Feb. 16, 2014
THE FLATS – THE FLATS — Matt Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while A.J. Murray extended his hitting streak to 11 games, but visiting VCU rebounded from two early deficits to beat Georgia Tech 5-3 in the finale of the 2014 Battle In Midtown at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (1-2) held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but saw the Rams (3-0) push across three unearned runs in the third and another in the seventh to remain undefeated on the opening weekend.
Tech came up empty with a pair in scoring position and one out in the sixth, and was again denied after loading the bases with two outs in the eighth. Gonzalez smashed his third double on the weekend down the right-field line in the ninth to score Thomas Smith, who walked, but the hosts got no closer.
“I liked the way we kept getting guys on, but we could not get that hit to capitalize,” said head coach Danny Hall. “We had good at-bats today; we just couldn’t get enough of them together to get the runs in.”
VCU closer Thomas Gill came on for the final out in the eighth after the Jackets loaded the bases, and minimized the damage to just a run in the ninth to nail down his first save. Matt Blanchard tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win (1-0).
Murray’s RBI grounder in the first inning got the Jackets on the board first after Keenan Innis led off the game with a bunt single and moved to third on a single from Gonzalez.
The Rams answered in the second thanks to an RBI single from Nick Octavi, but the Jackets quickly regained control with some small ball in the bottom half. Arden Pabst led off with a walk and moved to second on Grant Wruble’s single. Ryan Peurifoy moved both into scoring position for Connor Justus, whose RBI grounder made it 2-1.
A Tech error opened VCU’s half of the third, but starter Josh Heddinger rebounded for two quick outs before the Rams struck for three consecutive doubles from Bill Cullen, Matt Davis and Logan Farrar to take a lead they would not relinquish.
Heddinger was on the hook for the tough-luck loss (0-1), allowing just one earned run on four hits in five innings. Four Tech relievers each tossed an inning of relief and did not yield an earned run.
“We made some mistakes defensively, and then we made bad pitches behind those mistakes,” said Hall. “We did not play good defense (this weekend) and that has to get better.”
Gonzalez finished the weekend hitting .400 (4-for-10) with three doubles, two RBI and two stolen bases. Murray had a hit in all three games to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 games that dates back to last season’s ACC Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets return to action Wednesday night at Georgia Southern. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and the game can be heard live on WREK 91.1 FM and RamblinWreck.com.