May 21, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brandon Gold broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run single in the eighth and Josh Heddinger tossed seven strong innings as Georgia Tech rallied to beat top-seeded Miami, 6-3, Wednesday in ACC Baseball Championship pool play in Greensboro.
The Yellow Jackets, who have knocked off their pool’s top seed in each of the last three tournaments, improved to 34-24 with their fourth straight win. Miami, the ACC’s regular-season champion and ranked sixth in top 25, slipped to 40-16 with its third loss in four games against Tech this year.
The game’s final five runs were scored by Tech to improve to 1-0 in Pool A. Clemson beat Duke earlier Wednesday and is also 1-0 in the pool. The Jackets battle the Blue Devils Thursday at 3 p.m., with the Tigers and Hurricanes to follow at 7 p.m.
Ryan Peurifoy was a career-best 4-for-4 and scored three times, while Matt Gonzalez had three of Tech’s 14 hits. Connor Justus and Arden Pabst each chipped in two hits, and Pabst added two RBI. Peurifoy has hit safely in eight straight games and is batting .750 (6-for-8) in the tournament.
“I thought it was an outstanding college baseball game,” said head coach Danny Hall, who is now 41-36 in ACC tournament play. “I said it yesterday it seems like every game in this league is very hotly contested and usually comes down to somebody getting a two-out hit like Brandon Gold did today. It’s a great start for us. We’re happy to win, and we’re going to play a good Duke team tomorrow.”
Tech, which did all of its damage in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Wake Forest with two outs, continued that against the Canes as its decisive rally in the eighth came with two down. After reliever Cooper Hammond set two down quickly, Justus’ beat out an infield single, Peurifoy laced a double to right and Gold brought them both home by rapping a single to right.
Mott Hyde doubled in the ninth and Gonzalez quickly scored him when he punched a single to right for insurance. Reliever Dusty Isaacs yielded two singles in the eighth before rolling a 5-4-3 double play then slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save in as many days.
Heddinger allowed seven hits and three runs over his seven innings on the mound and earned his fourth win (4-4). The junior righty fanned five in his second win this season over a top-10 team after beating Florida State in April.
“I tried to go out there and throw strikes and give our team a chance to win,” said Heddinger. “They’re a very good hitting team as they showed all year. We played them early in the year, and they were really good. I had to make quality pitches down in the zone. I knew if we did that, we’d have a chance to win today.”
Dale Carey broke the ice in the third by launching a one-out solo home run to left and Pabst tied it in fifth with his RBI single up the middle.
The Canes regained the lead with back-to-back two-out RB singles from Tyler Palmer and Zach Collins, but Pabst came through again for the Jackets in the seventh. He ripped a double down the left-field line to plate Peurifoy and the game was tied in the next at bat when Hyde’s sac fly drove in Gold.
After turning a pair of double plays and playing error-free in Tuesday’s win over Wake, Tech rolled two more and was airtight defensively again Wednesday. With 68 double plays turned this year, the Jackets continue to lead the NCAA and are four shy of tying the school’s single-season record set in 1985.
Hammond was tagged his first loss (5-1) for Miami. Starter Andrew Suarez yielded nine hits and three over 6.1 innings but didn’t factor in the decision. Carey paced the Canes with three hits.