a four-run inning that pushed the Hokies’ lead to 9-5.
OU gave Virginia Tech a late scare in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Kendall Pettis started the rally with an RBI single that trimmed the deficit to 13-6, and Peyton Graham brought another run in with a bases-loaded walk.
OU then made it a 13-8 contest via a ground-out by Robertson, but Virginia Tech finally stopped the bleeding. Closer Kiernan Higgins got Tanner Tredaway to fly out on the next at-bat with runners on second and third to end the inning.
Biddison then put the finishing touches on the game in the top of the ninth. After delivering a leadoff home run in the first at-bat of the game, the junior crushed another solo homer to seal his team’s 14-8 win.
A Virginia Tech player held a sign reading “Free the hammer” as Biddison crossed home plate.
Robertson and Crooks each finished with a pair of RBIs on 1-for-5 hitting for the Sooners. Squires recorded one RBI and two runs while going 1-for-4 at the plate.
OU and Virginia Tech will face off once more on Sunday at noon. The winner will advance to the College World Series.
"It was a fun game even though we lost the game," Johnson said. "I'm just glad our guys fought until the bitter end. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
NCAA Blacksburg Super Regional
OU vs. Virginia Tech (best-of-3 series):
Game 1: OU 5, Virginia Tech 4
Game 2: Virginia Tech 14, OU 8
Game 3: Noon Sunday
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