Feb. 29, 2008
ATLANTA – Jaren Matthews went 3-for-5 and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning to lead Rutgers (1-2) to a 10-6, 11-inning win over No. 22 Georgia Tech (5-1) Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets rallied from a four-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game at 6-6, and the score held until the top of the 11th, when Rutgers added four runs off Tech reliever Chris Hicks. Hicks (0-1) took the loss after giving up three hits and walking two in the inning.
Matthews drove in a pair of runs in the top of the first inning with a two-out, two-run home run off Tech starter David Duncan. Duncan went seven innings, giving up five runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking one, but did not figure into the decision.
Tech narrowed the Scarlet Knights’ lead to two when Charlie Blackmon plated Jeff Rowland with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the third inning. Rowland led Tech with three hits and two runs scored in the game.
An RBI groundout by Dan Betteridge pushed Rutgers’ lead back to three runs in the top of the fourth inning, but Tech answered in the bottom half of the frame when Derek Dietrich scored on an RBI groundout by Rowland to make the score 4-2.
Rutgers extended its lead to 5-2 in the fifth inning with an RBI single by Victor Cegles and pushed its lead to four runs in the ninth when Luis Feliz hit a leadoff double and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Betteridge and a throwing error by Tech reliever Michael Hutts.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Yellow Jackets started to rally, beginning with a pinch-hit double by Jeff Ussery. After Rowland earned a walk off reliever Jason Downey, Thomas Nichols singled to load the bases for Blackmon, who hit into a fielder’s choice to score Ussery. Betteridge, the Rutgers shortstop, couldn’t handle the throw, thus allowing Rowland to also score on the play. After Downey forced a flyout by Luke Murton, Chase Burnette delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single to tie the game.
Downey gave up four runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits while striking out two in the ninth inning. Rutgers starter Steve Holt tossed seven strong innings, holding Tech to just two runs on six hits while striking out three and walking three, but did not factor into the decision.
Matthews singled to lead off the 11th inning and moved to second on a bunt single by Feliz. A failed pickoff attempt and throwing error by Hicks allowed the two runs to advance. Following a strikeout and intentional walk, Brett Garlick delivered a two-run single to give Rutgers an 8-6 lead. Following a walk and strikeout, Tech reliever Brad Rulon walked Tom Edwards with the bases loaded and Jon Gossard hit an RBI single to cap the scoring for the Scarlet Knights.
Kevin Lillis (1-0) earned the victory by tossing two innings of shutout relief.
The Jackets and Scarlet Knights will continue the series Saturday at 4 p.m. Live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.