April 9, 2011
ATLANTA – Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen scattered two runs over eight strong innings and received support from David Coleman’s three-run homer in the seventh inning to give the top-ranked Cavaliers a 6-2 series-opening win over No. 8 Georgia Tech on Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Cavaliers (30-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal Division after improving to 12-1 in conference play, while the Jackets (23-8) fell to second place with a 11-2 record in the ACC.
The much anticipated pitching matchup of two of the country’s premier starting pitchers – Tech’s Mark Pope and Virginia’s Danny Hultzen – was delayed two hours and twenty minutes due to a power malfunction in one of the main light pole’s at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Both Friday night hurlers came out strong out of the gate, but Hultzen (7-0) would ultimately win the battle after scattering just two runs (one earned) on seven hits over eight innings. He had 11 strikeouts on the night, the most by an opposing pitcher against Tech all season.
The Jackets came after the junior lefty in the fifth inning, getting a single from sophomore Sam Dove and a double from freshman Mott Hyde to put two runners on with one out. After Hultzen struck out freshman Chase Butler, freshman leadoff hitter Kyle Wren came through with a squeeze bunt to third base that gave Tech a 1-0 lead.
Wren and Hyde paced the Jackets with two hits apiece. Hyde had a pair of doubles while Wren had one of his own.
Pope (7-1) held the Cavaliers in check for most of the night, yielding just one hit through the first six innings. He had retired the side in five of the six frames, and kept the Virginia bats off-balance with a variety of crafty pitches.
Virginia, however, strung together a pair of singles by John Hicks and Ryan Levine to begin the seventh frame and took the lead just two batters later when Coleman lifted a high pitch from Pope over the wall in right field for a 3-1 lead.
The home run was just the first allowed by Pope this season, and the first allowed by the Tech pitching staff in the last 14 games.
The junior from Marietta, Ga. would surrender one more run in the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Steven Proscia before giving way to the bullpen. Pope fell for the first time this season and just the third time in his career after allowing four runs on seven hits over 7 2/3 innings. He had six strikeouts in the outing.
Hultzen went on to retire five of the next eight batters, allowing an unearned run, before Branden Kline closed out the ninth.
Wren scored the run in the eighth inning, leading off the frame with a double to left field before crossing the plate on a throwing error by Virginia second baseman Keith Werman two batters later.
The series continues at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium.