March 28, 2012
ATLANTA – Freshman Cole Pitts gave No. 21 Georgia Tech six strong innings on the mound and the offense pounded out 14 hits in support of the rookie as the Yellow Jackets beat Georgia Southern 10-5 Wednesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium in the rubber game of the season series.
Junior Brandon Thomas and freshman Connor Lynch each had three hits, sophomore Daniel Palka launched his eighth home run of the season and freshman Thomas Smith — seeing his first collegiate action — had a hit, walked twice, scored and made a key defensive play late in the game.
Junior Sam Dove’s RBI double in the fifth inning extended the junior’s hitting streak to 17 games and stood as Wednesday’s game-winner.
The victory allowed Tech (16-10) to rebound from Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to GSU (12-14) and take the season series, after winning 11-9 in Statesboro earlier this season.
After three scoreless innings, the visitors drew first blood in the fourth with Chase Griffin’s two-run home run to right field. But the Jackets answered right back in the bottom half as Jake Davies got things rolling with an RBI single, and after a double by Palka, an error by the shortstop with two outs allowed Davies and Palka to score.
Scooter Williams’ RBI single in the fifth pulled the Eagles even at 3-3, but again the hosts had an answer.
Tech scored five times on five in the fifth inning and never looked back. Dove’s RBI double made it 4-3, Davies followed with a run-scoring single to make it 5-3 and Palka’s three-run missile over the right-field wall highlighted the rally.
Pitts was on the winning end of the decision (3-1), giving the Jackets a career-long six innings with a career-high eight strikeouts, scattering five hits and three runs. But Pitts watched the seventh inning from the dugout as GSU threatened, loading the bases with two outs, before Smith came up with a dazzling defensive play by diving to his left on a hot-shot from Stryker Brown and firing to first to retire the side.
The Jackets tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth thanks to Thomas’ two-RBI single and the Eagles pushed two runs across with two outs in the ninth.
Georgia Tech remains home this weekend to welcome Duke for a three-game ACC series between teams tied at 4-5 in the Coastal Division standings. Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m., with both games on the weekend set for 1 p.m.