May 23, 2002
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Georgia Tech jumped on Duke starter Zach Schreiber for four first-inning runs, including a three-run homer from Matt Murton, and freshman Kyle Schmidt made it stand up as the fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets downed Duke, 6-1, Thursday in the loser’s bracket of the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Tournament at Florida Power Park.
The Yellow Jackets (45-13), ranked seventh in the nation this week, advance in the ACC Tournament where they will face the loser of Thursday’s Wake Forest-North Carolina game on Friday at 3:30 p.m. The Blue Devils (24-34) are eliminated from the double elimination event.
“Kyle Schmidt pitched great,” said Tech head coach Danny Hall. “He didn’t give them a chance to get anything going, and I think that we played well defensively behind him. We were able to score those runs early and that took the pressure the pressure off him.
“We knew that if we didn’t win today then we were going home,” Hall continued. “Now I think we’re right back in the mix of it in the tournament.”
Murton, whose home run was the first for Georgia Tech in five ACC Tournament games played in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ spring training facility, came after Eric Patterson had led off the game with a walk and Jeremy Slayden had reached first on a dropped pop fly by Duke first baseman Larry Broadway. It was Murton’s 10th of the season. The Jackets added the fourth run when Tyler Parker singled, stole second and scored in Matthew Boggs’ double.
Patterson drove in a fourth-inning run for Tech with a sacrifice fly, scoring Wes Rynders, and Rynders drove in another in the fifth with a single, scoring Murton.
Schmidt, from nearby Palm Harbor, improved his record to 5-2 by scattering six hits and a walk with nine strikeouts in eight innings. The victory was his second in two starts against the Blue Devils this season. In his first attempt on Apr. 7, he allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings and earned the win, but was far more effective this time pitching in his hometown. Schmidt became the fifth Tech freshman to win his first ACC Tournament start, and the first since Philip Perry defeated Florida State in 2000 in Fort Mill, S.C.
Duke, which advanced a run as far as third base just twice against Schmidt, scratched for an unearned run in the ninth against Philip Perry on Grant Stanley’s sacrifice fly after Perry threw away a potential game-ending double play.
Schreiber (2-4) lasted just 4-2/3 innings, giving up six runs, four of them earned, on six hits and three walks.
Boggs, whose double extended his current hitting streak to 14 games, left the game in the fifth after taking a fastball on the backside, which struck a nerve in his spine. He is not expected to miss Friday’s game. Patterson stole his 34th base in the first inning ahead of Murton’s homer, which are the most for a Tech player since Anthony Byrd swiped 35 in 1991. Tech stole four bases in the game, giving the Jackets 117 for the season, their most since the 1988 season.
Tech’s third-round game of the ACC Tournament will be carried live on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta) and on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com, while live scoring and boxscores for all games of the tournament is available at www.theacc.com.