March 7, 2012
DECATUR, Ga. – No. 10 Georgia Tech brought the tying run to third base in the ninth inning, but couldn’t push the equalizer across and dropped a 5-4 decision at Georgia State Wednesday night in Decatur, Ga. to snap a five-game winning streak.
The Yellow Jackets (10-3), who lost for the second straight time to the Panthers, led 1-0 in the fourth and rallied with two runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to 5-3. Tech would rally again in the ninth, scratching one across on Evan Martin’s sacrifice fly but leaving Sam Dove stranded at third.
The Panthers (7-6) secured the win for freshman starter Max Schmitz, who pitched five innings and allowed just three hits and one unearned run with four walks and four strikeouts. Schmitz put the clamps on a sizzling Tech offense that came in averaging eight runs and 12 hits per game, with the ACC’s best slugging percentage of .494.
Tech, though, had its chances, leaving runners on base in every inning and totaling 13 stranded in the game, including eight in scoring position.
After seizing a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Kyle Wren drew a bases-loaded walk, Tech gave the lead right back in the bottom half with RBI singles from Landon Bennett and Roy Sletenrijch.
It came unraveled for the Yellow Jackets in the bottom of the fifth as three hits, four errors and a walk opened the door for three GSU runs (one earned). Joey Wood and Mark Hogan had RBIs in the frame, but the visitors escaped further trouble as reliever Josh Heddinger struck out the side to leave the bases loaded.
Daniel Palka extended his hitting to 12 games by launching a leadoff home run to right-center in the seventh inning. Zane Evans, Jake Davies and Dove followed with consecutive singles to pull within 5-3.
Davies got Tech’s ninth-inning rally started with a one-out single. Dove walked and a double steal moved Dove and pinch-runner DeAndre Smelter to scoring position. Smelter scored from third on Martin’s deep sacrifice fly to center, but closer Hunter Cash saw Mott Hyde rip a line drive to short to end it.
Cash picked up his first save, while Tech starter Cole Pitts was the hung the loss (2-1). He went four innings, allowed five hits and two runs with five strikeouts. Four relievers followed Pitts, including scoreless efforts from Heddinger, Alex Cruz and Davies.
The Jackets look to rebound from their first midweek loss of the season when Atlantic Coast Conference play opens this weekend at NC State. The series begins Friday at 3 p.m., with the weekend games broadcast on ESPN3. All three games can be heard live on WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta.