May 18, 2012
ATLANTA – Buck Farmer fired a two-hit gem and Brandon Thomas homered in his return from a seven-game absence, but No. 21 Miami rallied with three runs in the ninth inning to edge Georgia Tech, 5-4, at Russ Chandler Stadium Thursday night in the opener of an ACC series.
The loss dropped the Yellow Jackets to 31-23 overall and 11-17 in the ACC, while the Hurricanes improved to 33-18, 15-13. With Thursday’s ACC results Tech, remained tied with Virginia Tech and Wake Forest in the standings and would hold one of the final two playoff spots if the season ended tonight.
The hosts took a 4-1 lead to the eighth inning, but Stephen Perez’s solo shot over the fence in right triggered Miami’s comeback bid. After two more Hurricanes reached, Tech turned to reliever Alex Cruz, who got the final two outs in succession to keep the lead safe.
Things unraveled, though, in the ninth as Tyler Palmer reached on a lead-off bunt single, moving to second on a throwing error. Cruz got the next two outs in order, but Perez walked and Dale Carey’s bloop single over first base made it a 4-3 game as Palmer scored. Chantz Mack walked, and the decisive blow came from Brad Fieger with a two-run single up the middle on a 3-1 offering from Cruz.
A pair of Miami relievers – Eric Nedeljkovic and AJ Salcines – retired Tech in order in the ninth to seal the comeback win. Salcines recorded his fifth save while E.J. Encinosa, who pitched two innings of no-hit relief, was credited the win (3-3).
Cruz was hung the loss, after allowing three hits and three runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Farmer gave the Yellow Jackets six lights-out innings, and was just as sharp on both sides of an 85-minute lightning delay. Tech’s ace fired three shutout frames before the delay, then came back after the weather cleared to retire Miami in order in the fourth, dodge a two-out walk in the fifth and allow his lone run – a two-out solo blast from Rony Rodriguez – in the sixth.
Farmer finished the night with eight strikeouts, three walks and yielded just two hits.
Senior Evan Martin gave the Jackets a 1-0 lead in the third as his RBI single scored Daniel Palka for the early advantage. Martin doubled down the left-field line to lead off the fifth and scored on Sam Dove’s RBI single up the middle for a 2-0 lead. Thomas smashed his fourth home run of the season – a two-run shot – in the next at bat.
The series continues Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium at 7 p.m.