Feb. 20, 2009
ATLANTA – Jeff Rowland and Derek Dietrich hit home runs to support the three-hit pitching of Deck McGuire, lifting Georgia Tech to a 9-0 victory over Lipscomb in the season opener for both teams Friday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
McGuire (1-0) fanned a career-high 13 batters in seven innings, eclipsing the nine he accumulated against Georgia on May 7 of last season. He allowed just three hits and walked one while throwing 101 pitches. The 13 strikeouts were the most by a Tech pitcher since Cory Vance had 14 against No. 2 North Carolina on March 14, 2000.
The sophomore from Richmond, Va., was locked in a pitcher’s duel with Lipscomb’s Rex Brothers for four innings before Tech (1-0) broke the scoreless tie with three unearned runs in the fifth.
“Deck couldn’t have pitched any better than he pitched,” head coach Danny Hall said. “He had great command, and we needed him to because their guy certainly held us at bay for quite a while. I couldn’t be more proud of the way that he pitched.”
Tony Plagman sparked the rally when he reached on an error to lead off. After he stole second and moved to third on a ground out, Chris House squeezed him home with a perfect bunt. After Patrick Long walked, Jeff Rowland homered to right-center, giving the Jackets a 3-0 lead.
“(The squeeze bunt) was a big play,” Hall added. “We really executed it well. House put down a beautiful squeeze to get us the first run, and then Rowland hit a home run, which kind of opened the game up a little bit.”
The Jackets added a pair of runs in the sixth, getting singles from Jason Haniger and Plagman sandwiched around a Luke Murton triple. That chased Brothers (0-1), who allowed five runs, two earned, through 5 2/3 innings.
Dietrich padded the margin in the sixth with a grand slam homer to right field on a 3-2 pitch following a pair of walks and a Rowland single.
Lipscomb (0-1) mounted its only real scoring threat in the fifth inning when Ryan Wilkins led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a grounder to first base. Brad Gooch walked with two outs and tried to steal second on an 0-2 pitch. He was safe ahead of Jason Haniger’s throw, but Wilkins was thrown out at home on Dietrich’s return throw.
Justin Sanders, who had two hits, doubled with one out in the seventh, but McGuire left him there by fanning the next two batters to finish his night. He retired the Bisons in order in four of his seven innings.
The teams continue their weekend series with games at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.