March 25, 2011
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 12 Georgia Tech extended its nation-leading win streak to 14 games, as eight of the Yellow Jackets’ nine starters recorded a hit in a 8-3 series opening win over Miami on Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.
The Jackets (19-4, 7-0 ACC) remain perfect in Atlantic Coast Conference play with the win, improving to 7-0 in the league. Tech gave Miami (14-9, 6-1 ACC) its first loss in conference play, and ended the Hurricanes’ nine-game win-streak.
The Jackets had 14 hits on the night, the most allowed by the Miami pitching staff this season. Junior Matt Skole and sophomore Sam Dove led the team at the plate with three hits apiece. Skole has 12 hits in the last four games, while the three hits for Dove were a career-high.
“It’s always good to win on Friday night, particularly on the road,” head coach Danny Hall said. “We didn’t do a lot of good things tonight, but I am proud of the way we hung in there and battled, and found a way to win.”
Junior Mark Pope (6-0) won his sixth game of the season, scattering three runs (two earned) on eight hits over seven innings. With a 19-2 (.905) career record, Pope now has the best career winning percentage in school history for a pitcher with at least 10 wins.
Pope recorded a season-high nine strikeouts, including three in the seventh inning to end his night. The Marietta, Ga. native’s streak of consecutive innings pitched without allowing an earned run ended at 36 2/3.
“I thought Mark Pope didn’t have his best stuff, but he really battled and competed,” Hall said. “His best inning was his last inning, and then Luke [Bard] came in and did a nice job to keep them off the board.”
The Jackets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning on Friday, getting an RBI double in the second inning from Jake Davies and a solo home run to left field by Jacob Esch off of Miami starter Bryan Radziewski.
The home run by Esch was his first of the season.
After quickly retiring the first two batters in the third, Pope ran into a little trouble by allowing three straight hits to Miami. The Hurricanes would tie the game at 2-2 on a RBI double from Nathan Melendrez and a RBI single to by Harold Martinez.
Tech reclaimed the lead in the in the fourth, behind a fielding error by Martinez, who couldn’t hold on to the fielder’s choice throw by Radziewski to the bag at second that went into the outfield.
Freshman Mott Hyde scored on the play.
The Jackets plated two more runs for a 5-2 lead with two outs in the fifth inning. Davies doubled to the gap in left field to score sophomore Brandon Thomas, before Sam Dove singled to left field to bring home Davies.
Radziewski (3-2) was credited with the loss on the mound, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits over 4.2 innings. He walked three Tech batters and struck out two.
“We had some great at-bats against Radziewski, and knocked him out of the game early by getting his pitch count up,” Hall added. “I thought we really battled up and down the lineup with some great at-bats and got to their bullpen.”
Miami cut the lead to 5-3 on a throwing error by Mott Hyde in the fifth inning, but that was as close as they’d get all night. Tech padded the lead with three more runs in the eighth on RBI hits from Zane Evans and Daniel Palka, and a wild pitch by Miami reliever Javi Salas.
Sophomore Luke Bard allowed just hits over the final two innings in relief of Pope.
The series will continue on Saturday with first pitch at 1 p.m. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports South, Sun Sports and Comcast Mid-Atlantic.