Blacksburg varsity traveled to beautiful Salem Stadium on Monday, home of Salem Spartans and prior home of the many minor league teams who have been part of the MLB farm system. Pirate greats such as Dave Parker, Omar Marino, Ed Ott, and New York Met Darryl Strawberry and many others have played on this same historic field
As visitors, Blacksburg would bat first and Jon Hinson managed to draw a lead off walk. Adam Linkous singled with two outs, scoring Hinson to take a 1-0 lead. A ground out ended the inning for the Bruins.
Sophomore Jake Verniel started on the mound for Blacksburg. He had a great start with two quick outs on nine pitches, but then gave up two singles and then a player scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1. Verniel then walked his first two batters of the season to load the bases. A single then scored two runs for Salem to take the lead 3-1. Verniel forced a fly out to end the inning.
Blacksburg was retired in consecutive order in the top of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings.
Meanwhile, Salem picked up a run in the bottom of the 2nd to extend their lead 4-1. With one out, a Spartan drew a walk and then back-to-back singles loaded the bases. A third single produced a run for Salem. With bases still loaded, Verniel forced a double play ground ball that got the Bruins out of a big jam that could have busted the game wide open.
In the top of the 5th, Jake Schirmer led off with a double and after an out, Jacob Sparrow drew a walk to put two Blacksburg runners on base. However, a strike out and a fly out ended the scoring opportunity for the Bruins.
In the bottom half of the inning, Verniel retired the Salem side after facing just four batters. After a strike out and a fly out, Salem hit a single, but then Verniel forced a fly out to end the inning.
Blacksburg tried to rally in the top of the 6th, but came up short. Two lead off singles by Morgan McCoy and Ethan Goforth put runners at 1B and 2B with no outs. However, a runner was thrown out on the bases, and then a strike out and fly out ended the inning.
Salem started the bottom of the 6th by drawing a lead off walk. The Spartans sacrificed the runner over to 2B and then another walk put runners at 1B and 2B. The Bruins inserted Tyler Davis in to pitch, and he struck out the first batter he faced and then forced a ground out to end the inning.
In the top of the 7th, Jake Schirmer got his second hit of the gam, a single to left field and then Jake Verniel reached on an error. Jacob Sparrow reached base on a fielder’s choice, forcing Verniel out at 2B. Dylan Surface then reached on a fielder’s choice, resulting in Schrimer out at home plate. With two outs, the last Bruin batter grounded out to end the inning and the game at 4-1.
Salem did not bat in the bottom of the 7th.
Jake Verniel pitched 6 1/3 innings for the Bruins, scattering nine hits, giving up five walks, and registered two strike outs. Tyler Davis pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief and did not allow a hit. He had one strike out. Verniel is now 3-1 on the season for Blacksburg.
Offensively, Blacksburg scored one run on five hits. Jake Schirmer was 2/3 while Morgan McCoy, Ethan Goforth, and Adam Linkous each added a hit.
With the loss, Blacksburg falls to 12-7 on the season and hosts Northside on Thursday for it’s final regular season game.