March 6, 2010
ATLANTA – Junior catcher Cole Leonida was 4-for-5 with four RBI, as the No. 4 Georgia Tech baseball team (9-1) compiled a season-high 20 hits in a 19-5 victory over Rutgers (1-7) Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Jackets scored in double-figures for the fifth time this season, tallying their 20 hits against six different Rutgers pitchers in a game that lasted three hours and twenty-three minutes. Tech had just seven hits in each of its previous two games.
“I felt like yesterday we had a lot better at-bats even though we didn’t get as many hits as we would have liked,” head coach Danny Hall said. “Today, even though we got behind early, we had some good at-bats and were able to get some key hits when we needed them. I felt like we had a much better approach the past two days and today we were rewarded by getting some hits.”
Leonida’s four hits were a career-high, as he led five Tech players with multiple hits on the day. Sophomores Jacob Esch (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Matt Skole (3-for-4, 2 runs), junior Derek Dietrich (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and senior Jay Dantzler (2-for-3, 3 RBI) also paced the Jackets at the plate.
Junior right-hander Brandon Cumpton improved to 3-0 on the season, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 5.0 innings pitched.
“I felt like he probably did not have his best stuff today, and honestly in the first inning we had a couple of defensive boo-boos put him in a hole,” Hall said. “But he battled, gave up one run after that, his fourth and fifth innings were good, and he gave us a chance to win. You are not going to have your best stuff every day but you have to figure out a way to keep you team in the game and I think he did that.”
Cumpton ran into some trouble early in the game after allowing four runs on four hits in the top of the first (throwing 39 pitches), but calmed down to hold the Scarlet Knights to just three hits over the next four frames.
Tech’s largest deficit of the young season would not last long, as the Jackets batted around in the bottom of the second while scoring eight runs on seven hits in the process.
Leonida was 2-for-2 in the inning, as his three-run homer to right-field made it 8-4. The Aurora, Colo. native started the rally on his first at-bat by leading off with a single up the middle.
It was Leonida’s first game hitting in the cleanup spot, as he improved his batting average to .471 (16-for-34) in 10 games on the season.
“He [Cole Leonida] was great day for us today, and has been real consistent the last couple of weeks,” Hall said. “I thought he has had great at-bats, and that is why I have him in the middle of the order hoping he can do some damage and knock in some guys for us.”
Rutgers starter Dennis Hill’s (0-3) day was cut short after exiting the game in the same inning. The left-hander was tagged for seven runs, allowing six hits in 2.1 innings pitched.
Tech would score 11 more runs in the next six innings – crossing the plate in four of the six – for its second highest scoring output of the season.
Relievers Luke Bard, Patrick Long, Zach Brewster and Jake Davies held the Scarlet Knights to no runs and just two hits in the final four innings of the game, combining for seven of the Jackets nine strikeouts on the day.
Sophomore Jed Bradley (1-1) will take the mound for the Jackets at 1 p.m. Sunday, as the series concludes at Russ Chandler Stadium.