College Baseball Roundup: VA Tech’s Scherzer Goes to the Max

When your last name is Scherzer and you pitch a baseball, it’s only natural that people are going to have high expectations.

That’s nothing new for Virginia Tech closer Luke Scherzer, and while the sophomore from Powhatan, VA may have a long way to go before he’s signing multi-million-dollar contracts like his namesake Max, he showed a Saturday Blacksburg crowd that he can handle a little bit of pressure.

Facing #3 Virginia (12-4) in the second game of their ACC weekend series, Scherzer wriggled out of two bases-loaded jams to earn his third save with 2.1 innings of stellar relief work as the Hokies (9-9) knocked off their highly-ranked neighbors for the second straight day. The 3-1 triumph pushed VA Tech’s league record to 3-2, while the Cavaliers — who lost for the third consecutive time — fell to 2-3.

After surrendering an unearned run in the first inning, Hokie starter Aaron McGarity (2-1) effectively shut down the Virginia offense until there were two outs in the seventh, when a pair of singles and a base on balls ended his day. Scherzer was summoned from the bullpen and promptly induced a pop out to the second baseman from Daniel Pinero.

By that time, VA Tech had built its 3-1 advantage. Alex Perez brought home a run in the third with a sacrifice fly, and the Hokies added two more in the fourth on a Ricky Surum RBI single and a bases-loaded walk to Miguel Ceballos.

After an uneventful eighth inning, Scherzer took to the hill in the ninth looking to close out the Cavaliers, but Charlie Cody led off with a single. Two outs later, Adam Haseley singled and Pinero coaxed a walk to again fill the sacks for Virginia. However, Scherzer fired a called strike three past Pavin Smith, and the Hokies pulled off their second straight upset victory.

Scherzer, in his ninth appearance of the young season, lowered his ERA to 1.50 with the save. Virginia’s Connor Jones (4-1) was handed his first defeat.

In other ACC play Saturday: #11 North Carolina (12-6, 3-2) rode a solo home run and sacrifice fly from Skye Bolt to back six strong innings from starter J. B. Bukauskas (3-1) and three frames of scoreless relief by Spencer Trayner and Trevor Kelley for a 3-1 triumph over Pittsburgh (7-9, 2-3)… Freshman Brendan McKay tossed seven shutout innings and whiffed nine in his first collegiate start to lead #15 Louisville (13-6, 4-1) to a 13-0 whitewashing of visiting Boston College (5-11, 0-5), completing a doubleheader sweep. Nick Solak went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI for the Cardinals, while Corey Ray was 3-for-4 and also plated a pair of runs. In the opener, Louisville won 5-4 in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off single by Devin HairstonJohn Sansone was 3-for-4 and D. J. Stewart and Hank Truluck each drove in two runs as #21 Florida State (16-4, 4-1) hammered Wake Forest (13-7, 3-2)Notre Dame (13-4, 2-3) and Clemson (9-8, 2-3) split a twin bill. The Tigers won the opener 6-1 as Matthew Crownover (4-0) hurled eight strong innings and yielded a single unearned run and Chase Pinder belted a two-run homer. The Irish won the nightcap 11-6 as Robert Youngdahl and Zak Kutsulis each collected three hits… David Thompson went 2-for-4 and knocked in two runs as Miami FL (14-6, 3-2) toppled NC State (10-6, 2-3) 9-2… Duke (14-4, 2-3) got by Georgia Tech (13-5, 3-2) 6-3 as Jalen Phillips drove in three runs.

In SEC action: #1 Florida (17-3, 1-1) used three hits from Richie Martin and a two-run homer from Mike Rivera to defeat Tennessee (8-7, 1-1) 8-3… It took extras, but Ole Miss (10-8, 1-1) outlasted #4 LSU (17-2, 1-1) when Sikes Orvis delivered an RBI double and Errol Robinson came through with an RBI single in the top of the 14th frame to grab a 5-3 win… #5 Vanderbilt (15-4, 2-0) took a pair from Arkansas (9-7, 0-2), claiming the first game 8-7 on a walk-off RBI triple in the 12th courtesy of Rhett Wiseman after the Commodores had rallied from a 7-3 deficit in the bottom of the ninth. Wiseman had three hits (including a home run) and three RBI, backing a brilliant relief outing by winner Ben Bowden (3 IP, 6 K, 0 R). Vandy took the second contest 9-1 as Wiseman had three more hits and drove in two to give Walker Buehler (6 IP, 1 R, 7 K) his first victory… Matt Kent gutted out 8.1 solid innings to go to 5-0 as undefeated #6 Texas A&M (20-0, 2-0) kept rolling by downing Auburn (13-6, 0-2) 10-4.  Blake Allemand, Ronnie Gideon, and Logan Taylor each knocked in two runs for the Aggies… Alex Destino and Elliot Caldwell both ripped two-run homers as #7 South Carolina (16-3, 2-0) nipped Kentucky (13-5, 0-2) 4-3… #22 Mississippi State (16-5, 1-1) split a pair with Alabama (10-7, 1-1), losing the opener 10-5 as the Tide’s Mikey White hit a homer and went 3-for-4 with three RBI; Alabama rallied for eight runs in the eighth against the Bulldogs’ usually reliable bullpen. MSU bounced back in the nightcap 4-1 as Austin Sexton (3-0) hurled a complete game with seven strikeouts and Jake Vickerson went 3-for-4 with an RBI… Missouri (14-4, 2-0) swept a pair from Georgia (12-7, 0-2) 5-1 and 8-4 as Reggie McClain (3-1) was a complete-game winner in the opener and Trey Harris had four hits and four RBI in the two games.

