May 3, 2003
ATLANTA – Mike Nickeas’ two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted No. 10 Georgia Tech (33-12, 12-5) to a 5-4 win over No. 2 Florida State (39-8-1, 12-5 ACC) on Saturday night at Russ Chandler Stadium in the second game of a three-game series. The Yellow Jackets and Seminoles, who have split the first two games of the series, remain tied for first place in the ACC standings ahead of third place NC State (13-7).
With the score tied at 4-4 after nine innings, Tech reliever Brian Burks (3-1) retired the side in order in the top of the 10th inning before the Yellow Jackets mounted their rally. Brandon Boggs drew a one out walk, Eric Patterson singled to center field and pinch hitter Cameron Lane legged out an infield single deep in the hole at short. Facing a bases loaded, one out situation, the Seminoles opted to use five infielders and two outfielders. Matt Murton hit a short pop up to the pitcher facing the unusual defense, but Nickeas lifted the Yellow Jackets to the 5-4 win when he laced a 1-0 pitch to left field for the game winning hit.
Burks earned the win in relief by retiring all six men he faced in the ninth and 10th innings, striking out four. Florida State reliever Kevin Lynch (2-1) took the loss after allowing the winning run in the 10th.
The Yellow Jackets broke through to take a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, sending nine batters to the plate and loading the bases three times. A single from Jake Hall and pair of walks to Patterson and Murton loaded the bases with one out before Nickeas drove in Patterson with the first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to right field. Tech again loaded the bases when Clifton Remole drew a two-out walk, and Tyler Greene drove in Hall and Murton with a two out single up the middle. The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases for a third time when Jeremy Slayden walked, but FSU starter Matt Lynch escaped any further trouble by striking out Andy Hawranick to end the inning.
The Seminoles stormed back to take a 4-3 lead via the long ball. Blake Balkcom pulled the Seminoles to within 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning with a two-run homer, his third of the season. Jerrod Brown belted a two-run homer, his second of the year, to make the score 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning.
Tech had a chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs after three walks, but FSU reliever Rhett James induced a groundout from Murton to work out of the jam.
The Yellow Jackets tied the score at 4-4 with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Remole started the rally with a one-out single to left field. Tyler Greene followed with a ground ball to shortstop Stephen Drew, but Remole moved all the way to third base after Drew’s throw sailed wide of second base. Slayden’s RBI single to center field drove in Remole and tied the score.
Tech starter Micah Owings pitched well but did not figure in the decision. He worked eight innings to tie his career high and allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five. Tech’s victory snapped a season-long five game losing streak.
Georgia Tech and Florida State will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Live statistics can be found on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.