March 6, 2011
ATLANTA – Four different players recorded three-hit performances while Buck Farmer scattered four hits over six innings to give the 23rd-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team its first sweep of the season with a 14-3 victory over Rutgers Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia Tech (8-4) outscored Rutgers (4-5) by a 33-8 tally in the three-game series this weekend.
“I thought we played well all weekend long,” head coach Danny Hall said. “We got a lot of hits, and I am definitely seeing a lot of improvement in our young hitters and that’s what we always hope to have. Anytime you sweep someone on the weekend it s a good weekend, so we were pretty excited about that.”
The middle of Tech’s batting order was 9-for-15 on Sunday, as Daniel Palka, Zane Evans and Jake Davies each had three hits for the Jackets. Freshman outfielder DeAndre Smelter also added three hits, driving in two runs.
The run support was plenty enough for starter Buck Farmer (1-1), who had a career-high eight strikeouts to earn his first win of the season. He allowed just one earned run on four hits in 6.0 innings.
“He [Buck Farmer] had a tough start last weekend, and I thought he bounced back and threw the ball very well today,” said Hall of the sophomore pitcher. “He kept them in check and gave us a chance to score a lot of runs.
“The biggest difference today is that he had a good breaking ball. He threw his breaking ball for strikes, so instead of being a two-pitch guy he became a three-pitch guy. Anytime you throw three pitchers for strikes it is hard to hit.”
The Jackets took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Palka doubled down the right field line to score classmate Kyle Wren. Rutgers answered back to tie the game in the third on a two-out double to left field by shortstop Steve Nyisztor.
The Scarlet Knights attempted to take the lead on the same play, but shortstop Jacob Esch hit catcher Zane Evans for the tag on Rutgers’ left fielder Steve Zavala in a bang-bang play at the plate to end the inning.
Smelter, who started the relay to Esch in the previous inning, gave the Jackets the lead again in the fourth with a bases loaded RBI single up the middle. Kyle Wren was walked on then next at-bat to add another run.
Junior Matt Skole and Palka each belted home runs on the afternoon, coming on back-to-back blasts in the sixth inning. Palka’s round-tripper was his third of the series, and fourth on the season.
The Lyman, S.C. native has combined with Skole for all seven of Tech’s home runs this year.
“We have been talking about wanting to hit back-to-back home runs all fall and all spring,” Palka said. It was just cool to happen and it felt really good.”
The Jackets closed out their scoring with five runs on five hits in the seventh frame, led by a RBI double from Evans, his second of the game.
Rutgers starter Nathaniel Roe (1-2) allowed six runs on seven hits, and was credited with the loss after going 4.1 innings. He had five strikeouts and issued four walks.
The Jackets will host Kennesaw State for midweek action on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.