In PAC-12 play: Cal (15-3, 2-0) upset #8 Oregon (13-6, 0-2) for the second straight day in a 6-2 decision as Ryan Mason (3-0) threw eight solid innings and Aaron Knapp, Brett Cumberland, Chris Paul, and Preston Grand Pre all stroked two hits… Catcher Brian Serven smacked a two-out walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give #12 Arizona State (11-6, 1-1) a 4-3 triumph over Oregon State (15-4, 1-1)Joe Pistorese (3-1) struck out eight in a masterful complete game performance and Shane Matheny went 3-for-3 with an RBI as Washington State (12-6, 1-1) surprised #13 Southern Cal (16-3, 1-1) 4-2… Jack Meggs knocked in three runs and Josh Cushing collected three hits as Washington (13-6, 1-1) pounded #14 UCLA (13-5, 1-1) 8-1… Max Schuman homered, went 3-for-4, and drove in three runs as Utah (5-12, 1-1) upended Arizona (16-5, 1-1) 7-4.

In Big 12 action: K. C. Huth coaxed a two-out, 10th-inning bases-loaded walk to bring home the game-winner as West Virginia (8-7, 1-1) eased past #18 Texas (12-7, 1-1) 7-6… A catcher’s interference call plated the eventual winning run in the seventh and Riley Ferrell struck out the side in the ninth to record his seventh save as #2 TCU (13-2, 2-0) squeezed past Baylor (6-11, 0-2), earning Preston Morrison (9 K in 7.1 IP) his fourth win without a loss… Tyler Neslony belted a three-run homer and went 4-for-5 and Camerson Smith (2-1) tossed seven shutout innings as #24 Texas Tech (13-5) blanked San Diego State (15-4) in a non-league affair… Tyler Nurdin, Trey Cobb, and Koda Glover combined to hurl eight innings of scoreless relief to lead Oklahoma State (12-6) to a 3-2 victory over Grand Canyon (11-7) in the first game of a twin bill; the Cowboys also took the second contest 11-4 as Tim Arakawa drove in four runs and Corey Hassel homered and went 3-for-4… Michigan (11-7) topped Kansas (7-12) 6-4 in another non-conference matchup as Cody Bruder had three hits and Eric Jacobson knocked in a pair of runs.

In the Big Ten: Indiana (12-4) took two from Cal State-Fullerton (9-8) 5-4 and 2-0, winning the first on a walk-off error and the second as four pitchers combined on a shutout and Austin Cangelosi went 2-for-4 with an RBI… Jarod Perry had three hits and Jonathan Ramon bashed a home run, drove in two runs, and scored three as Evansville (7-6) outslugged Ohio State (8-5) 10-9… Drasen Johnson (2-1) threw a complete game and Ryan Nagle went 3-for-4 with an RBI as #19 Illinois (13-4-1) handled Southern Illinois (3-14) 6-2… Houston Baptist (8-9) downed Iowa (10-3) 7-1 as Thomas Clay went 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Elsewhere: Shortstop Dylan Moore ripped his seventh home run of the season as #9 Central Florida (16-4) defeated Fairfield (0-7) 6-5… Caleb Wallingford (2-1) pitched 8.1 innings of one-hit ball as Memphis (7-4) topped Eastern Illinois (0-11) 6-1… Josh Vidales homered, went 4-for-4, and scored four times as #25 Houston (12-7) polished off Buffalo (3-9) 9-3… #17 UC Santa Barbara (12-5) outlasted Wichita State (6-11) 6-3 as Shane Bieber (3-2) threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts and Cameron Newell delivered three hits… Grayson Lewis ripped a one-out, two-run walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to rally #10 Rice (14-6, 5-0 C-USA) to an 8-7 win over Louisiana Tech (8-8, 0-2).

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