June 14, 2002
By DOUG ALDEN
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The only way Kyle Bakker’s homecoming could have gone any better would have been if he finished the game.
But the Omaha native said he can live with striking out nine in a combined six-hitter as Georgia Tech beat South Carolina 11-0 in the opening game of the College World Series on Friday.
“It was just a fun game to play in front of people I knew,” the 6-foot-9 sophomore left-hander said. “I had a lot of fun pitching out there. It was just a great game for our whole team.”
Bakker and Brian Burks combined for the first CWS shutout in 1995.
Bakker allowed six hits over eight innings and could have finished the game, but coach Danny Hall didn’t want to risk anything with the Yellow Jackets’ about to go 1-0 in the double-elimination CWS.
“I told him we were planning on being here a while and we’ll want him to pitch at least one more game,” Hall said.
Bakker, who went to high school about 20 minutes west of Rosenblatt Stadium, did get to go out and warm up in the ninth so the scattered crowd gave him a standing ovation as he headed for the first-base dugout.
“It was awesome. I didn’t want to do anything to offend South Carolina, but it was great. They gave him the ovation he deserved for eight shutout innings,” Hall said.
Cal State Fullerton’s Tim Dixon and Mark Chavez combined for the most recent CWS shutout, an 11-0 win over Tennessee in 1995.
Georgia Tech pitcher Kyle Bakker delivers against South Carolina Friday in first inning of the opening game of the College World Series.
Wes Rynders had a bases-loaded double and a solo homer to drive in three runs for the Yellow Jackets (52-14), who have set a school record for wins. Tech’s previous best was a 51-14 finish in 1987.
Georgia Tech finished with 19 hits while improving to 4-1 overall in the College World Series.
Yaron Peters was 2-for-4 for South Carolina (53-17), which had not been shut out since losing to Mississippi State 1-0 in the SEC tournament last season.
“Give Kyle Bakker credit. He made the pitches,” South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. “We just didn’t play good enough and Georgia Tech was outstanding.”
South Carolina won 8-3 when the teams met in a tournament earlier in the season, but that was in February and the Yellow Jackets showed quickly how far they had come since then.
“Give Kyle Bakker credit. He made the pitches. We just didn’t play good enough and Georgia Tech was outstanding.” USC Head Coach Ray Tanner
Tech led 8-0 after five innings and South Carolina had little chance of a comeback the way Bakker was pitching. Kevin Melillo’s double in the seventh was South Carolina’s only extra-base hit of the game.
“Being 6-9 with those long arms it’s kind of like he’s on top of you, but he wasn’t doing anything special,” said Trey Dyson, who was 1-for-4. “He was just throwing a lot of strikes and we couldn’t get anything going.”
The Yellow Jackets led 3-0 in the third and pulled away with a five-run fifth.
South Carolina starter Gary Bell (10-3) was pulled after allowing a leadoff single to Victor Menocal and walking Jeremy Slayden to start the fifth. Matt Murton doubled off of reliever Aaron Rawl to score Menocal, then after a strikeout and intentional walk, Rynders doubled to the gap in right-center to make it 6-0. Brandon Boggs drove in two more with a single.
Rynders hit a fly to right that the wind carried over the wall to put Tech up 9-0 in the seventh.
“I had a lot of help from the wind. I didn’t think I hit it out at all,” Rynders said of his third homer of the season.
The Yellow Jackets added two more runs in the eighth.
Bell allowed nine hits and five earned runs.
South Carolina’s only real threat came in the first after one-out singles by Steve Thomas and Peters. But Bakker got out of it by getting Brian Buscher to pop out and striking out Garris Gonce.
“We still have an opportunity but we’re one game in the hole at this point,” Tanner said.