Feb. 26, 2013
STATESBORO, Ga. – Junior catcher Zane Evans launched home runs in consecutive at-bats, as No. 20 Georgia Tech rallied with 10 unanswered runs over the final four innings to defeat Georgia Southern, 11-4, Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game midweek series at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Junior Alex Cruz tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief with six strikeouts to get the victory and freshman lefty Jonathan King struck out five of the seven batters he faced to slam the door on Tech’s seventh win of the season (7-1).
“We got down early, but kept plucking away and Cruz came in and really settled the game for us,” said head coach Danny Hall. “And Evans took the game over with two big home runs and really had some good swings on the ball.”
Evans finished 3-for-5 with five RBI, Daniel Palka had three hits and two RBI, while Sam Dove, Mott Hyde and A.J. Murray each had two hits for Tech, which pounded out 14 as a team, half of them going for extra bases.
The first career two-homer game for Evans, came a year and four days after he hit a three-run bomb versus the Eagles in Statesboro to break an 8-8 tie in the eighth en route to an 11-9 victory last season. The junior from Roswell has homered three times in Tech’s last four games.
“Zane’s got three home runs in his last two games in this park,” said Hall. “He got off to a slow start (this season), but he’s a great hitter and a great competitor and had a great night for us tonight.”
After scoring in the first to take a quick 1-0 lead, Tech was held in check in by GSU starter Justin Hess as the Eagles (4-3) offense went to work. A two-run home run by Chase Griffin in the bottom of the first gave the hosts the lead and Ben Morgan’s RBI singles in the second and fourth made it 4-1.
Hess, the normal Friday starter for the Eagles was impressive through five in the upset bid, holding the visitors to a run on three hits. With Tech jonesing for some offense, the bats came alive in the sixth inning and it was all Yellow Jackets from there.
The first five Jackets reached in the sixth, and all five eventually scored. Dove’s bloop double to right got things started, Brandon Thomas walked and Palka’s double scored Dove. An RBI single from Murray made it 4-3, Palka scored from third on a balk tie it, and Evans hammered a 3-2 offering from Hess off the scoreboard in left to give Tech a 6-4 lead it would not relinquish.
Evans and the Jackets added to the lead in the seventh when Palka and Murray singled and Evans smashed a Chris Myers pitch off the hitters’ eye in center. A Dove RBI triple in the eighth and a Matt Gonzalez RBI double in the ninth capped the Jackets’ fourth double-digit run game of the season.
For Evans, it marked the first time since 2010 that Jacket homered in consecutive at-bats – that was Tony Plagman versus Georgia State on May 18, 2010 at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Cruz was credited with the win (1-0), facing 14 batters in 3.2 scoreless innings with three hits, one walk and a career-high six strikeouts. After Tech took the lead in the sixth, Cruz and King combined to no-hit the Eagles over the final four innings.
Tech and Georgia Southern meet again Wednesday night in Statesboro at 6 p.m.