Feb. 25, 2011
ATLANTA – Five players recorded multiple hits and junior Mark Pope pitched six scoreless innings as the 21st-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team shutout No. 23 St. John’s, 13-0, Friday evening at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets improved to 4-2 with the win, while St. John’s fell to 2-2.
The St John’s entered the game with a .381 batting average, having scored 34 runs through its first three games, but Pope (2-0) kept the Red Storm hitters off-balance through six innings of work Friday.
The junior right-hander held the visiting side to just six hits in his second outing of the season. Pope fanned seven batters and walked just one while picking up his 15th career win.
“I thought Mark Pope really threw the ball well in his last couple of innings today,” head coach Danny Hall said. “He had a real good fastball with a lot of sink on it, and they didn’t get many swings on it.”
The Tech bullpen was just as strong, as relievers Clay Dalton, Zach Brewster and Brad Markey held St. John’s to just three hits over the final three innings to help preserve the team’s first shutout of the season. All three players made season-debuts with their outings.
The Georgia Tech bats were lively in game one of the series, as the 17 hits and 13 runs were both season highs. Five players had multiple hits, with junior Matt Skole and freshmen Zane Evans and Daniel Palka leading the way with three a piece.
Palka has six hits in the last two games combined after connecting on just two over the first four games.
The Jackets chased St. John’s starter Sean Hagan right away in the first inning, tagging the left-hander for nine runs on nine hits. The first six Tech hitters reached base safely, including Skole, who put the Jackets on board with a three-run homer over the centerfield wall. Skole added another RBI later in the inning as he drove in four runs on the day.
Tech finished out the inning with 10 total runs, the second most ever scored by the Jackets in the first inning of a game. Tech scored 12 in first inning against Virginia Tech on May 14, 2005.
“We had a great first inning today,” Hall said. “[Matt] Skole’s home run got us going, but we were able to get a lot of hits following up on that. We got way ahead early and never looked back.”
Hagan (1-1), who had allowed no runs and just three hits in the season opener last week, was credited with the loss. He was pulled with two outs in the first.
The Jackets pushed across two more runs in the second inning on a double to left field by freshman Kyle Wren, before freshman DeAndre Smelter’s fielder’s choice RBI in the fifth closed out the scoring.
The series continues on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium. Junior left-hander Jed Bradley will face St. John’s Kyle Hansen.