April 13, 2014
THE FLATS – Daniel Spingola and Matt Gonzalez each had two hits and Georgia Tech came within four outs of sweeping No. 1 Florida State, but the Seminoles rallied late for a 5-4 win Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets, who saw their eight-game winning streak halted and fell for the first time at home since March 25, slipped to 23-14 overall and 10-8 in the ACC. The Seminoles snapped a three-game skid and improved to 27-8 and 14-4.
It is Tech’s first regular-season series win over FSU since 2009.
“To their credit, they’re a good team and they’re always going to come back and hang in on you,” said head coach Danny Hall of Florida State. “But we had a very good week, going 4-1 and winning another ACC series again a highly-ranked team. I’m very proud of the way our guys played.”
A season-best crowd of 3,288 watched the Yellow Jackets get the offense going early and push across four runs on three hits in the first inning to chase FSU starter Bryant Holtmann after just six hitters. Tech scored 10 of its 21 runs in the series in the first inning.
Mott Hyde’s lead-off single to left got things started and Spingola, who singled in the first inning of all three games in the series, followed with a base hit to left. The Jackets would load the bases thanks to Gonzalez’s bunt single and Thomas Smith shot an RBI single through the right side to make it 1-0.
A bases-loaded walk to Connor Justus with one out ended Holtmann’s day and two batters later, Brandon Gold hammered a two-run double down the right-field line to make it 4-0. Justus was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first for the final out.
But reliever Gage Smith was the equalizer for the Seminoles, as he entered the game for Holtmann in the first and pitched a shutout over 6.1 innings. He allowed four hits and fanned four in his career-long appearance.
“He was the story of the game,” said Hall. “He came in and put a bunch of zeros up there and gave them a chance to stay in it and we just couldn’t solve him.”
With Smith on the mound, FSU chipped away and cut the margin in half in the fifth. D.J. Stewart ripped a one-out RBI single up the middle and eventually scored from third with two outs on a wild pitch.
Sam Clay, who worked 2.2 innings in relief of Tech starter Matthew Grimes, loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and turned the game over to senior Dusty Isaacs. The righty fanned the next two Seminoles before Jameis Winston drew a pinch-hit walk to make it 4-3 and Josh Delph ripped a two-run single up the middle for the lead.
Isaacs got the final out of the eighth and then dodged two base runners in the ninth to keep Tech’s first deficit in 64.2 innings dating back to April 4 versus Duke at just one run.
Justus would give the Jackets hope in the bottom of the ninth as he slammed a lead-off single up the middle off Winston, FSU’s closer. Justus, though, was thrown out stealing as Tech tried to hit and run. Gold drew a two-out walk, but Winston retired pinch-hitter Mitch Earnest to nail down his fifth save.
Dylan Silva recorded four consecutive outs in relief of Smith and was credited with the win (2-0), while Clay was hung his first loss (2-1). Delph had three of the Seminoles’ eight hits in the game.
Both Spingola and Justus extended six-game hitting streaks.
The Yellow Jackets, who are 8-1 in the last nine games, bring a 10-game homestand to a close on Tuesday by hosting rival Georgia at 7:30 p.m. Tech is looking to even the season series after a 1-0 loss in Athens on March 4.