Larry Bowles leaps for
the ball on a pickoff
attempt in the Hokies’ 5-3
loss to Richmond Friday.
Hokies Fall to Richmond 5-3
Baseball will regroup to face loser of the Wake Forest/Siena game.
May 28, 1999
By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Mike Smith won the battle of damage control in
the first inning, enabling Richmond to defeat Virginia Tech 5-3 in the opening
round of the NCAA baseball tournament Friday.
Both teams loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but Richmond got the
better of it, taking a 3-1 lead after the initial frame. Josh Lamberg’s two-run
single – despite catcher’s interference – was the key hit off starter and loser
Pat Pinkman, who had allowed only two earned runs in his last 32 innings before
Once given the lead, Smith (11-2) settled into a groove, scattering six hits
and striking out seven in a 143-pitch effort against a Virginia Tech team that
hit .322 during the season.
“He won’t be coming back on three day’s rest,” Richmond coach Ron Atkins
said when informed of Smith’s pitch count.
Smith’s victory total tied a school record, while the second-seeded Spiders
(39-15) have now outscored opponents 69-15 in the first innings of games.
Leadoff hitter Nate Rewers was 3-for-5 with one run scored and one RBI for
Richmond. The second baseman also made a diving stop in the first that saved
“It gave us a lot of confidence to get ahead of a team, and then we had the
momentum on our side,” said Rewers. “We just tried to drive that momentum
throughout the rest of the game.”
The right-handed Smith retired 12 of 13 batters after allowing single runs
in the first and second innings, changing his style in mid-stream from a lot of
curve balls to mostly fastballs and changeups.
“He went right after us,” said Virginia Tech second baseman Randy Martin.
“Maybe he fooled some guys in the middle of our lineup. Some pitchers have
pitched backwards to us because we’re a pretty good offensive team, but he went
after us. We weren’t expecting that.”
After surrendering a single and RBI double to Addison Bowman in the seventh,
Smith closed the game out by retiring seven of the final eight hitters.
“Give Mike Smith a heck of a lot of credit,” said Virginia Tech coach
Chuck Hartman, whose club fell to 41-16 and into the loser’s bracket of the
double-elimination tourney. “He didn’t really finesse us a lot. He came right
after us. He was throwing in the low 90s and he was just a little quicker than
some of our hitters thought.”
The heart of Virginia Tech’s order was a combined 0-for-10.
“It’s pretty hard to win a baseball game when you don’t get hits out of
your three, four and five hitters,” Hartman said. “Those guys have been
carrying us all year.”
Cleanup hitter Larry Bowles saw his 27-game hitting streak come to an end
after going 0-for-3.
“I am going to go out there (Saturday) and do my best to get back on tracks
and get some hits,” said Bowles.