As the Conference 32 Tournament runner up, Blacksburg traveled almost 3 hours to Western Albermarle to face the # 1 region seed in Crozet, Va. The Warriors were 20-1 on the season and every starter on their team won an all district award; six first teamers, two second teamers, and one honorable mention.
However, the Bruins had ideas of their own and sent their ace, Morgan McCoy, to the mound to compete against the Warriors. Western Albemarle gambled by saving their ace, Jack Maynard, conference POY (8-0, .054 era). However, their #2 pitcher was also all conference caliber.
Neither team produced much in the 1st inning. Western Albemarle did have two singles in the bottom of the inning, but both runners were stranded.
In typical Blacksburg fashion, the Bruins struck early, achieving an quick 1-0 lead. Adam Linkous led off the inning by getting HBP. Tyler Davis then singled to right field, advancing Linkous to 3B. After a strike out and a fly out, Linkous scored on a passed ball by the catcher to take a 1-0 lead. A ground out ended the inning for Blacksburg. However, the Bruins had made a big statement taking an early lead on the road.
McCoy kept the Warriors scoreless in the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th innings. He surrendered a single in the bottom of the 2nd and then in the 3rd, he gave up two consecutive singles but forced a fielder's choice for the first out, accidentally hit the next batter, but then responded by striking out the next batter and then forcing a ground out to get out of the jam. Incredibly, McCoy retired he side of the order in the 4th on just six pitches.
Meanwhile, Blacksburg was retired in consecutive order in the 3rd, but then added two runs to extend their lead to 3-0 in the top of the 4th. Jake Schermer led off with a double, and then Adam Linkous tripled to score Schirmer. After a fly out, Jacob Sparrow singled to left field to score linkous (3-0). The next batter hit into a double play, but Blacksburg had taken an all important 3-0 lead mid way through the game, and sent a major statement to it's opponent.
The Bruins were retired in order in the top of the 5th. With the score 3-0, Western Albemarle had a chance to significantly close the gap in the the bottom of the 5th, but failed to do so. A lead off single put a runner on base, and then two consecutive Bruin infield errors loaded the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly scored a run to break the ice for the Warriors (3-1), but then McCoy buckled down and forced a fly out for the second out. The runner on 3B tagged up, but then in perhaps one of the biggest plays of the game, Jacob Sparrow gunned him out at the plate for a huge momentum play for the Bruins, which resulted the third out of inning and minimized the potential damage. Without the out, the score would have been 3-2 with the Warriors still batting.
Blacksburg was retired in consecutive order again in the top of the 6th, while McCoy, seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. He allowed just one hit in the bottom of the 6th to keep Western Albemarle from reaching scoring position.
The Bruins added an insurance run in the top of the 7th, which broke the back's of the Warriors. With two outs, Tyler Barry doubled to center field. Grayson Shelton was inserted to run for Barry. Western Albermarle then went to their ace, Jack Maynard, and Jake Verniel hit an 0-2 pitch to center field for an RBI single, scoring the speedy Shelton from 2B, to extend the Bruin lead to 4-0. Maynard then forced a ground out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, and victory just three outs away for Blacksburg, McCoy retired the side in order on just ten pitches. He forced a ground out, a line out, and then a ground out to end the game, and preserve the win for the Bruins.
Pitcher Morgan McCoy went the distance for Blacksburg, scattering seven hits over seven innings. The one run Western Albemarle scored was unearned. McCoy struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Blacksburg produced four runs on five hits, and managed to overcome three errors in the field. Western Albemarle scored one run on seven hits and did not commit an error.
Offensively, Blacksburg was led by Adam Linkous, who was 1/2 with a crucial triple. Jake Schirmer and Tyler Barry each had a double, while Tyler Davis Jacob Sparrow, and Jake Verniel each added a single.
With the win, Blacksburg improves to 13-9 on the season, and now travels to the host of the region tournament, Covington on Wednesday to play Tunstall, who beat Northside 4-0.