Hampton Roads players belt home runs as No. 4 Virginia Tech clinches berth in baseball Super Regional by beating Columbia

Tanner Schobel and Carson DeMartini hit home runs as No. 4 national seed Virginia Tech broke through Sunday night for its first NCAA baseball regional title, defeating Columbia 7-2 before 2,663 fans at English Field. The win capped a three-game unbeaten run through the four-team double-elimination event.

Tech will play host to No. 13 Florida or Oklahoma in a best-of-three Super Regional this weekend. The winner of that series will gain tickets to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series.

The Hokies (44-12) were regional runners-up in 2003 and ‘10, but they were dominant with this new cast. That includes Schobel, a shortstop from Walsingham Academy, and DeMartini, a freshman from Ocean Lakes High in Virginia Beach. Tech defeated Wright State and then Columbia (32-19) twice by a combined 46-15 over a three-day span.

Schobel, who has drawn comparisons to former Boston Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia, belted a two-run shot to left field in the first inning. He is ranked as d1baseball.com’s No. 2 shortstop nationally.

In the fifth, DeMartini clubbed a three-run homer to right-center. His fellow former Peninsula Pilot Nick Biddison followed with a home run, extending the lead to 7-1. Biddison also had an RBI triple in the second inning.

Former First Colonial High pitcher Graham Firoved (5-0) got the victory with five strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Ryan Metz. Henry Weycker pitched the final two innings, striking out three.

Virginia Tech had been picked second-to-last in the ACC Coastal Division but ended up with the conference’s best record in league play. That netted John Szefc Coach of the Year honors in the conference.

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