May 18, 2001
FORT MILL, S.C. – Stephen Ghutzman and Jamie D’Antona both homered and freshman Kyle Sleeth worked seven strong innings to lead third-seeded Wake Forest (40-15) to a 4-3 win over No. 4 seed Georgia Tech (41-17) in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament on Friday night at Knights Stadium.
The Demon Deacons will face Florida State on Saturday at 12 p.m., while the Yellow Jackets will face NC State at 3:30 p.m. in an elimination game. The winners of those two contests will meet at 8 p.m. in a contest that will be televised by Fox Sports Net South, Home Team Sports and the Sunshine Network.
Sleeth (9-3) held a Tech offense that was batting .422 in the first two games of the tournament to three runs on seven hits. He scattered six walks and struck out four batters. Closer Dave Bush worked the final two innings of the game to earn his 15th save of the season.
Tech starter Steve Kelly (7-4) took the loss despite tossing his third complete game of the season. He allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out six batters.
The loss ended Georgia Tech’s seven-game winning streak in ACC Tournament play, and the Yellow Jackets lost for the first time in eight games at Knights Stadium.
A solo homer over the left center field fence from Richard Lewis, his 10th of the season, gave Tech a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Yellow Jackets had a chance to do even more damage in the top of the second inning, putting runners on first and third with only one out, but Sleeth worked out of the jam and got out of the inning without allowing a run. After getting in trouble early, Sleeth settled down to retire 14 of the next 15 batters from the second through the sixth innings.
Wake Forest’s Stephen Ghutzman gave the Demon Deacons a 2-1 lead in the second with his fourth home run of the year. The Deacons extended the lead to 3-1 in the third when they loaded the bases with one out. Jamie Athas grounded a ball to short that Tech’s Richard Lewis booted, allowing Jamie D’Antona to score. Kelly prevented any further damage by inducing a double play ball from Nick Blue to get out of the inning.
The Yellow Jackets had an opportunity to cut into the Wake Forest lead in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but Sleeth forced Jason Perry to fly out to center field to end the threat.
Wake Forest immediately answered in the bottom of that inning when D’Antona led off with a solo homer to center field, his 11th, to make the score 4-1.
Tech trimmed the lead to 4-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Victor Menocal was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then took second base on a single from Matthew Boggs. Lewis belted a one-out RBI double off the left field wall to plate Menocal and advance Boggs to second base. After Wake Forest elected to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira to load the bases, Sleeth again worked out of the jam by inducing a double play ground ball from Bryan Prince to end the inning.
Tech mounted a rally in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with no outs with a pair of walks and a single. The Deacons turned to Bush out of the bullpen, who got Menocal to ground into a double play which allowed Matt Murton to score before inducing a groundout from Brad Stockton to end the inning with Wake Forest still holding a 4-3 lead. After a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth, Bush retired the Yellow Jackets in order to close out the game.
All of Tech’s games in the ACC Tournament will be broadcast on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta) and on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com. Live scoring during the tournament will be available at www.theacc.com.