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May 22, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. - Virginia Tech shortstop Chad Pinder blasted a pair of home runs - including a sixth-inning grand slam - to lead the Hokies to a lopsided 10-1 victory over Virginia Wednesday in the second game of the ACC Baseball Championship at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Pinder, a junior from Poquoson, Va., capped a six-run second inning off Virginia starter Brandon Waddell (L, 5-2) with a long blow over the Blue Monster in left. He also doubled off Waddell in the fourth. His second round-tripper - which also soared over the Blue Monster -- came off reliever Austin Young.
"I was just trying to get a pitch up in the zone," Pinder said. "After my first at bat, I swung at some pitches that weren't in the zone and I came back in the dugout and talked to [assistant] Coach [Mike Kunigonis]. He said, `You've really got to stick to your approach. You're not going to get a lot of strikes, so when you get them, make sure you put a good swing on it.' That's what I tried to do."
Pinder, an All-ACC shortstop, hit just four home runs in 52 regular season games. His six RBIs were a career high.
Virginia Tech actually seized control of the game in the second inning. It started innocently enough as left fielder Tyler Horan blooped a popup behind shortstop and turned it into a hustle double. He was moving over to third when Andrew Rash bounced a routine grounder to short. Only Virginia shortstop Nick Howard didn't handle it routinely - heaving his throw over first baseman Jared King and into the dugout.
That scored Horan with the game's first run and it opened the floodgates against Waddell. Catcher Chad Morgan and third baseman Brendon Hayden hammered ringing doubles to drive in two more runs. Waddell got the next two batters, but with two outs and a runner on third, he surrendered an RBI single to first baseman Sean Keselica, then gave up Pinder's first homer.
Virginia bounced back to score a run off Virginia Tech starter Joe Mantiply after third baseman Kenny Towns tripled in teammate Reed Gragnani with no outs. But Pinder ended the threat when he fielded Nate Irving's grounder and threw Towns out at the plate.
Mantiply (W, 6-0) gave the Hokies seven strong innings, beating Virginia for the second time this season.
"I just tried to pitch like it was a tie game," the left-hander said. "After that six-run inning, I was able to pitch to contact and let my defense help me."
Virginia Tech (36-19) will next take on Florida State Thursday at 7 p.m. Virginia (45-10) will try to stay alive when the Cavs take on Georgia Tech Thursday at 11 a.m.