May 11, 2013
THE FLATS – Dusty Isaacs gave Georgia Tech a gutsy six-inning start, but Benton Moss was in command for No. 2 North Carolina and the Tar Heels evened the weekend series with a 3-1 victory Saturday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Carolina put a run on the board in the first inning and Moss made it stand as the Tar Heels improved to 45-5 overall and 20-4 in ACC play. Tech slipped to 31-20, 13-13. The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. and Tech’s three seniors — Brandon Thomas, Buck Farmer and Sam Dove — will be recognized before the game.
Moss allowed just two hits over eight shutout innings with two walks and five strikeouts to improve to 8-1. Daniel Palka launched his ACC-leading 15th home run this season with two outs in the ninth off closer Trent Thornton, before Thornton nailed down his fifth save.
“He (Moss) pitched really well and we had a hard time against him,” said head coach Danny Hall. “We didn’t barrel enough balls to do any damage. We had a couple chances, but you tip your cap to him. He pitched very well.”
Brian Holberton’s RBI single opened the scoring in the first and the Jackets made two sharp defensive plays to limit the damage to just a run after Isaacs loaded the bases with no outs. Sam Dove snagged a line drive at third base for the first out, and shortstop Mott Hyde made a great play behind the bag at second to trigger a 6-3 double play that ended the inning.
Isaacs settled in after the rocky first and kept the Tar Heels off the board until the sixth when Holberton drew a lead-off walk, swiped second and scored on Michael Russell’s RBI single. Isaacs induced another double play to keep the deficit at just 2-0.
“He did a great job of pitching out of trouble and he gave us a great start and a chance to win,” said Hall of Isaacs, who allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings and slipped to 4-5.
Tech had opportunities in both the fourth and fifth innings to draw even, but left runners in scoring position both times. Kyle Wren’s lead-off single to center in the fourth broke up Moss’ no hitter, but the Jackets went quietly after Palka drew a one-out walk.
In the fifth, A.J. Murray lined a lead-off single to left and Hyde’s sacrifice bunt moved him to scoring position. Moss, though, navigated the bottom of Tech’s order to preserve the lead and the shutout.
After issuing a one-out walk to Brandon Thomas in the sixth, Moss retired the final seven Jackets he faced and got an addition run of support in the ninth thanks to Korey Dunbar’s two-out RBI single.
Alex Cruz tossed scoreless frames in the seventh and the eighth innings in relief of Isaacs with three strikeouts, but was on the hook for a pair of singles and a run in the ninth.
After going 4-for-4 Friday night, Zane Evans saw his 12-game hitting streak snapped in Saturday’s game.