April 15, 2009
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ATLANTA – Kevin Jacob struck out a career-high eight batters and 10th-ranked Georgia Tech (23-8-1) plated 11 runs in the second inning before cruising to an 18-2 win over Georgia State (23-13) Wednesday night at The Field at Panthersville.
Twelve consecutive Yellow Jackets reached base before Georgia State recorded the first out in the second inning. After Tony Plagman was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, the next three Tech batters reached base via walks, including Jake Davies’, which came with the bases loaded.
Chris House then drove in two runs with a double before Evan Martin belted his first home run of the season – a three-run shot – to put the Jackets ahead, 6-0. An RBI double from Derek Dietrich, run-scoring single by Luke Murton, sacrifice fly by House and another base hit from Martin made the score 11-0 before the Panthers could get out of the inning.
“Scoring 11 runs in an inning means that things are going well,” head coach Danny Hall said. “We were happy to get that tonight, since we struggled against their starter last time. He helped with the walks, but we got some key hits.
Thirteen different Yellow Jackets recorded hits against the Panthers, but the offense was evenly distributed as no Tech player notched more than two hits on the night.
Jacob (5-2) limited the Panthers to two runs while scattering just five hits in his five innings of work. Tech’s bullpen trio of Jacob Esch, Taylor Wood and Mark Pope held Georgia State scoreless over the final four innings, combining to give up just two hits while striking out seven.
“When Kevin Jacob throws his breaking ball for strikes he’s hard to hit, and then his fastball was really working for him tonight,” Hall said. “He pitched very well.
“All of the guys threw great. That’s the best that I’ve seen Esch throw, Taylor Wood was strong, and then Pope asked to get an inning because he was working on stuff and had much better velocity tonight than he’s had lately.”
Georgia State scored once in the bottom of the third, but Jeff Rowland’s run-scoring single in the top of the fourth made the score 12-1 in the Jackets’ favor. The Panthers scored again in the bottom of the fourth, but Murton’s RBI single in the fifth again gave Tech an 11-run lead, 13-2.
Thomas Nichols’s two-run double, followed by a two-run home run by Connor Winn – the first of his career – put the Jackets ahead, 17-2, in the top of the ninth before Cole Leonida came around to score the final run of the game on a fielding error by Panther left fielder Michael McCree.
John Locklear (4-4) worked into the second inning, but was chased after giving up six runs on three hits while walking three.
Tech returns to conference action this weekend when it travels to Winston-Salem for a three-game series with Wake Forest beginning Friday at 6 p.m. The two teams will also meet at 6 p.m. Saturday before concluding the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. The entire series can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) while live stats are available at Ramblinwreck.com.