April 22, 2007
ATLANTA–Danny Payne’s three-run double highlighted a four-run second inning, Luke Murton homered and the Georgia Tech bullpen turned in another strong performance as the Yellow Jackets defeated 20th-ranked NC State, 7-3, Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium, completing a sweep of the three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series.
Tech won its fourth straight game and 13th in the last 16 to improve to 26-14 overall, 13-7 in the ACC. NC State fell to 27-14, 11-10 in the ACC.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m happy that we’re playing better and playing with confidence,” said Tech head coach Danny Hall.
After one-run victories in the first two games of the series, the Jackets jumped in front early in this one, and then the Tech bullpen, which did not allow a run in the three-game series, finished the game with 5-2/3 scoreless innings. Going back to Wednesday’s win over Georgia, Tech relievers have thrown 13 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Jackets loaded the bases in the second inning as Murton led off with an infield single, Tony Plagman was hit by a pitch and Chris House legged out a bunt single. Brad Feltes walked to bring in one run, and then Payne’s blast off the centerfield wall cleared the bases. Payne, however, was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.
“Getting the sweep was big,” said Payne, “and hopefully this gives us momentum to finish the season strong.
“We’re young and everyone was still learning their roles [earlier in the season]. I think now everyone is settled and understands what is asked of them.”
Tech stretched its lead to 6-0 on Murton’s two-run homer in the third inning, his seventh of the season, and then added another run in the fourth on consecutive singles by Fisher, Wieters and Crancer.
NC State got on the board in the fourth inning with back-to-back solo home runs by shortstop Ramon Corona, his third of the season, and first baseman Ryan Howard, also his third. After Dallas Poulk doubled, Matt Payne’s RBI single pulled the Pack within 6-3. That chased starter Ryan Turner, and freshman reliever Andrew Robinson got pinch hitter Mike Roskopf to ground into a double play to end the inning.
The Wolfpack also loaded the bases in the fifth on a pair of errors and a walk, but Chris Hicks relieved Robinson and struck out Poulk to preserve Tech’s four-run lead. Hicks (2-0) earned the victory with 2-1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three. Jared Hyatt then blanked the Wolfpack over the final two innings.
Turner went 3-1/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with one strikeout and no walks. NC State starter Jimmy Gillheeny (3-2) took the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits in just 2-1/3 innings.
Fisher extended his hitting streak to 18 games, while House has hit safely in his last 11 contests.
Tech takes on Georgia Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Turner Field in the annual Spring College Classic. Tickets are available at www.choa.org , and proceeds benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The game will be televised live on SportSouth, with radio coverage on WREK-FM 91.1 and livestats available at www.ramblinwreck.com.