March 17, 2012
ATLANTA – No. 20 Georgia Tech’s furious late-game rally fell short and the Yellow Jackets dropped a 12-9 decision to Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium to even the ACC series. Kyle Wren had two hits, two RBI and scored three times.
The Jackets, who trailed 8-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh, slipped to 13-6 overall, 2-3 in the ACC, while the Hokies improved to 15-5, 2-3.
The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia Tech has been a dominant early-game team all season, but got a taste of its own medicine Saturday as the visitors scored four times in the first four innings and were bolstered by back-to-back home runs to lead off the game by Jake Atwell and Mark Zagunis.
Atwell finished 4-for-5, with two homers, three RBI, four runs and two stolen bases to pace a Hokie attack that pounded out 15 hits and became the first team to score double-digit runs on the Jackets this season.
Sam Dove, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games, got Tech’s seventh-inning rally started with a double off the wall in right-center field and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-2. Connor Winn followed later with an RBI ground out, Wren ripped an RBI single up the middle and Jake Davies drew a bases-loaded walk.
The Hokies answered right back in the top of the eighth, scoring three crucial runs thanks to consecutive doubles from Andrew Rash and Tyler Horan.
But the Jackets weren’t done. Daniel Palka homered for the second straight game as his missile down the right-field line just stayed fair to lead off the eighth and make the score 11-6. Winn later doubled to score a run, Wren had an RBI single and Evans ripped an RBI double up the right-field line.
Johnny Morales gave the Hokies a three-run cushion back with an RBI single in the ninth and closer Jake Joyce struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to claim his first save.
Hokie starter Joe Mantiply picked up the win, going 6.2 inning with six hits and five runs with five strikeouts to improve to 3-0. Matthew Grimes went just 2.2 innings for the Jackets with five hits and four runs and was hung the loss (3-2).