The Blacksburg JV Bruins traveled to Patrick Henry for their regular season opener, and came away with a hard fought 12-8 win over the Patriots.
The Bruins jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one half inning, putting lots of early pressure on the Patriots. Justin Snyder led off the game and reached base via an error. CJ Linares singled to center field, advancing Snyder to 2B. Seb Cianelli responded with a single to center field, scoring Snyder and recording the first RBI of the season. Andrew Robertson kept the rally going with a single, scoring Linares for the 2nd run of the game. Michael Olszewski hit a RBI single for the 4th straight Bruin hit, scoring Cianelli. Billy Quinn drew a walk to load the bases, with Roberson advancing to 3B and Olszewski to 2B. Ryan Anderson reached 1B on a fielder's choice, but picked up an RBI by sending Roberson home. A PH error allowed Olszewski to score. A sacrifice attempt resulted in a force out at home and the inning ended, but not before Blacksburg had put 5 quick runs up on the board.
Blacksburg starting pitcher, CJ Linares, took the mound for the Bruins and pitched well. Patrick Henry scored an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st after a batter reached base via an error.
In the top of the 2nd, Blacksburg tacked on two more runs to extend their lead to 7-1. After an out, Linares and Cianelli drew back-to-back walks to put two runners on base. After a fly out, Olszewski hit a hard ground ball to left field, scoring Linares, and accounted for his 2nd RBI in as many innings. Cianelli then stole 3B and scored on a passed ball. A strike out ended the inning for Blacksburg.
Linares went to work in the bottom half of the frame, facing just four batters, forcing three ground outs and one player reached base via an infield error.
Neither team produced any runs in the 3rd inning. Matt Larkin drew a walk but was stranded in the top of the 3rd. Linares was solid again in the 3rd, facing four batters, walking one and forcing a ground out, a fly out, and foul ball for an out. After 3 complete innings, the score remained 7-1, Blacksburg.
Blacksburg scored a run in the top of the 4th, extending their lead to 8-1. Linares and Cianelli reached on Patrick Henry errors and then Roberson singled to center field. Andrew's hit scored Linares and advanced Cianelli to 3B. Patrick Henry rebounded quickly, striking out three straight Bruin hitters to end the inning and the scoring threat.
Patrick Henry picked up a run in the bottom of the 4th, to narrow the lead back to 6 runs at 8-2. After a quick out to start the inning, Blacksburg made two fielding errors and then a fielding error on a throw, allowing PH to score a run. After a walk, Linares struck out the next two batters to end any potential scoring opportunities for the Patriots.
Blacksburg continued to keep it's offense going, scoring another run in the top of the 5th, re-extending their lead to 9-2. Pete Quinn drew a lead off walk and then stole 2B. Matt Larkin hit an RBI single to center field, scoring Quinn. The Bruins rally stopped there, however, with three consecutive outs.
Patrick Henry would put together a little rally in the bottom of the 5th, scoring three runs to close the gap to 9-5.
Blacksburg failed to respond in the top of the 6th, going three up and three down in consecutive order.
PH would rally again in the bottom of the 6th, scoring two runs to narrow the game to 9-7. The Bruins walked the bases loaded and then a double to CF scored two runs. However, Billy Quinn entered the game in relief and quickly recorded two strike outs and giving up just one hit. Quinn limited the potential damage, which was a huge change in momentum for the Bruins.
In the top of the 7th, Blacksburg fought back and plated three runs of their own to re-extend the lead to 12-7. Ryan Anderson led off the inning and reached on an error as did Pete Quinn. The double steal was on as both Anderson and Quinn stole 3B and 2B respectively. With Anderson on 3B, he was now in position to possibly score on a passed ball or sacrifice. Matt Larkin successfully hit a sacrifice bunt, scoring Anderson and advancing Quinn to 3B. Justin Snyder then reached 1B on a sacrifice bunt, and recorded an RBI, scoring Quinn from 3B. Snyder stole 2B and then advanced to 3B on a wild pitch. Snyder then stole home. Linares singled to center field and Cianelli drew a walk, but both were stranded with two consecutive outs. However, the three Bruin runs were critical in responding to PH's two most recent rallies.
Billy Quinn shut the door on the Patriots in the bottom of the 7th, giving up just one run on two hits to end the game for the Bruins 12-8.
Starting pitcher CJ Linares got the win for Blacksburg, pitching four innings, and surrendering just two earned runs. He scattered two hits, struck out two batters, and walked five.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by CJ Linares, Andrew Roberson, and Michael Olszewski, who each had two hits. Roberson and Olszewski each had two RBIs. LInares scored three runs while Seb Cianelli scored two runs.
Head Coach Jonathan Hagee was very happy with his first BHS win. Hagee said, "Getting this first win was big for us, especially on the road. When Billy came in with bases loaded and shut them down, that was huge for us. We showed a lot of heart at the end of the game. We should have put them away when it was 9-3, but we did respond well after they rallied, which was good. We settled in, threw a lot of strikes and played good defense. We were able to run when we wanted to, which we'll be doing a lot of this year. I was very pleased with how competitive the players were...They are a great group of kids. This is a great place with great kids and people and I'm thrilled to be here."
The Blacksburg JV plays Pulaski on Friday, March 28th.