March 12, 2011
ATLANTA – Freshman Kyle Wren was 5-for-5 and belted one of three Georgia Tech (11-4, 2-0 ACC) home runs to lead the 24th-ranked Yellow Jackets to a series clinching 9-3 win over Maryland (8-6, 0-2 ACC) Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
“I thought we did a great job of getting some two-out hits and getting runners into scoring position,” head coach Danny Hall said. “We had some stolen bases to get runners into scoring position and then we got hits. There were a lot of good things and good at bats that happened when we needed them to happen. I felt like offensively we had a good day.”
Wren’s five hits were the most by a Tech player this season, and tied for the most by any player in an Atlantic Coast Conference game this year. The freshman leadoff hitter had an all-around outstanding day, scoring three runs, driving in two and adding a stolen base.
“It felt great,” said Wren of his home run in the eighth inning. “I didn’t hit the ball that well. I knew that they were playing me so shallow that I could probably just drop the ball in and get a triple if I hustled. He [Maryland right-fielder Charlie White] just kept running back and it went over the fence. I just thought, ‘Ok, I’ll take that.’
I think the last time I had five hits in one game might have been in middle school. It’s been a long time. I’m just going to savor this moment.”
Junior left-hander Jed Bradley (2-0) pitched seven strong innings to earn the win on the mound. Bradley yielded just five Maryland hits and one earned run in the outing. He had a season-high 11 strikeouts and was just one shy of tying his career-high.
Palka’s two-run blast off of Maryland starter David Carroll gave the Jackets an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. It was Palka’s team-leading fifth round-tripper of the season.
Tech continued to chase Carroll in the next inning, adding two more runs on three hits for a 4-0 lead. Freshman DeAndre Smelter drove one in on a sacrifice fly to right field, before freshman Kyle Wren’s triple to centerfield brought in another.
Davies’ solo home run to right field in the fifth inning made it 6-0, and ended the day for the Maryland right-hander.
Carroll (3-1), who entered the game with a 1.33 ERA, was hit with his first loss of the season after allowing six runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings.
Maryland cut Georgia Tech’s lead to 8-3 with a pair of unearned runs in the seventh, but sophomore Luke Bard and freshman Brad Markey kept the Terrapins off the board to close out the eighth and ninth innings out of the bullpen.
Wren ended his five-hit day with a leadoff home run to right field in the eighth inning. It was the first homer of his career.
The two teams will conclude the series on Sunday, with first pitch at 1 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.