March 5, 2010
ATLANTA – Junior Deck McGuire struck out nine batters in eight innings of work to lead the No. 4 Georgia Tech baseball team (8-1) to its fifth shutout of the season in a 5-0 series-opening win over Rutgers (1-6) Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
With five shutouts on the season, the Jackets are just three away from tying the school record of eight – held by the 1906, 1971 and 1997 teams.
McGuire (2-0) won his second game of the season, allowing just six hits in 8.0 innings pitched while combining with junior Kevin Jacob to keep Rutgers off the board. The eight innings were a season high for McGuire, who pitched seven in each of his previous two starts.
“He [Deck McGuire] pitched out of a jam in the first inning, but really settled in and started throwing his fastball down hill and had great location of that,” head coach Danny Hall said. “He’s a tough guy to hit because he can throw four different pitches. But I was really impressed, especially with the middle innings, on how well he threw his fastball.”
Junior center fielder Jeff Rowland paced the Tech offense, going 2-for-3 with a home run. Entering the game batting just .219, the Augusta, Ga. native raised his average to .257 in the outing. He now has 50 multiple hit games in three years on the Flats.
“The biggest thing, I think, is that he was swinging at a lot of balls,” said Hall when asked about Rowland’s slow start at the plate on the season. “He had to be a little more patient and get better pitches to hit. But Today, I thought he had a good approach at the plate. He just seemed to stay on the ball a lot better today then he has been. He was also probably pressing a little bit, so we just told him to relax and go have fun.”
Sophomore Jacob Esch also impressed at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, tallying his fifth multiple hit game of the season.
It was the third consecutive game the Jackets scored in the bottom of the first inning, this time putting three on the board. Senior Tony Plagman extended his hitting streak to five games with an RBI single to right field, his 11th RBI of the season. Tech would get one more on a balk with bases-loaded and another on a sac fly by sophomore Matt Skole.
Rutgers starter Casey Gaynor (0-3) picked up the loss for the Scarlet Knights, allowing four runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings pitched.
Rowland’s home run to right-field in the seventh, followed by an RBI double to center from Esch in the eighth capped off the scoring for the Jackets, as Tech combined for nine hits on the afternoon.
The series continues Saturday at 1 p.m., as junior Brandon Cumpton (2-0) takes the mound for Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium.