May 7, 2017
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech got two runs in the third, one in the fifth and another run in the seventh to edge the Pittsburgh Panthers 4-3 on Sunday night in game two of the three-game ACC weekend series at Russ Chandler Stadium. With the win, the Jackets took the series from Pitt.
Sophomore starter Keyton Gibson (2-2) earned the win, as the righty overcame a sluggish start to give up just two runs, one of which was earned, on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts over 5.0 innings.
The Tech bullpen of Bailey Combs (2.1 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER0, 2 BB, 3 K), Micah Carpenter (0.2 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER) and Zac Ryan (1.0 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER, 1 K) helped preserve the lead and the win for the home team. Ryan (4) recorded his fourth save on the season with a perfect ninth.
Offensively, four different Jackets registered an RBI, highlighted by Chase Murray who was 2-for-2 with an RBI, a sacrifice fly and two runs scored. Wade Bailey (1-for-3, RBI, 3B), Trevor Craport (1-for-3, RBI) and Joey Bart (1-for-3, RBI, SB) picked up the other three RBIs in the win.
The Panthers were led by Frank Maldonado who went 3-for-3 with a double at the plate, while Jacob Wright (1-for-3, BB), Manny Pazos (1-for-4, 2B, run) and Nico Popa (1-for-4, run) combined for the other three Pitt hits in the loss.
Gibson and the Jackets got out of trouble in the first inning with a 6-4-3 double play and a ground out to second base to strand two Pitt runners and then again in the third on a pick-off at first base by Gibson and another 6-4-3 double play to send the game to the bottom of the third tied at 0-0.
Tech’s offense took advantage of a Pitt miscue in the bottom half of the third, as Kyle McCann reached base safely on a misjudged pop up by the Panthers’ third baseman to lead-off the inning. After a Murray single and a Bailey sacrifice bunt, Craport hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score McCann and put the home team in front at 1-0.
Bart followed with an RBI single through the right side to plate Murray to double the Jackets’ lead at 2-0 after three complete.
After a 1-2-3 fourth, the Jackets ran into more trouble in the top of the fifth as Pitt led off the inning with a double down the left field line. On the ensuing sacrifice bunt attempt, Gibson fielded the bunt cleanly off the mound but then misfired over to first base to allow the runner to score from second and cut the Tech lead in half at 2-1.
The next Pitt hitter then hit a hard chopper up the middle which hit off the glove of Gibson and redirected toward the left side of the infield where Craport fielded the ball but then rushed his throw to first base to allow the batter to move up to second on the errant throw.
A passed ball then allowed the runner to move up 90 feet to third base, before he would score on a wild pitch two batters later with two outs in the inning to knot the game up at 2-2.
The tie did not last for long though, as the Jackets got one run back in the bottom half of the fifth as Bailey tripled into the right field corner to drive in Murray all the way around from first base on the hit to push the home team back out in front at 3-2 heading into the sixth inning.
Pitt threatened to score in the top of the sixth, as the Panthers drew a lead-off walk and then got a double to left center field to put runners on second and third with no outs. However, a great play by Combs off the mound on a safety squeeze bunt attempt got the first out at home to halt the Panthers’ momentum. Combs then got a strikeout and fly out to Ryan Peurifoy in center field to end the inning and keep the Jackets in front by one.
Tech added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on a Peurifoy ground-rule double, a McCann single and a Murray sacrifice fly to left field to extend its lead back out to two runs at 4-2.
The run proved to be vital, as the Panthers pushed across a run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to cut the Jackets’ lead back to one at 4-3.
However, Carpenter got the third and final out of the eighth inning on a strikeout and then handed the ball over to Ryan in the ninth who sent the Panthers down in order 1-2-3 by way of a line out to left, a strikeout and a ground out to third to preserve the 4-3 ACC home win.
Georgia Tech (23-21, 8-15 ACC) and Pitt (21-23, 8-15 ACC) will return to the field tomorrow night for the final game of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
* When leading after seven complete innings, the Jackets are now 21-3 on the season.
* Kel Johnson had his season-high streak of reaching base safely snapped at 23 straight contests.
* Ryan Peurifoy continued his hitting streak, pushing it out to a career-high 12 straight games.
* Wade Bailey has now reached base safely in 16 straight games.
* Wade Bailey extended his hitting streak to six straight games.
* Zac Ryan recorded his team-high fourth save of the season and 13th career save.