June 1, 2002
ATLANTA – Chris Goodman and Jeff Watchko combined to scatter seven hits, while Victor Menocal and Tyler Parker belted solo home runs to lead top-seeded Georgia Tech past Georgia, 3-0, Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (48-14) advanced to the championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday against the winner of Saturday night’s elimination game between the Bulldogs (31-28) and Coastal Carolina, which eliminated Louisville earlier in the day.
Goodman (7-1) pitched 6-1/3 innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four. The junior, converted from shortstop in fall practice, earned his second win over Georgia in as many tries this season and has allowed just one run in 13-2/3 innings against the Bulldogs.
Jeff Watchko relieved Goodman with one out in the seventh and finished up, allowing just two hits while fanning two in earning his second save of the season. No Georgia runner made it past second base, and Tech turned two double plays.
“It was a great performance by Goodman and Watchko,” said Tech coach Danny Hall, who earned his 600th career win Saturday. “I’m proud of the way Goody pitched, and Watchko came in and did a great job.”
Tech has pitched back-to-back shutouts for the first time in NCAA regional play since blanking Tennessee Tech and Southwestern Louisiana in the first two rounds of the 1997 Mideast Regional in Starkville, Miss.
“I don’t know if you ever imagine throwing back-to-back shutouts in college baseball,” said Hall. “Those guys [Friday starter Kyle Bakker and Goodman] elevated their performance and had great concentration.”
Menocal homered to right-center field with one out in the third inning, his second of the season, to get Tech on the board. Parker’s 10th home run of the season, came in the sixth inning. The Jackets added a two-out run in the eighth when Jeremy Slayden walked and scored in Matt Murton’s triple down the right field line.
Georgia freshman Mickey Westphal (5-6) turned in a strong effort in the loss, pitching 7-1/3 innings, but he allowed all three Tech runs on six hits. He walked two and fanned eight.
“I thought it was a tremendous effort by Mickey to give us a chance, and that’s all we asked of him,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “I thought we executed defensively and made some good plays, but we did not get the two-out timely hits like we did yesterday. I definitely think the home field advantage worked against us today.”