DURHAM, N.C. (May 21) — Brian Ward went 4-for-4 and drove in five runs for N.C. State, and Mike Sollie helped hold off a Georgia Tech rally with three innings of solid relief as the Wolfpack defeated the Yellow Jackets, 9-6, Friday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Tournament.
Tech (38-20) is eliminated from the tournament and waits for word of its post-season fate at 3 p.m. Monday. The Yellow Jackets have made the NCAA Tournament field in each of the past 14 years. N.C. State (37-22) survived in the loser’s bracket to meet either Wake Forest or Florida State Saturday.
Ward doubled three times, singled once and walked once in five trips, and leadoff hitter Brian Wright had three hits, a pair of walks and scored five times to lead the Wolfpack, who bolted to a 6-0 lead with four runs in the third. Ward, Matt Postell and Adrean Acevedo delivered RBI singles in the inning.
“Too many and easy chances early,” said Tech coach Danny Hall. “I felt like we gave them way too many baserunners. But to their credit, when they got opportunities, they knocked guys in. Brian Ward is an awfully good hitter and was the difference in the game.”
Senior Grant Dorn, who came into the game with a 6.79 ERA, blanked Tech for four innings before the Jackets mounted a pair of rallies. Two runs came home on Brad Stockton’s two-run single in the fifth, and Tech scored four times in the sixth behind Bryan Prince’s solo home run and a two-run double from Eric McQueen, making the score 7-6.
But Tech’s inability to contain Ward proved costly as the second baseman doubled home a run in the fifth and drove in two more with a double in the seventh after the Jackets had gotten within one run. His three doubles in the game were an ACC Tournament single-game record.
“We hung in there and hit some balls hard,” said Hall. “It wasn’t like we weren’t hitting the ball, just at some people.”
Tech cost itself some scoring opportunities by hitting into a double play after scoring its four runs in the fifth and spoiling a two-on, one-out chance in the eighth by getting a runner picked off first base.
Dorn (3-4) got the win with six innings of work, giving up six runs on eight hits. Sollie came on in the seventh and shut the Jackets out on two hits in three innings to earn his first save.
Tech starter Ben Sheeter (3-2) lasted just 2-1/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks.
N.C. STATE 9, GEORGIA TECH 6Georgia Tech (38-20) 000 024 000 -- 6 10 2N.C. State (37-22) 114 010 20x -- 9 10 3Ben Sheeter, Steve Kelly (3), Rhett Parrott (5), Andy Mitchell (7) and EricMcQueen. Grant Dorn, Mike Sollie (7) and Dan Mooney. WP--Dorn (3-4) LP--Sheeter (3-2). SV--Sollie (1). HR--Georgia Tech: Bryan Prince (5). T--2:29.