May 9, 2012
ATLANTA – Freshman Josh Heddinger gave Georgia Tech a gem over six innings, and the Yellow Jackets held off a late rally to beat Georgia, 8-6, at Russ Chandler Stadium Wednesday night to take the season series for the third consecutive season.
The victory, in front of 2,382 on the Flats, improved the Yellow Jackets to 30-19 overall and 20-5 in non-conference games this season. Tech has defeated the Bulldogs (28-21) in seven consecutive games at Russ Chandler Stadium, and head coach Danny Hall upped his record to 39-29 in the series, which Georgia leads 198-156-2.
Tech has reached the 30-win plateau in 30 consecutive seasons.
A pair of Heddinger’s classmates keyed the victory offensively, as Thomas Smith had two hits, two RBI and scored twice while Daniel Spingola had two hits, a steal and a run. Daniel Palka and Zane Evans each had two hits and Kyle Wren drove in a pair.
“That’s a great win,” said Hall. “That was a good team effort offensively, we played well on defense, and we got a lot of contributions on the mound. Anytime you win, and win a series over Georgia, it’s a great win.”
Heddinger allowed just four hits and an unearned run in his second-longest career outing, and the freshman improved to 3-4. In three appearances (10 2/3 innings) versus the Bulldogs this season, Heddinger has pitched to a 0.84 ERA.
“Josh was really good,” said Hall. “We got six innings out of him and I was really proud of the way he handled himself. The double-play ball was the pitchers best friend tonight and bailed us out of some situations.”
The Jackets matched their season-high by turning four double plays – all involving Smith at second and Mott Hyde at short. Tech played error-free for the 11th time this season, and is 8-3 in those games.
Wren got things going for the Jackets in the first, swinging at the first pitch he saw from starter Josh Sosebee for a single to right. He moved to second on a balk, to third on a ground out and scored on Jake Davies sacrifice fly. Palka doubled in the next at bat and scored when Evans traded places with him.
Georgia scratched its only run off Heddinger in the second, and Tech was right back to work in the third when Smith dropped down a suicide squeeze that scored Evans from third for a 3-1 lead.
The hosts stretched their lead to 8-1 entering the eighth, scoring three times on two hits in the fifth, and tacking on two more on three hits in the seventh – in what would prove to be much-needed insurance runs.
Hunter Cole made things interesting with a three-run home run in eighth, and the Bulldogs kept the pressure on in the ninth when Kyle Farmer ripped a two-out RBI single and Cole followed with a RBI double. But Alex Cruz recovered to retire Levi Hyams to end it.
Sosebee worked an inning, allowing two runs on three hits and was hung his first loss (2-1). Farmer, Cole and Peter Verdin had multi-hit efforts for the visitors.
Tech returns to action this weekend with a crucial ACC series at Virginia, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game is live on FS-South at 1 p.m.