March 9, 2013
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Matt Gonzalez and Brandon Thomas each had three hits, Daniel Spingola had three RBI and the bottom of No. 18 Georgia Tech’s order keyed a late-game rally as the Yellow Jackets scored the final seven runs and defeated Virginia Tech, 14-9, Saturday at English Field for their ninth consecutive win.
The Jackets (14-1, 2-0) reached double-figure runs for the ninth consecutive game to set a new school record, and clinched their 14th ACC-opening series in 20 tries under head coach Danny Hall.
“We had to really battle to do it,” said Hall. “It was back and forth there for quite a while. But our hitters keep fighting and finding ways to put runs on the board. This team doesn’t quit. They keep playing every inning and that’s one of the reasons we were able to win this series.”
Gonzalez, Mott Hyde and Spingola – Georgia Tech’s 7-8-9 hitters – were a combined 6-for-13 with seven RBI and six runs. Every Jacket had at least one hit and scored, and eight of the nine starters drove in a run. Gonzalez was 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, had two RBI and a career-high four runs, while Thomas was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs.
The Ramblin’ Wreck scored the game’s final seven runs, including six in a decisive seventh inning for the game’s fifth and final lead change after the Hokies (11-4, 0-2) had taken a 9-7 lead with a three-run sixth.
After the Jackets had taken a 4-2 lead into the third inning, a pair of Georgia Tech errors opened the door for four runs (one earned) in the third to knock starter Dusty Isaacs from the game.
Cruz got the Jackets out of further trouble in the third, and his team rallied for the tie in the fourth. Gonzalez led off the fourth with a single up the middle, swiped second, and scored when Wren ripped his 14th career triple to the right-field corner. A balk was called on Hokie starter Brad Markey, allowing Wren to score from third for a 6-6 tie.
The Yellow Jackets regained a 7-6 lead in the sixth thanks again, in part, to Gonzalez. The freshman singled to center with one out, moved to third when Hokie left-fielder Tyler Horan misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Hyde and scored the go-ahead run on Spingola’s second RBI of the day.
The Hokies answered with three off Cruz in the bottom of the sixth, but the Jackets went right back to work in the seventh and scored six runs on four hits to seize a 13-9 lead — the game’s fifth lead change. After Dove, Palka and Evans reached to load the bases with no outs, Murray’s RBI grounder made it 9-8. Gonzalez’s RBI fielder’s choice tied it up and Hyde’s RBI single through the left side would stand as the game winner. Spingola, Dove and Wren drove in insurance runs as the Jackets sent 12 batters to plate in the seventh.
In the ninth, Thomas doubled off the wall and Palka brought him home with a single to right cap the scoring.
Markey was tagged for 11 hits and nine runs (six earned) in six innings, but reliever Clark Labitan was hung the loss (0-1) after allowing four runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning. Chad Pinder had two hits and drove in three for the Hokies.
The Jackets send sophomore righty Cole Pitts to mound Sunday, looking for their first ACC series sweep since the 2011 season. First pitch at English Field is set for 1 p.m.