May 20, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Daniel Spingola was 3-for-4 with a double, triple a run and two RBI and Sam Clay fired three innings of scoreless relief to get the win as Georgia Tech beat Wake Forest, 5-3, in the opening round of the 2014 ACC Baseball Championship Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C.
The victory propels the ninth-seeded Yellow Jackets into pool play as Tech will square off against top-seeded Miami on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at NewBridge Bank Park. The Jackets have won five consecutive postseason games in Greensboro after going 4-0 en route to the 2012 title.
“Like most of the games in the ACC this year that was a close one, hotly contested,” said head coach Danny Hall. “We had the one big inning, and all with two outs. So for us, happy to win, and be in the tournament.”
Mitch Earnest was 2-for-3 with a double, while Mott Hyde and Ryan Peurifoy also had two hits for Tech (33-24), which pounded 13 hits en route to Tuesday’s opening-round win over the Demon Deacons (30-26).
The Jackets struck for all five of their runs with two outs in the fifth inning and hung on for the victory. Peurifoy’s infield single got things started with two outs in the second and a Brandon Gold single followed to put runners at the corners before Earnest pounded a double down the left-field line to make it 1-0.
Spingola and Hyde clubbed back-to-back triples – Spingola’s off the wall in right and Hyde’s to left – for a 4-0 lead and Matt Gonzalez capped the second-inning scoring by legging out an RBI infield single.
Wake chipped away, getting a run back in the third on Matt Conway’s RBI single and cutting further into the lead in the fifth when pinch-hitter Grant Shambley ripped a two-run single up the middle.
But the lefty Clay tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Matthew Grimes to keep the Demon Deacons at arm’s length and register the win (4-1). Senior Dusty Isaacs worked the final four outs in order with two strikeouts to lock up his sixth save.
Tech, which has led the NCAA in double plays for most of the season, turned two key late-game twin-killings in Tuesday’s win and got a pair of highlight-reel grabs by Gonzalez in left in the ninth to keep the lead safe.
The Jackets rolled up a 5-4-3 double play in the seventh and, an inning later, turned in a 4-6-3 double play in which second baseman Hyde back-flipped the ball to Connor Justus who completed the play. Gonzalez made a diving grab for the second out in the ninth and game-ending catch on run in the deep corner for the final out.
“We have played great defense all year and in particular we have turned a bunch of double plays,” said Hall. “We’re No. 1 in the country and it’s been huge for us. Probably the difference in the game honestly, is that we made some plays.”
With two more double plays turned, the Jackets moved back into the NCAA lead with 66 this season – five shy of tying Tech’s single-season record of 71 in 1985.
Spingola, a second-team All-ACC pick and the league’s leader in hits (76) and triples (eight), followed his second-inning triple with a single in the fourth, a double to deep right-center in the sixth and walked in the eighth. The junior finished a home run shy of the cycle.
“Today I was definitely seeing the ball well,” said Spingola. “I know that first at-bat helped in a way because I struck out but I saw a lot of pitches so I knew what (Jack Fischer) had and I faced him two more times…I knew he was going to throw off-speed pitches and he had a couple of change-ups and I stayed on him.”
Hyde singled in the first and doubled and scored in the second to extend his reached-base streak to an ACC-best 35 games.
Wednesday’s game versus Miami can be seen on the ACC’s regional sports networks, including Fox Sports South, and on ESPN3.