March 23, 2010
MACON, Ga. – Home runs by Thomas Nichols and Matt Skole highlighted a seven-run fourth inning, and eight starters had at least one hit to lift No. 3 Georgia Tech to a 15-8 win over Mercer Tuesday evening at Claude Smith Field in Macon, Ga.
Tech improved to 17-2 overall on the season, and 4-0 against in-state opponents with wins over Georgia Southern (2-0), Georgia (1-0) and now Mercer.
Eight of Tech’s nine starters had at least one hit Tuesday, eight of the nine scored at least one run, and all nine reached based in the first of two mid-week games against the Bears.
“I thought we swung the bat well and had some great at-bats today,” head coach Danny Hall said. “We need to clean our defense up a little as Pope deserved some better support, but overall, I thought we played well.”
Junior Derek Dietrich led Tech at the plate with a 4-for-5, four RBI performance in the game. The four hits were a career-high for Dietrich, who was named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list earlier Tuesday, an award given to the nation’s best shortstop.
Junior Jeff Rowland was 3-for-4 with four runs scored at the leadoff spot, reaching base in his first four plate appearances.
Sophomore Mark Pope improved to 2-0 on the year with the win. Pope worked 6.0 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits. He had seven strikeouts on the day.
After hitting in the eight-hole the last two games, Rowland moved back to the leadoff spot Tuesday. Rowland led-off off the game with a home run to right field, his third game to do so this season.
He then scored his second run of the game in the second as Dietrich singled him home in the second inning for a 2-0 lead.
Tech exploded for seven more runs in the fourth, highlighted by a two-run homer by Nichols to center and a three-run shot to left center by Skole. Dietrich also picked up his third single of the game in the inning, and stole his fifth base of the season, which currently leads the team.
The Jackets plated two more for an 11-0 lead in the fifth. Freshman Brandon Thomas was walked with one out, before Rowland reached base for the fourth straight at-bat with a single to right field. Dietrich then hit a grounder to second that bounced out of the glove of Mercer’s Nick Adams to score both Thomas and Rowland.
Mercer starter Russell Moses was lifted in the fourth inning, after allowing five runs – all earned – on seven hits in 3.0 innings pitched. He had two strikeouts on two walks while falling to 0-2 on the season.
Pope retired ten-straight batters from the beginning of the second to the beginning of the fifth inning, before Mercer hit him up for five runs on six hits. The Bears scored two on a single by catcher Nick Dimauro, and three on a home run to left field by third baseman Jacob Tanis. It was just the first home run allowed by Pope on the season in 16.2 innings pitched.
Tech would score three more in the third, and one more in the seventh that came off a solo shot to right field by Chase Burnette. It was Burnette’s sixth of the season and made it 15-6.
The two teams will play in Atlanta Wednesday, for game two of the home and home series at 6 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.