May 10, 2009
ATLANTA – Tony Plagman drove in the winning run to cap a two-run ninth-inning rally, lifting No. 8 Georgia Tech past No. 6 Florida State, 6-5, Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium to win the weekend Atlantic Coast Conference series, two games to one.
The Yellow Jackets (33-12-1 overall, 16-8-1 ACC) won for the fifth time in six games, while the Seminoles, the first place team in the Atlantic Division, fell to 36-14, 19-9 in the ACC. Tech regained a percentage-points lead in the Coastal Division when North Carolina lost its series finale with NC State Sunday.
Chris House’s single began the Tech rally in the ninth against FSU closer Jimmy Marshall (3-2). Jeff Rowland followed with a walk, and Derek Dietrich got an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Marshall then walked Luke Murton to force in the tying run.
With the winning run at third, FSU coach Mike Martin inserted Sherman Johnson as a fifth infielder, positioned between the shortstop and second baseman, in an attempt to cut down the run at home. Plagman, whose solo homer in the seventh inning brought the Jackets within a run, hit the fourth pitch from Marshall up the middle. Johnson dove to field the ball, but his throw home was too late to retire Rowland dashing home from third.
“House did a great job starting the rally and we had a lot of balls bounce our way,” said Tech coach Danny Hall. “When you get a leadoff hitter on, you obviously feel good. Marshall, for whatever reason, has a hard time throwing strikes, kind of like we did yesterday. When you don’t throw strikes in the ninth inning, you give a team a chance to rally.
Tech got excellent work from its bullpen Sunday, giving up no runs and just one hit over the final 4-1/3 innings. Zach Brewster (1-2) earned the win with a scoreless ninth behind Andrew Robinson, who squelched an FSU rally in the fifth and pitched shutout ball for the next three innings.
“Andrew Robinson was really the key to the game for us by pitching really well and not giving up any runs,” said Hall, “and then Brewster got the scoreless ninth.”
The Seminoles took an early 2-1 lead, getting solo home runs from Mike McGee in the first and Stuart Tapley in the second sandwiched around a solo shot from Rowland.
FSU added three runs in the fifth to chase Tech starter Jed Bradley, starting the inning with a walk to Brunelle, a single by Holt and an RBI double by Cardullo. Holt scored on McGee’s ground out, and Cardullo came home on Stidham’s sacrifice fly.
Tech got two of the runs back in the sixth when Chase Burnette belted a two-run homer to close the gap to 5-3. Plagman chopped another run off the FSU lead with a two-out shot in the seventh, bringing the Jackets within 5-4.
The Yellow Jackets play Georgia at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Turner Field in the annual Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Spring Baseball Classic, then conclude their ACC schedule with a series at Duke beginning Thursday.
Post-game press conference:
Highlights of the 2009 senior class, which was honored prior to the game: