March 27, 2010
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Cole Leonida and Matt Skole went a combined 5-for-8 with seven RBI at the plate, and the Georgia Tech baseball team scored nine runs with two-outs Saturday for a 13-5 win over North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium. The Jackets clinched the series with the win.
Tech improved to 20-2 overall, 7-1 in the ACC and 6-0 when playing a game on Saturday. The team clinched a series against North Carolina for the first time since 2006, and the first time in Chapel Hill since the 2003 season.
The second game of the weekend series continues to be a huge day at the plate for the Jackets, as the team recorded double digit hits (12) and runs (13) for the sixth time this season when playing on Saturday. The Jackets have scored double digit runs in five of their last six games.
“We came right out of the gate with the back-to-back-to-back homers, and that really got us going,” head coach Danny Hall said. “To their credit, they came back on us, but I thought our bullpen, [Jake] Davies in particular, did a great job of stopping what they were doing.”
Sophomore Jake Davies (2-0) picked up his second win of the season in relief, holding the Tar Heels scoreless on just two hits in 2.1 innings Saturday. He struck out two.
Tech started the scoring in astounding fashion in the first inning, as junior Derek Dietrich, senior Tony Plagman and Leonida hit back-to-back-to-back homers off UNC starter Colin Bates for a 3-0 lead. It was the most homers allowed by the Tar Heels all season, and the first time Tech hit three-consecutive home runs in nearly 10 years when Brad Stockton, Mark Teixeira and current assistant coach Bryan Prince did it on May 13, 2000 at Wake Forest.
“I’d like to say I was trying to go back-to-back-to-back, but I wasn’t,” said catcher Cole Leonida, who hit the third home run. “[Colin] Bates got behind 2-0 in the count, and our scouting report said that he likes to throw fastballs when he is behind in the count, so I sat back on a fastball and tried to put a good swing on it. It just happened to go.”
Bates (3-1) was ousted with two outs in the third, and was credited with the loss after allowing five runs on five hits including the three home runs. He struck out four and walked two.
North Carolina came within one in the fifth, scoring three runs on a double by Brian Goodwin, a groundout out by Ryan Graepel, and another double by Seth Baldwin that cut the lead to 6-5.
One run, however, was as close as Tech would let the Tar Heels get. The Jackets tacked on five more in the seventh inning on singles by Leonida, Skole and Jacob Esch, and a double to right field by Chase Burnette.
Nine of Tech’s 13 runs scored on the day came with two outs.
“We had a lot of great two-out hits there in the end, and anytime you are getting two-out hits, you have a great chance to win,” Hall added.
Leonida finished his day going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI. “Part of it is a testament to Harvey yesterday,” said Leonida when asked about the difference in amount of hits between Friday and Saturday. ” He really threw great stuff. Today, we set the tone in the first inning and that really started the fire for us and carried the momentum. We put up a lot of good runs over a lot of innings and I thought that propelled us today.”
The Jackets closed out the scoring on another single by Skole that drove in two runs in the eighth for the 13-5 lead. Skole was 2-for-4 on the day, as his clutch two-out singles drove in four runs in the game.
Tech received strong performances out of the bullpen Saturday, as Davies, Luke Bard and Taylor Wood closed out the game in relief of Cumpton. The trio allowed just two hits and combined for five strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Because of inclement weather in the forecast Sunday, the series finale has been moved up to a 12 p.m. start. Sophomore left-hander Jed Bradley will take the mound as the Jackets look to sweep the Tar Heels.