March 14, 2010
ATLANTA – Cole Leonida’s sacrifice fly broke a seventh-inning tie, and freshman Buck Farmer pitched four scoreless innings of relief as No. 4 Georgia Tech defeated Wake Forest, 6-5, Sunday to complete the series sweep in Atlantic Coast Conference play at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Jackets (13-1, 3-0 ACC) won their sixth-consecutive game, while Wake Forest fell to 6-10 overall and 0-3 in ACC play.
With one-out and junior Jeff Rowland on third, Leonida muscled the first pitched he saw from Wake Forest reliever Brandon Johnson (0-2) to right field, giving Rowland enough time to slide past the Demon Deacon catcher for the 6-5 lead, and the eventual win.
For the second consecutive day, the Jackets had to rally for the win. For the second consecutive game, the Tech bullpen out-dueled the Wake Forest bullpen.
Farmer (1-0) retired six of the final seven batters he faced in the final two innings of the game for his first career win Sunday. The freshman from Conyers, Ga. entered the game in the top of the sixth, and held Wake Forest to just two hits in four scoreless innings pitched while striking out three.
“Buck Farmer was outstanding,” head coach Danny Hall said. “He was really the difference in the game. He kept them off balance, threw a lot of strikes, and gave us a chance to come back. [Tony] Plagman certainly had the big home run to get us back into it, and then we found a way to get the lead and hold on to it. The story of the game for me was Buck Farmer. He was outstanding.”
Senior Tony Plagman went 1-for-1 with a home run and three RBI on the day. His two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth brought Tech within one run, at 5-4. Plagman’s shot was his sixth of the season, and the 40th of his career. He also drew two walks — one intentional — and extended his hit streak to 10 games.
Also going yard in the game was junior Thomas Nichols. The designated hitter’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh tied the game at 5-5, before Rowland doubled to right field and advanced to third on a balk by Johnson. It was just the first time Nichols went the distance all season, and a nice end to a 5-for-8 (.625), four RBI weekend at the plate.
Wake Forest’s Johnson recorded the loss, giving up the two runs -both earned — on four hits in 1.0 inning of relief.
Not to be overlooked was Leonida’s solid defense behind the plate, as the junior catcher threw out two would-be base stealers in the game. His key play was with two outs in the top of the seventh, as he threw out Wake Forest centerfielder Steven Brooks at second to eliminate the threat. Brooks entered the game 7-for-8 in stolen base attempts on the season. The Jackets return to action Tuesday, March 16, as they host rival Georgia at 7 p.m. for a televised game at Russ Chandler Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on CSS.