April 20, 2007
ATLANTA– Wally Crancer’s walk-off double plated two runs to lift Georgia Tech to a 2-1 victory over 20th-ranked NC State, backing the outstanding performance by Yellow Jacket starting pitcher David Duncan in the opener of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series Friday at Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium.
Tech improved to 24-14, 11-7 ACC, while the Wolfpack fell to 27-12, 11-8 ACC.
Duncan, who did not figure in the decision, struck out a career-high 11 while allowing one run on two hits and walking none in 8-2/3 innings.
NC State starter Eric Surkamp was also outstanding as he blanked the Jackets until Crancer’s heroics. The sophomore lefty (3-2) allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked just one in a career-long outing.
With Tech trailing 1-0, Danny Payne led off the ninth inning with an infield single on a chopper to third base. After he advanced to second on Michael Fisher’s sacrifice bunt, the Wolfpack intentionally walked Matt Wieters. Crancer stepped in and drove the first pitch from Surkamp deep to left center field, and both runners scored.
“It gets you going when they walk the guy in front of you,” said Crancer. “Duncan pitched great and we knew we were in it. We just needed a big hit, and I’m glad I got it. I was looking for a pitch out over the plate that I could drive, and he left it up a little bit.
“Both pitchers were really good tonight.”
The Wolfpack’s lone run came on a solo home run by left fielder Jeremy Synan, his second of the season, in the fourth inning on a high fly ball just cleared the left field wall.
Other than Synan’s homer, Duncan allowed just two NC State baserunners. Ramon Corona led off the Wolfpack eighth inning with single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then moved to third on a groundout before Dallas Paulk lined out to end the inning. Duncan then got two outs in the ninth inning before Synan reached on an error.
Brad Rulon relieved Duncan and recorded the third out for his ninth consecutive scoreless appearance. He earned the victory to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Until the ninth inning, the Jackets’ best scoring chance came in the fourth inning. After Fisher singled with one out, Wieters line drive back up the middle nailed Surkamp’s foot, allowing Wieters to reach on a single. Fisher advanced to third on Wally Crancer’s long fly ball to center field, but Surkamp got Luke Murton to pop up to end the inning.
Surkamp then retired the next six batters batters before Wieters led off the seventh inning with a double but was stranded.
Fisher extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
The three-game series continues Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Saturday’s game can be heard on WREK-FM 91.1, with live stats available at www.ramblinwreck.com.