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Jackets Win 8-6 Thriller over No. 9 Duke

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech baseball scored four in the bottom of the seventh and got lockdown closing pitching to take down No. 9 Duke, 8-6, on Sunday afternoon at Mac Nease Baseball Park at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets (30-19, 14-13 ACC) got a sensational start from freshman RHP Tate McKee, who went a career-long 6.1 inning and allowed just three runs on four hits (two of those runs scoring in the seventh inning), while tying his career high with nine strikeouts.

Through five innings, Tech owned a 2-1 lead thanks to RBI singles from Bobby Zmarzlak and Drew Burress. Then in the sixth, Payton Green and Cam Jones hit back-to-back home runs to pad the lead.

The ninth-ranked Blue Devils (34-16, 15-12 ACC) refused to go quietly, however, hitting three-run and two-run homers in the seventh to steal the lead and make it 6-4.

But Tech was determined, getting runners on and letting the hitters work. John Giesler drove pulled them within one run on a sac fly before Cam Jones mashed a go-ahead, two-run single to left field. In his first at-bat of the day, freshman Carson Kerce also came through in the seventh, blasting a 3-2 pitch through the left side to plate one more insurance run.

The Jackets then turned to RHP Brett Thomas and RHP Dawson Brown to close. Thomas got the first two outs of the eighth, before Brown slammed the door with 1.1 scoreless innings to earn his third save of the season. RHP Riley Stanford (2-0) received the win, getting the final out of the seventh.

Duke was led by Alex Stone, who went 2-for-5 with a home run. RHP Jackson Emus (0-1) received the loss, surrendering three runs on one hit without recording an out.

Georgia Tech will now ready for its regular-season home finale as it hosts Mercer on Tuesday, May 14. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra.

Postgame Notes:

  • With the win, Georgia Tech has now won six ACC series this season, more than any team in the conference other than Clemson (7);
  • Facing the third-toughest schedule in the nation four weeks ago, Georgia Tech has series wins over No. 16 Virginia Tech, No. 10 Virginia and No. 9 Duke, as well as a sweep over No. 13 NC State and series wins against Pitt and Miami;
  • Georgia Tech hit .369 for the weekend, mashing six doubles, a triple and six home runs for 29 runs (28 RBI). Tech also drew 17 walks to reach base at a .452 clip;
  • In two games this weekend, Bobby Zmarzlak led the team with a .500 average, going 4-for-8 with two doubles. Carson Kerce hit .429, while Cam Jones hit .417 with five hits, a home run and four RBI, also stealing three bases;
  • Drew Burress (.400) and Vahn Lackey (.400) rounded out the .400 hitters, while Matthew Ellis (.364), John Giesler (.357), Payton Green (.333) and Mike Becchetti (.308) rounded out the .300 hitters;
  • Giesler led the team with eight RBI on three doubles and a home run;
  • Dawson Brown made two appearances on the weekend, getting the winning decision on Friday and save on Sunday, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing just one hit, no runs and recording three strikeouts.

Multimedia:

Postgame Press Conference (Coach Hall, Tate McKee)

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The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

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