March 22, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Redshirt junior Matthew Grimes pitched a gem as Georgia Tech finished off a doubleheader sweep of No. 13 North Carolina with a 9-1 rout Saturday night at Boshamer Stadium. The Yellow Jackets has won the series from UNC in five consecutive seasons.
Grimes limited the Tar Heels (15-8, 5-4) to just one first-inning run over his seven strong innings on the mound and the Jackets (15-9, 5-4) blew the game open with six runs over the middle innings en route to the series win.
“He pitched outstanding and gave us a big lift,” said head coach Danny Hall of Grimes. “They got a run on him in the first, but he really settled in and threw the ball well. He had a good fastball, had a pretty good breaking ball and had good command of his breaking ball and we made some pretty good plays behind him. The double plays were a big factor in the game.”
For the second weekend in a row, Tech swept both games of a Saturday doubleheader after dropping the Friday opener. Last weekend in Atlanta, Tech won the series from No. 22 Miami by taking both end of Saturday’s twinbill. It marks the first time since 2006 that the Ramblin’ Wreck has won back-to-back series over ranked opponents.
With Grimes in command, Tech unleashed its offense on Carolina, scoring four times in the fourth and twice more in the fifth to turn a 1-0 deficit after the first inning into a 6-1 lead going to the seventh.
Hyde, whose two-run single up the middle highlighted the Jackets’ four-run fourth inning, walked in the sixth and ripped an RBI single to left in the eighth as the Jackets tacked on late insurance. After walking three times and scoring three times in the first game of Saturday’s double-dip, Hyde was 2-for-4 in the nightcap with three RBI.
Grimes allowed a run on two hits in the first inning, but he and the defense kept the Tar Heels at bay after that. Tech rolled up three key double plays in the game, and left fielder Gonzalez recorded his fifth outfield assist this season – third of the weekend – to cut down a runner at third base in the sixth.
Hyde was the pivot-man on a 6-4-3 double play that ended the fourth inning. In the sixth with UNC looking to rally after Michael Russell’s lead-off double, Gonzalez gunned down Russell at third on a bloop single to left. The next pitch from Grimes was an inning-ending twin-killing turned by Connor Justus and Hyde.
A 6-4-3 double play snuffed out a potential UNC rally in the seventh, and the Jackets’ fourth double play of the game was a 6-3 twin killing that erased a leadoff walk in the ninth.
Justus, who recorded the go-ahead RBI single in the 13th inning of Saturday first game, ripped a double and scored in the ninth inning of the nightcap to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
“He’s (Justus) played really well,” said Hall. “When we made the move to put Mott (Hyde) at second and CJ at shortstop, it’s kind of solidified our infield.”
Grimes matched his career-long of seven innings, scattering eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts to pick up his third win (3-0). Freshman Zac Ryan pitched two hitless innings with a walk to close out the victory.
“I haven’t thrown seven innings in a couple years,” said Grimes. “The defense played really well behind me and the bats came alive. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend all around. I’ll give them credit too, they hit pitches I left up.”
UNC starter Zac Gallen was hung the loss (2-2), allowing eight hits and six runs in 4.1 innings. Landon Lassiter and Tom Zengel each had two of UNC’s eight hits.
Tech returns to action Tuesday night hosting Mercer at Russ Chandler Stadium on $2 Tuesdays. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Tickets, hot dogs, sodas and popcorn are all just two bucks. For tickets and information, visit RamblinWreck.com.