May 6, 2014
THE FLATS – Mitch Earnest homered, doubled and drove in four runs, Ryan Peurifoy had three hits and A.J. Murray had three RBI as Georgia Tech built a 9-2 lead and hung on for a 9-6 victory over North Florida Tuesday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Earnest launched a two-run home run in the fourth and added a two-run double in the sixth for the Yellow Jackets, who improved to 29-20 overall with their third win in four games. Tech is 13-1 this season when hitting a home run. The Ospreys slipped to 20-25.
A.J. Murray finished 2-for-3 and accounted for Tech’s first three runs thanks to a two-run single that he scorched off the shortstop’s glove in the first inning and an RBI double that he tomahawked off the left-field wall in the third. Connor Justus roped an RBI single to drive in Murray, and the Jackets’ lead was 4-1 in the third.
Earnest’s second blast of the season answered UNF’s run in the fourth and his two-run double to the left-field gap, followed two batters later by a Mott Hyde RBI single to left, made it 9-2 in the sixth.
The Ospreys would not go quietly, getting three runs back in the seventh thanks to an RBI single from Drew Weeks and a two-run double from Trent Higginbothem. In the eighth, UNF loaded the bases with no outs before senior Dusty Isaacs emerged from the bullpen.
“They (UNF) battled back,” said head coach Danny Hall. “They can swing the bat and we ended up putting Dusty in and he got two big double-play balls in the eighth and the ninth.”
Isaacs yielded a run-scoring single to Garrick Ferguson, but limited the damage to just that as Kyle Brooks lined into a double play and Alex Merritt’s fielder’s choice ended the threat.
Weeks led off the ninth with a single — his fourth hit of the game — but Isaacs fanned Higgenbothem and rolled up a 4-6-3 double play to lock up his fifth save.
Weeks, who entered the game as the NCAA leader with a .451 average, was 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
The Yellow Jackets rolled up two more double plays and lead the NCAA with 61. The school record for double plays in a season is 71 (1985).
Peurifoy’s 3-for-4 effort matched the rookie’s career-high for hits, while Earnest matched his career-high of four RBI.
“Peurifoy and Earnest both had big games,” said Hall. “I’m proud of those guys and we certainly needed the lift they brought us today.”
Hyde drew a first-inning walk, singled in the sixth and has reached base safely in 27 consecutive games — the longest current streak in the ACC. Daniel Spingola had singles in his first two at bats to extend his six-game hitting streak.
The Jackets return to action this weekend with their final ACC series of the season at No. 1 Virginia. Friday’s opener is set for 6 p.m. at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.