Tech Downs Western Carolina, 16-7

April 21, 2009

Box Score

ATLANTA – Jason Haniger went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, and Chris House and Cole Leonida added three hits apiece to lead No. 4 Georgia Tech (27-8-1) to a 16-7 win over Western Carolina (22-16) Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The victory was the Jackets’ sixth straight, and the teams will meet again Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C.

The Jackets jumped on Western Carolina early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first on Jason Haniger’s sixth home run of the season before the Catamounts combined aggressive base running and Matt Johns’ two-run homer to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the second inning.

Tech regained the lead in the bottom of the frame with run-scoring hits by Leonida and Derek Dietrich. Leonida’s single scored Thomas Nichols and House, both of whom had reached on base hits, before Dietrich sent his fourth triple of the season to the centerfield wall to plate Jeff Rowland, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, making the score 5-4 in Tech’s favor.

Jake Davies (2-0) earned the win in relief of starter Jed Bradley, getting the final two outs of the fifth inning to strand three runners and prevent a big inning by the Catamounts. Bradley allowed six runs and eight hits in 4-1/3 innings. Jacob Esch tossed the final four innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five, to earn his first career save.

“Esch has thrown well his last two times out, and I was happy to get him some innings tonight,” said head coach Danny Hall. “Down the stretch, he and Taylor Wood can give us some key innings.”

After the Catamounts scored a run without benefit of a hit in the top of the third, House’s three-run home run and a sacrifice fly from Matt Skole put the Jackets ahead, 9-5 in the bottom half of the frame.

Catamount starter Garrett Ozar (2-4) suffered the loss after allowing nine runs on 10 hits, including a pair of homers, in 3-1/3 innings.

Western Carolina tacked on another run with three hits and a walk in the top of the fifth, but Tech put the game out of reach with six in its half of the inning. With the bases loaded, Dietrich was hit by a pitch, and Haniger followed with a two-run single to make the score 12-6. A wild pitch later allowed Dietrich to score, and Skole’s second sacrifice fly of the game pushed across the fifth run of the inning. House capped the Yellow Jacket scoring with a run-scoring single to plate Luke Murton, who had singled and stolen second base.

“House is swinging the bat very well, and playing very well, so I’m happy for him,” said head coach Danny Hall.

Three singles, including an RBI-hit from Dylan de Graaf, gave the Catamounts their final run in the eighth.

Wednesday’s game between Tech and Western Carolina can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) and live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.

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