May 6, 2012
ATLANTA – Daniel Palka ripped his second walk-off hit in as many weekends at Russ Chandler Stadium, as his RBI single in the 11th inning lifted Georgia Tech to a 6-5 win over Charlotte on Sunday night in Atlanta. Palka finished the series 5-for-9 with four doubles and six RBI in the Yellow Jackets’ three-game sweep.
Tech, which has won eight of its last 11 games, swept a series for the first time since early March (Rutgers) and improved to 29-19 overall and 2-1 in extra-inning affairs. The 49ers slipped to 20-25.
After launching a walk-off bomb to beat Clemson last Friday night, 6-5, in the 13th inning at Russ Chandler Stadium, Palka’s decisive blow Sunday was a bullet base hit to right that scored Sam Dove from third with two outs.
It was the third career walk-off hit for the sophomore from Lyman, S.C.
After opening an early 2-0 lead, the Yellow Jackets broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with an RBI single from Jake Davies, who finished 2-for-5 and drove in the first three runs. A pinch-hit RBI single from Chase Butler in the eighth allowed the hosts to take a two-run lead to the ninth.
But the 49ers strung together three consecutive singles from Ross Steedley, Derek Gallello and Justin Roland to pull within one, and later with the bases loaded, got a sacrifice fly from Shane Basen for the equalizer.
A see-saw extra-inning affair commenced with Charlotte claiming its first lead of the game in the 10th as Corbin Shive walked, moved to third on a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Gallello. Tech answered in the bottom half with three-consecutive walks to load the bases and a sac fly from Thomas Smith to tie the game for the third time.
Freshman Josh Heddinger tossed a scoreless 11th, stranding the go-ahead runner at third base, and Tech went to work in the home half with Dove’s one-out single. Dove swiped second – the Jackets’ season-high sixth stolen base of the game – moved to third on a wild pitch and scored his fourth game-winning run this season on Palka’s third game-winning RBI.
Four of Tech’s last six game-winning runs have come in the eighth inning or later.
Heddinger was credited with the win (2-4) and Tyler Pilkington was hung the loss (0-4). Tech starter Cole Pitts gave a strong effort, pitching six innings, scattering seven singles and turning the 2-1 lead over to the bullpen in the seventh.
Georgia Tech remains home Wednesday night to host Georgia in the rubber-game of the rivals’ three-game season series. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and the game is live on CSS. For tickets, call 1-888-TECH-TIX or visit RamblinWreck.com/tickets.