April 9, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. – Junior Zane Evans had two hits, drove in three runs and pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to lead No. 19 Georgia Tech to a 7-5 win over Georgia Tuesday night at Foley Field in Athens, Ga. The Yellow Jackets have won three straight in the series and nine of the last 12 against their rival.
Brandon Thomas returned to Jackets’ lineup after a nine-game absence (mononucleosis), and had two hits, a double, a run and two RBI. Sam Dove had two hits and scored twice. Of Tech’s 10 hits, five were two-baggers.
Tech improved to 24-9 overall and is now 40-29 versus Georgia under head coach Danny Hall. Georgia slipped to 12-22.
“That was a nice win and a good bounce-back game for us,” said Hall. “We weren’t happy with the way we played this weekend and I liked where this game fell on the schedule because I knew it would get our guys focused and get their attention.”
Tech took a 6-5 lead to the ninth and tacked on an insurance run from Matt Gonzalez, who smashed an RBI double down the left field line to score Daniel Palka. It was Evans’ game from there. He retired the Bulldogs in order in the ninth and got a pair of swinging strikeouts to slam the door on his third save.
It was an all-around compete game from the Jackets, who turned a season-high three double plays, played error-free defensively, got timely hitting with runners in scoring position and received effectively late-game relief.
“It’s great to have Brandon back in the lineup,” said Hall. “He makes such a big difference to the guys around him. It was a just a good ballgame for us. Mott had a great play on that ball to turn a double play to get us out of a jam and we pitched it well late in the game.”
After finding themselves down 1-0 after one inning and 4-2 after the fourth, the Yellow Jackets finally strung some hits together and scored three times on four hits to seize control of the back-and-fourth game.
Kyle Wren’s bunt single got things going, followed consecutively by a double down the left-field line from Dove and a two-run, game-tying double from Thomas that found the gap in left field. The Jackets regained the lead for good when Evans hammered a single through the right side for a 5-4 lead.
Tech went right back to work in the fifth, loading the bases after A.J. Murray led off the frame by hammering a double off the base of the wall in center. Hyde walked, Wren reached on an error and Dove drew a bases-loaded free pass to make it 6-4
The Jackets turned a 6-3 double play to end the first inning, rolled a 6-4-3 twin killing in the second, but the big one was a highlight-reel double play that came in the sixth with Tech holding a two-run lead. Georgia had runners at the corners with one out, when a hot shot up the middle from J.T. Phillips was scooped up by Hyde on the run; his back-hand flip was in time to Gonzalez at second and the relay to first retired the side.
Georgia threatened again in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs, but reliever Alex Cruz limited the damage to just a run thanks to a strikeout of Hunter Cole, a sac fly Kyle Farmer and a caught stealing as he cut down Curt Powell for the final out.
Josh Heddinger tossed 1.2 innings in relief of Jonathan King and was credited with the win (2-0). Georgia tagged King for seven hits and three runs in 3.1 innings, but Heddinger, Sam Clay, Cruz and Evans limited the Bulldogs four hits and two runs over the final 5.2 innings.
Powell singled off King in the first and eventually scored when Jared Walsh drove him in with an RBI single. Tech answered with a two-spot in the third, thanks to a single from Dove, a walk to Palka and a two-run double from Evans that found the left-field corner at Foley Field.
Hunter Cole’s RBI double in the third inning tied the game again, and a two-run home run from Zack Bowers, his fifth blast of the season, allowed the Bulldogs to regain a 4-2 advantage.
Jess Posey and Bowers each had two hits for Georgia. Reliever Ross Ripple, one of seven pitchers used by the Bulldogs, was hung the loss (1-1) after allowing three hits and three runs in 1.2 innings.
The Yellow Jackets are back in action this weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium with a critical ACC series versus Virginia. Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN3. Saturday’s 1 p.m. contest will be aired on the Regional Sports Networks and ESPN3, while Sunday’s finale at 1 p.m. is on CSS and ESPN3.