April 7, 2009
ATLANTA – Luke Murton belted two home runs to lead No. 8 Georgia Tech (20-6) to an 8-4 victory over Georgia Southern (21-8) Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
After being held without a home run through the first 19 games of the season, Murton has now hit seven homers over the last seven games. He has three multi-homer games during the span.
“Murton has been on fire of late,” head coach Danny Hall said. “He’s been hitting a lot of home runs, and I hope that he continues to for the rest of the year. He’s given us a big lift and has been hitting the ball very well.”
Brandon Cumpton (1-0) was solid in his first start in 16 days. The sophomore right-hander yielded just two runs on eight hits while striking out six in 5-1/3 innings of work to pick up his first win of the season.
Andrew Robinson tossed 2-2/3 shutout innings in relief of Cumpton after entering with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth. He forced pinch hitter A.J. Wirnsberger to pop up before striking out Ty Wright to end the threat.
“I thought that our pitching was good tonight,” Hall said. “Cumpton really settled in and pitched well after giving up the two early runs, and then Robinson was just outstanding tonight.
“Jake (Esch) walked the first guy and gave up the home run in the ninth, but then I thought that he pitched very well after that as well.”
An RBI single by Griffin Benedict staked Georgia Southern to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, and Eric Phillips made the score 2-0 in the Eagles’ favor with a run-scoring single in the top of the third inning.
The Jackets narrowed the Eagles’ lead to 2-1 on Murton’s first homer of the game – a solo shot off Georgia Southern starter Michael Hester in the bottom of the fourth.
Hester yielded just three hits and struck out four Yellow Jacket batters before being lifted in the middle of the fifth inning.
Murton’s second home run – a three-run shot – highlighted a five-run fifth inning that gave the Yellow Jackets a 6-2 lead. An RBI triple by Derek Dietrich tied the game with two outs in the frame, and Jason Haniger followed with a run-scoring single to put Tech ahead, 3-2. After Tony Plagman walked to put runners on first and second, Murton belted his second home run of the game to cap the Jackets’ scoring in the inning.
“Hester wasn’t throwing that hard, and kind of had us all out in front in the beginning of the game,” Hall added. “But when Murton hit the home run, it sort of changed the momentum a little bit. Then he hit another and Tony hit one, and that just turned the game around.”
Tony Chisman (0-1) gave up all five runs to suffer his first loss of the year.
The Jackets added a run in the sixth when Jason Garofalo scored on a wild pitch by Eagle reliever Mitchell Farmer, and Plagman gave Tech an 8-2 lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
A two-run homer in the ninth inning by Phillip Porter capped the scoring.
The Jackets and Eagles conclude the midweek series Wednesday at 4 p.m. Freshman left-hander Jed Bradley (1-1, 3.86 ERA) will make the third start of his career for Georgia Tech as Andy Moye (3-0, 6.88 ERA) toes the rubber for the visiting Eagles. The game can be watched on ACC Select (www.accselect.com) and heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), while live stats will be available at ramblinwreck.com.