March 8, 2014
THE FLATS – Connor Justus had three hits and scored twice and Matt Gonzalez and Elliott Barzilli each drove in a pair of runs, but Wake Forest pulled out a see-saw battle with Georgia Tech, 12-8, Saturday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (7-7, 0-2) pushed three runs across in the sixth to claim a 6-5 lead, then tied the game at 7-7 in the seventh before the Demon Deacons (11-4, 2-0) pulled away for good in the eighth to claim the ACC-opening series.
Barzilli hammered his two-RBI single over the head of Wake left fielder Jonathan Pryor with two outs in the sixth as Tech rallied from two runs down to take a 6-5 lead. A pair of sacrifice fly balls from Pryor and Evan Stephens in the seventh put the Deacs back in front, but Tech had an answer again in the bottom half.
“Every time we took the lead, we came right out and let them tie the game or take the lead,” said head coach Danny Hall. “It’s a disappointing loss because we had some chances and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
Wake sent 10 batters to the plate in the eighth inning and its five-run, seven-hit rally would be the difference. Matt Conway’s RBI double down the left-field line put the visitors in front for good.
Reliever Aaron Fossas worked the final 2.2 innings for Wake Forest and earned his fourth win (4-1), while Alex Cruz absorbed the loss (0-1). Conway and Ben Brazeale each had three hits for Wake.
Gonzalez’s team-leading seventh double of the season that scored Justus and Spingola gave the Jackets a 3-1 lead in the second inning. But Wake answered with four runs in third to knock Tech starter Cole Pitts from the game.
Justus was 3-for-4, reached base four times thanks to three singles and a hit-by-pitch and scored twice. Thomas Smith, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games, was hit by a pitch and scored in the first inning.
“Connor had a nice day, but we to get more guys clicking right now,” said Hall. “I’m hoping Grimes can help us turn things in the right direction tomorrow.”
The Jackets will send redshirt junior Matthew Grimes to mound when the series concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday.