April 25, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. – Georgia Tech’s Josh Heddinger out-dueled NC State’s Carlos Rodon and the Yellow Jackets pulled out a 1-0 win over the Wolfpack Friday night at Dail Park in the opener of an ACC series in Raleigh, N.C.
Matt Gonzalez had three of the six hits and his RBI single in the sixth inning was the game’s only run for the Yellow Jackets (26-17, 12-10), who snapped a five-game skid in the series to NC State. The Wolfpack slipped to 22-19, 7-15.
Heddinger tossed a two-hit shutout over his season-long 7.1 innings on the mound with no walks and four strikeouts. Fellow Buford High School alum Sam Clay recorded the final five outs with three strikeouts to slam the door on the Pack and record his fourth save. Heddinger upped his record to 3-2.
“We knew going in that we’d have to have a performance like that,” said head coach Danny Hall. “Carlos Rodon is an outstanding pitcher and we’re fortunate we got one run and made it hold up. But I’m very proud of my two guys. They both threw the ball very well.”
Heddinger retired 12 straight batters after a one-out single in the first. In a scoreless tie in the fifth, he got the final two outs in succession following Jake Fincher’s one-out double. The junior righty set down the last nine hitters he faced in order.
“They hit the ball hard at people and my defense really backed me up tonight,” said Heddinger. “I felt I mixed pitched well, and that really helped me. They have lineup full of really good hitters and they’ve been to the College World Series so you’ve got to be concerned with anyone in their lineup.”
Clay took over with one out in the eighth and recorded two quick outs and worked around Trea Turner’s one-out single in the ninth.
Tech finally got to Rodon in the sixth, after the junior lefty was in complete command over the first five innings. He struck out 11 of the first 13 batters he faced and a walk to Thomas Smith (second inning) and a single up the middle by Gonzalez (fourth inning) were the only base runners.
That was until the sixth, when Brandon Gold led off the inning by sending a single to right-center field. A sacrifice bunt from Arden Pabst moved him to second and Mott Hyde’s sharp single to right put runners at the corners for Gonzalez, who smoked an RBI single up the middle for a 1-0 lead – the first lead by Tech in their three games all-time versus Rodon.
“We got some guys on (in the sixth) and Gonzo had a real good night and had a big hit for us,” said Hall.
Rodon pitched a complete game and deserved a better fate in absorbing his seventh loss (3-7). He stuck out 15, walked two and scattered six hits.
The second game of the series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday and is the ACC’s Game of the Week on the regional sports networks, including Fox Sports South. The game can also be seen on ESPN3.