April 4, 2014
THE FLATS – Rallying from a 4-0 deficit in the third inning, Georgia Tech scored the game’s final seven runs and beat Duke, 7-4, Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium in the opener of a three-game series in Atlanta.
Daniel Spingola, whose leadoff home run in the sixth kick-started Tech’s five-run inning, finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI, two runs and made a diving catch in center. Thomas Smith and A.J. Murray also had two hits for the Yellow Jackets, who improved to 17-13 overall and 6-7 in the ACC. The Blue Devils slipped to 17-14, 7-6.
“We got down early, they hit some balls awfully hard but we just kept chipping away,” said head coach Danny Hall. “We had the big inning that gave us the lead and that’s definitely a nice comeback win on a Friday.”
Tech has trailed at some point in 13 of its 17 wins this season.
Matthew Gorst fired two innings of scoreless relief to earn his first career win (1-0) and Jonathan Roberts followed with two scoreless frames to hold the lead. Sam Clay retired the side in order in the ninth to nail down his second save.
Duke did its only damage during a four-run, three-hit third inning that was highlighted by Andy Perez’s two-run single.
Smith’s RBI single in the fourth inning drove in Spingola, who was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a passed ball. Smith eventually reached third and it was a 4-2 game when he scored on Connor Justus’ RBI ground out.
After Gorst dodged a bases-loaded threat by Duke in the fifth, Tech went to work again in the sixth with a five-run, seven-hit uprising that included five infield singles as the Jackets sent 11 batters to the plate.
Spingola’s leadoff homer – his second of the year – made it 4-3 and Ryan Peurifoy’s pinch-hit RBI single up the middle knotted the game at 4-4. Arden Pabst drew a bases-loaded walk that put Tech in the lead for good and insurance would be tacked on in the form of back-to-back RBI singles from Mott Hyde and Spingola.
“That was a huge hit (for Peurifoy),” said Hall. “I’m very proud of him because that was a big moment in the game that kind of turned things around for us.”
Tech played error-free for the fourth consecutive game and made two highlight-reel catches in the outfield as Spingola’s diving grab robbed Aaron Cohn of extra bases in the right-field gap in the second inning. Matt Gonzalez scaled the wall in left to rob a two-run home run from Ryan Deitrich in the third that would have made it 6-0.
Duke starter Drew Van Orden was dealt the loss, allowing five runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. Nick Hendrix was tagged for four hits and two runs but did not record an out in relief of Van Orden in the sixth.
Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN3.