May 22, 2003
SALEM, Va. – Right fielder Jeremy Slayden hit a three-run home run and reliever Brian Burks worked out of a ninth inning jam as second-seeded Georgia Tech (40-15) held on for a 9-8 win over No. 7 seed Wake Forest (29-23) on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Salem Memorial Stadium.
Georgia Tech advances in the winner’s bracket of the ACC Tournament, and the Yellow Jackets will face the winner of Thursday’s Virginia-NC State game in the fourth game of the day on Friday at approximately 8:30 p.m. Wake Forest will play the loser of the Virginia-NC State contest on Friday at approximate 1:30 p.m.
Micah Owings (9-2) earned the win after working six solid innings, holding the Demon Deacons to three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four batters. The rookie right-hander moved within one win of the Georgia Tech freshman record of 10 wins in a season, held by David Elder (1995) and Chuck Crowder (1996).
Burks earned his team-leading eighth save of the season after getting the final two outs of the game and thwarting a ninth inning rally from the Demon Deacons.
Trailing 9-5 after eight and a half innings, Wake Forest loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and an error from Tech second baseman Eric Patterson before Burks came out of the bullpen. The right-hander got the second out of the inning at home plate on Steve LeFaivre’s fielder’s choice groundout. The Deacons rallied for three runs with two outs on a two-run single from Ben Ingold and a RBI single from Chris Getz, but Burks retired pinch hitter Brad Scioletti with a pop fly to right field to end the game and preserve the victory.
The Yellow Jackets struck in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Steven Blackwood singled to right field with one out and moved to second base on Matt Murton’s ground out before scoring on Clifton Remole’s two-out RBI double off the left center field wall.
Tech exploded for five runs in the third inning to take a 6-0 lead, and the Yellow Jackets were aided by two Wake Forest errors that led to all the runs being unearned. Eric Patterson scored the first run of the inning on third baseman Jamie D’Antona’s throwing error before Remole drove in his second run of the game with a single. Jeremy Slayden capped the inning with a three-run home run, his seventh of the season.
After the Demon Deacons climbed to within 6-1 with a RBI single from Ben Ingold in the top of the fourth inning, Tech’s Mike Nickeas delivered a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the inning to make the score 7-1.
A two-run homer from Ryan Johnson, his ninth of the season, pulled Wake Forest within four runs, 7-3, in the fifth inning.
Blackwood singled and scored on shortstop Ben Ingold’s throwing error to give the Yellow Jackets an 8-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Demon Deacons scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to climb to within 8-5.
The Yellow Jackets added what proved to be the deciding run in the bottom of the eighth inning to make the score 9-5. David Myers drew a walk and moved to third base with no outs on a stolen base and passed ball. After the next two hitters failed to drive in the run, Matt Murton laced a two-out RBI double off the left field wall to score Myers.
Radio coverage for all of Tech’s games in the double elimination tournament will be available on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta), while live statistics and the radio broadcast will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.