May 16, 2003
ATLANTA – Micah Owings, Clifton Remole and Mike Nickeas each drove in two runs to lead No. 10 Georgia Tech (39-14, 17-6 ACC) to a 9-6 win over No. 9 NC State (38-14, 14-9) on Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium in the second game of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series.
Georgia Tech’s second straight win in the series clinched the No. 2 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament in Salem, Va. Earlier in the day, Florida State (18-5 ACC) clinched the top seed in the tournament with a pair of wins over Duke.
Tech starter Kyle Bakker (8-1) earned the win, battling through five innings and keeping the Yellow Jackets in the game. The left-hander allowed six runs, four earned, on seven hits while issuing three walks and striking out five. The victory improved Bakker’s career record to 25-4, and he has won 12 of his last 13 decisions dating back to the 2002 season.
The Wolfpack jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with the 15th home run of the year from Justin Riley. The Yellow Jackets immediately answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Walks to the first three batters of the inning loaded the bases with no outs before Nickeas drove in Eric Patterson and Steven Blackwood with a double down the right field line and Remole scored Matt Murton with a RBI groundout.
Tech extended the lead to 5-1 with two runs in the third inning. After the first two batters of the inning were quickly retired, Mike Nickeas drew a walk and scored on Remole’s RBI double before Owings drove in Remole with a RBI single up the middle.
NC State mounted a charge in the top of the fourth inning, scoring two runs to pull within 5-3. The rally started when Chad Orvella was hit by a pitch with two outs and the bases empty. Jeremy Dutton had a RBI single in the inning, while Orvella scored when Joe Gaetti reached on an error.
The Yellow Jackets scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 7-3. Tyler Greene led off the inning with a triple and scored on Patterson’s RBI single, while Patterson stole second base, took third on a throwing error from pitcher Nate Cretarolo and scored on a second throwing error from catcher Justin Riley on attempted pickoffs.
A three run homer from Chad Orvella, his fourth of the year, got the Wolfpack back in the game in the top of the fifth inning and made the score 7-6.
Georgia Tech added two important insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Yellow Jackets a three-run cushion at 9-6. Remole drew a walk to lead off the inning and then scored on Owings’ double down the left field line. Jeremy Slayden followed with a double off the top of the center field wall, but Owings was thrown out while trying to score. After Greene grounded out for the second out of the inning, Andy Hawranick drove in Slayden with a two-out RBI single that fell just in front of left fielder Lee Mezistrano. Owings and Hawranick each had two hits in the game.
NC State starter Nate Cretarolo (4-3) took the loss, allowing seven runs on five hits and six walks in 4.2 innings. The Yellow Jackets managed just nine hits in the game, but they were aided by nine walks from Wolfpack pitching.
Georgia Tech and NC State will conclude the three-game series on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Radio coverage will be available on 790 The Zone (790 AM in Atlanta), while live statistics and the radio broadcast will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.