March 3, 2012
ATLANTA – Daniel Palka extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 3-for-4 effort and Connor Lynch drove in a career-high four runs as No. 12 Georgia Tech won for the ninth time this season, beating Rutgers 9-4, Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium to clinch the weekend series.
Sophomore Matthew Grimes gave the Yellow Jackets (9-2) six strong innings, allowing just four hits, two runs and two walks with six strikeouts to pick up Tech’s 12th-consecutive win in the series versus Rutgers (3-5).
Lynch, making his second career start at catcher, delivered a key two-RBI double in the sixth inning, which made the score 6-2. After the visitors got those two runs back in the seventh, Jake Davies fired a three-run missile that hugged the right-field foul pole for his second home run this season.
“It feels really good,” said Lynch. “Zane is our normal starting catcher, so whenever I get an opportunity back there I just try and make the most of it. I’m happy that Coach Hall gave me the opportunity.”
Saturday’s starting DH, Zane Evans worked two innings in relief of Grimes and put Rutgers down in order in the eighth inning to preserve the lead. Junior closer Luke Bard struck out two in the ninth to finish it off.
Tech jumped in front 2-0 in the second inning when Connor Winn and Lynch delivered back-to-back RBI singles. Palka extended the lead to 3-0 in the third with an RBI single to left and Lynch followed in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly.
Grimes was in command early, setting the first nine Scarlet Knights down in order, before seeing his no-hitter broke up with two outs in the fourth. With the score 6-2 in the sixth inning and Rutgers threatening with runners at second and third, Grimes got Charlie Law swinging for the final out in the last batter he faced.
Davies, Lynch and Sam Dove each had two of Tech’s 14 hits. In his young career, Lynch is 4-for-7 with two doubles and seven RBI.
Rutgers got two run in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI ground out from Jeff Melillo and a run-scoring single from Steve Zavala – the first hit allowed by Grimes.
After a single and a double to lead off the seventh inning, Pat Sweeney and Brian O’Grady rolled RBI ground outs to cap Rutgers’ scoring. Rob Smorol went six innings, allowed nine hits and six runs and was dealt the loss (1-2).
Tech goes for the series sweep Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.