April 14, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Alex Cruz gave Georgia Tech five strong innings of relief, and the Yellow Jackets battled back from an early 4-0 deficit to beat Wake Forest, 8-7, Saturday at Gene Hooks Field in Winston-Salem, N.C. to even the ACC series. The win was head coach Danny Hall’s 800th at Tech.
Thomas Smith and Mott Hyde each had two hits, Paul Kronenfeld homered and Zane Evans nailed down his third save as the Jackets improved to 21-15 overall and 7-10 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons slipped to 21-15, 6-11.
The four-run deficit was Tech’s largest overcome this season.
The rubber game of the series is set for 1 p.m. Sunday and the game can be seen live on the ACC Digital Network.
Cruz pitched a career-long five one-hit innings, allowing just an unearned run with three strikeouts in picking up his second ACC win and improving to 3-1 overall. Evans worked the final two innings, and pitched around a ninth-inning jam, to record his third save.
“He (Cruz) came in again and settled the game for us and gave us a chance to get ahead,” said Hall, who is now 800-363-1 in 19 years as Tech’s head coach. “I know he got tired late, but he was able to maintain it and get some outs.”
The Demon Deacons answered with a run in the bottom of the third, but Tech went back to work in the fourth as the Jackets scored four times to seize their first lead of the series. Hyde’s RBI single pulled Tech within 5-4, and three more runs came home on a bases-loaded walks to both Sam Dove and Thomas, and a fielder’s choice from Davies.
Kronenfeld’s solo homer to left – his third bomb of the season – increased Tech’s margin to 8-5 in the fifth. It was the first home run for Tech since March 28 vs. Georgia Southern — a nine-game homer-less streak that was the team’s longest since at least 2002.
“It seemed like we were able to get hits when we needed today,” said Hall. “We got ourselves back in the game and were able to hold the lead in the end.”
But Wake wasn’t done. The hosts capitalized on a two-out error in the seventh to plate their sixth run and Brett Armour’s two-out solo shot to left made it 8-7 in the eighth. Wake threatened again in the ninth when Conor Keniry singled with one out and Mac Williamson was hit by a pitch. But Evans worked a fly out from Carlos Lopez and stranded the winning run at second when he got Charlie Morgan swinging for the final out.
Thomas finished the game 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, extending his reached-base streak to 37 games. Davies’ single in third extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Wake starter Justin Van Grouw was touched up for six hits and six runs in 3.1 innings was hung the loss.