June 3, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Senior Evan Martin closed his college career with a home run and a triple, but No. 24 Georgia Tech was eliminated by top-ranked Florida, 15-3, Sunday night in the championship game of the Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium.
The loss ends Tech’s season at 38-26, but not before a remarkable postseason run that saw the Yellow Jackets roll through the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament undefeated for its eighth title, and then win twice in Gainesville to reach an NCAA Regional title game for the fifth consecutive season.
Sam Dove, who also homered in the game, was named to the Gainesville Region All-Tournament Team, along with Brandon Thomas and Zane Evans. Dove finished the tournament 6-for-16 with a homer, two RBI and four runs, while Thomas was 7-for-15 with a home run, three RBI and three runs.
Evans had three hits, an RBI and pitched three scoreless innings earlier on Sunday to record a save in Tech’s 3-0 win over College of Charleston in an elimination game.
“A loss is a loss and it’s a tough way to go out,” said Thomas. “I’m proud of how our team played through the NCAA Tournament and down here, but it’s tough to go out this way.”
The national No. 1-seed Gators (45-18), who played in the College World Series championship game last season, jumped on the Jackets with four runs in the first inning, and never looked back.
Nolan Fontana and Preston Tucker each has two hits, and each scored three times, while Mike Zunino hit a three-run home run, and finished the night with four RBI and scored three times.
“We got off to a tough start,” said head coach Danny Hall. “We walked a couple guys, were behind 4-0 after the first and then Zunino hit the bomb in the second. We were behind the eight-ball early, and when you’re playing someone as good as Florida is, with as good of pitching as they have, it’s a tough uphill climb from there.”
Martin’s homer to left, his first of the season and the fourth of his career, made it a 7-1 game in the third. But Florida got that run back in the fourth, and blew the open with a seven-run uprising in the fifth.
Dove’s third homer of the season came in the sixth, and freshman A.J. Murray collected his first career RBI on a sacrifice fly to score Martin in the eighth, after his triple to the wall in deep right field.
Senior Jake Davies, the ACC Tournament MVP who helped orchestrate Tech’s postseason run both offensively and on the mound, absorbed the loss for the Yellow Jackets in his final career game. Davies was touched for five hits and seven runs (six earned) in two innings and slipped to 1-4. Relievers Clay Dalton (2 1/3 innings) and Jonathon Roberts pitched no-hit ball over the final 3 1/3 innings.
Brian Johnson worked five innings, allowing just a run and three hits to pick up the win (8-4), as the Gators clinched their fourth consecutive appearance in the Super Regional.