March 11, 2014
THE FLATS – THE FLATS – Finding itself in a 4-0 deficit after the top of the first inning, Georgia Tech used a five-run second to get the lead and held off Western Carolina, 7-5, Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Thomas Smith was 2-for-3 with two RBI to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, while Mott Hyde homered, walked three times and scored three times. Connor Justus and Ryan Peurifoy had two hits each and AJ Murray also homered for the Yellow Jackets, who improved to 9-7.
Tech used seven pitchers in Tuesday’s game, and sophomore Sam Clay was lights out over the final 1.2 innings with a career-high five strikeouts to record his first career save.
Clay entered the game with the bases full of Catamounts in the eighth, only to get consecutive strikeouts of Bradley Strong and Adam Martin. He then fanned the first two hitters of the ninth, and got Danny Bermudez looking to end the game after allowing pair of singles.
“Sam was big at the end of game,” said head coach Danny Hall. “He won the game for us by making some big pitches with guys in scoring position. He’s thrown well for us three times in a row, and I’m very happy for him.”
Redshirt junior Devin Stanton fired 4.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief with five strikeouts and recorded the first win (1-0) since his freshman season.
“He was outstanding,” said Hall. “He put a lot of zeros on the board, threw a lot of strikes and definitely gave us a pick-me-up. I was proud of how we responded after we got down 4-0.”
After spotting the Catamounts (8-6) four runs in the top of the first, the Jackets got one back in the bottom half as Smith’s double down the right-field line scored Hyde, who led off with a walk.
Murray’s solo home run to deep left triggered a five-run, five-hit uprising in the second inning as Tech sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame. When the dust settled, Tech had a 6-4 lead, and Stanton did his best to keep the visitors off the board.
“We had some great at-bats and we’re getting better (with runners in scoring position),” said Hall. “These young guys have got to keep working at it to get better, and they will. We have a really good group that’s dedicated, and working hard and I know they’re going to get better.”
Stanton faced just two batters over the minimum during his career-long 4.1 innings on the hill and struck out the side in the sixth inning. His five strikeouts also marked a career high.
Hyde’s solo shot to left padded the Jackets’ lead to 7-4, and the Catamounts would get no closer than 7-5 after Aaron Attaway drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
WCU starter Bryan Sammons was tagged for six hits and six runs in one inning of work and was hung his first loss (3-1). Strong, Jacob Hoyle and Cody Jones each had two hits.
Tech remains home this weekend for an ACC Coastal Division series versus Miami. Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m.