April 26, 2008
ATLANTA – Thomas Nichols went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and five RBI to guide Georgia Tech (31-12, 12-11 ACC) past Wake Forest (16-27, 7-15 ACC), 14-6, Saturday afternoon to win their first ACC series since the last weekend of March.
Nichols hit the Yellow Jackets’ seventh grand slam of the season as part of a five-run fourth inning to give the Yellow Jackets a comfortable six-run lead. He also hit a run-scoring double in the bottom of the third inning to account for his five RBI on the afternoon.
Jeff Rowland led all players with four hits, as the freshman center fielder went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored, while Nichols, Derek Dietrich, Tony Plagman and Jason Haniger all added three hits apiece.
Dietrich drove in four runs on the day with a pair of run-scoring singles and a solo home run while Plagman added three RBI with a two-run home run and run-scoring double.
Earning his fifth win of the season was Yellow Jacket starting pitcher Eddie Burns (5-3), who worked five innings and yielded five runs on eight hits to the Demon Deacons. Andrew Robinson worked 2.1 innings in relief before turning the ball over the Brad Rulon, who recorded three strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
An RBI single by Dietrich and two-run home run from Plagman gave Tech an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Wake scored two in the top of the third on a groundout by Allan Dykstra and a run-scoring double by Evan Ocheltree to pull within one run of the Jackets.
A solo home run by Dietrich and back-to-back run-scoring doubles from Nichols and Chase Burnette pushed Tech’s lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the third, but the Demon Deacons answered with three of their own the next inning, making the score 6-5.
Following a run-scoring double by Plagman, Nichols broke the game open with his fourth home run of the season, a grand slam over the right field wall, with one out in the fourth inning. Tech added three more runs in the seventh with run-scoring singles from Rowland and Dietrich to cap its scoring on the day.
Wake Forest put men on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could manage to plate just one run for the final 14-6 margin.
Ben Terry, Willy Fox and Mike Murray all had three hits to lead the Demon Deacons on the afternoon. Charlie Mellies (1-5) took the loss, giving up eight runs on 10 hits to the Jackets in three innings of work.
The series finale between the Jackets and Deacs will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday in a game that can be found on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv). Fans can also listen to the game on AM 790 the Zone, while live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.