March 2, 2013
THE FLATS – Fighting on and off snow flurries, No. 20 Georgia Tech led 6-0 after the second inning and cruised to an 11-2 victory over Rutgers on Saturday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. Daniel Palka and A.J. Murray homered and Zane Evans was 3-for-4 as the Yellow Jackets won their fifth straight.
Dusty Isaacs scattered eight hits and a run with six strikeouts over six innings to pick up his second win for Tech, which improved to 10-1. The Scarlet Knights slipped to 2-6.
With 11 runs on 14 hits, the Jackets reached the double-digit mark in runs for the fifth-consecutive game. It marks the longest such stretch at Tech since a similar five-game stretch early in the 2006 season.
“We’re swinging the bat well right now, and we’re getting production from different guys every night, which is good to see,” said head coach Danny Hall. “Palka and Murray hit big home runs, and Zane is locked in right now.”
Sam Dove was 2-for-3, walked twice and matched his career-high with three runs. Evans’ three-knock night continues his hot streak as the junior from Roswell, Ga. is hitting .600 (9-for-15) in four games this week with four homers, eight RBI and seven runs.
Dove singled and scored on an error in the first inning to give the Jackets the early lead, marking the eighth time this season Tech has scored in the first inning (8-0). A five-run second would be all the run support Isaacs needed. Connor Lynch, Brandon Thomas and Palka each drove in runs in the five-run uprising.
Palka launched his 27th career home run, and third this season – a three-run bomb to right that landed on Fowler Street – in the fourth inning, and Murray followed in the sixth inning with his second round-tripper in as many nights to give Tech a 10-1 margin.
Tech is now 20-7 in games when Palka hits a home run.
Rutgers pushed its second run across in the eighth on Steve Zavala’s RBI single and had the bases loaded with one out. But freshman Sam Clay emerged from the bullpen to get a strikeout and a ground out in succession to keep the lead secure. The rookie worked a clean ninth inning to end it.
“Dusty threw the ball well, and we made some plays behind him defensively,” said Hall. “Sam got us out of that jam in the eighth and I’m glad we put him back on the mound for the ninth.”
Tyler Gebler was on the hook for the loss, yielding 10 hits and nine runs (five earned) in five innings to fall to 0-2. In two games, the Scarlet Knights have committed six errors, leading to seven unearned runs. Brian O’Grady and Jeff Melillo each had three hits for the visitors.
The Yellow Jackets will go for the series sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. with sophomore Cole Pitts on the mound.