April 1, 2012
ATLANTA – No. 21 Georgia Tech brought the tying run to third base with one out in the ninth inning, but visiting Duke was able to avoid a series sweep by beating the Yellow Jackets, 4-3, Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Thomas led off the ninth inning with a double, moved to third on a groundout from Sam Dove and was trying to score from third on a fly ball to left from Jake Davies. But left fielder Anthony D’Alessandro fired home and Thomas was tagged out at the plate on the game’s final play.
The double play turned by Duke ended a back-and-fourth ballgame that featured three ties, two lead changes and saw Tech fall to 18-11 overall, 6-6 in the ACC. Duke improved to 12-17, 5-7.
Thomas was 3-for-5 with an RBI, while freshman Thomas Smith stayed hot, with another two-hit effort with a walk and a run. Kyle Wren also picked up two hits, a run and an RBI. Battling an illness, Thomas missed the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, but still finished the week 10-for-17 (.588) in four games with four RBI, three runs, two doubles and three stolen bases.
Mark Lumpa, who finished 3-for-3, drove in the go-ahead run for Duke with a single through the right side in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie. Andrew Istler fired 4.2 innings of one-run relief to pick up the victory (2-1), while David Putman picked up his third save.
Tech came out swinging in the first inning and got consecutive singles from Wren and Thomas to get the game started. Wren eventually scored from third on an RBI from Davies for a 1-0 lead.
Duke countered in the second with a sacrifice fly from David Perkins that scored Mike Rosenfeld and the visitors gained a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Andy Perez drew a bases-loaded walk. Tech answered with an RBI single from Wren in the bottom half that tied the game again.
Rosenfeld’s sacrifice fly to center in the fifth put the Blue Devils back up, but again Tech tied the game when Thomas ripped an RBI single up the middle to score Mott Hyde in the sixth.
Josh Heddinger worked the final three innings for Tech with two hits a walk, a run and was hung the tough-luck loss (1-3). Starter Dusty Isaacs pitched six innings, allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) and turned a 3-3 game over to the bullpen.
Tech returns to action with a 6 p.m. Tuesday night game at Kennesaw State, before returning home this weekend for a crucial ACC series with Atlantic Divison-leading Florida State. Friday’s first pitch is set for 7 p.m. and Saturday’s 6 p.m. is Danny Hall 1,000 Night at Russ Chandler Stadium.