May 13, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Sophomore Zane Evans smashed a two-out home run for Georgia Tech in the top of the 10th inning, then pitched the bottom half to close out the Yellow Jackets’ 5-4 come-from- behind win at No. 22 Virginia Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.
The victory, Tech’s third in four extra-inning games this season, improved the Jackets to 31-21 overall and 11-16 in Atlantic Coast Conference action to remain in the ACC Tournament hunt. Virginia slipped to 34-15-1, 16-11.
Evans, who also homered in Saturday’s game, recorded his fourth save of the season after entering the game in the 10th inning with one out and runners at first and second. He got Derek Fisher swinging and worked a fly out to right field from Jared King for the final out.
Tech rallied late, scoring twice in the ninth to force extra innings and avoid the sweep. Evans got the ninth started with a lead-off single and Mott Hyde followed in the next at bat with a single of his own off closer Justin Thompson.
Thomas Smith laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to move both into scoring position, and Daniel Spingola ripped a Thompson offering up the middle to score Evans. With two outs, Kyle Wren’s chopper to Chris Taylor at short was knocked down, but Wren legged out the infield single and Hyde sprinted home for the tying run.
The two runs by Tech in the ninth were the first allowed by Virginia’s bullpen in the series and snapped a streak of 38 2/3 innings without an earned run allowed by Cavalier relievers in ACC play. Thompson, who earned saves in each of the first two games in the series, was touched up for five hits and three runs in two innings and absorbed the loss (4-2).
Sophomore Alex Cruz allowed just three hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings of relief and recorded his seventh win this season (7-2). Cruz has been credited with seven of the Yellow Jackets’ last 14 wins.
For the third time in the series, Virginia manufactured a run in the first inning as Chris Taylor led off with a single, swiped second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Stephen Bruno’s single to left.
The Jackets got that run back in the third with Connor Lynch scoring from third on Sam Dove’s RBI ground out to short. Lynch reached on a walk, and moved to third when Wren pounded a double to the gap in right.
But the hosts regained their lead in the third with Derek Fisher’s RBI double, and added to the advantage in the fourth with Keith Werman’s squeeze bunt to score Brandon Downes from third.
Georgia Tech shaved a run off the deficit in the seventh when Mott Hyde got things started by smoking a double down the left-field line, and scoring on an RBI single from Smith. Virginia answered right back in the bottom half with a sacrifice fly from Branden Cogswell.
Wren, Evans and Hyde each had two of Tech’s 10 hits.
Tech returns to action Tuesday night at Mercer for the final non-conference game of the season. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. The Jackets host Miami in the final ACC series, which begins Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.