March 18, 2005
ATLANTA – Jason Neighborgall pitched six strong innings and Steven Blackwood drove in five runs with three doubles to lead No. 5 Georgia Tech (17-2, 7-0 ACC) to a 9-5 win over NC State (15-6, 3-4) in the opener of a three-game ACC series on Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Tech extended its ACC-record regular season conference win streak to 23 games.
Neighborgall (5-0) won his fifth consecutive start and allowed two runs, one of which was earned, on just three hits in six innings. He pitched around six walks and struck out five batters.
The Yellow Jackets scored at least nine runs for the 18th straight game, but Tech’s school-record streak of eight straight games in double figure scoring was snapped.
Blackwood tied a Georgia Tech record with three doubles, finishing the game 3-for-5 with a season-high five RBI. Danny Payne went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, and Tyler Greene’s eighth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Andy Hawranick and Wes Hodges added two hits each.
The Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the first inning, but the Wolfpack tied the score at 1-1 in the third inning on Matt Devine’s two-out RBI single.
Tech scored two runs after two outs in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Payne singled and scored on Blackwood’s RBI double, and Hodges followed with a RBI single to score Blackwood.
NC State pulled to within 3-2 with an unearned run in the top of the six. Chris Engle singled with two outs and stole second base before scoring when Tech second baseman Mike Trapani could not handle a pop fly off the bat of Ramon Carona.
The Yellow Jackets had a chance to add to the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, loading the bases with one out on two walks and a hit batter. But NC State’s Adam McLaurin came out of the bullpen and induced a double play ground ball from Hawranick to end the threat without allowing a run.
Tech broke through for two runs in the eighth to extend the lead to 5-2. Blackwood had a two-out RBI double and then scored when a ground ball from Jeremy Slayden was misplayed at second base by Carona.
NC State pulled to within 5-3 on Matt Camp’s sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth, but Tech broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the inning to make the score 9-3. With two outs and the bases loaded, Blackwood drove in three runs with his third double of the game. Hodges followed with a RBI single.
All nine of Tech’s runs came with two outs.
The Wolfpack scored two runs off Tech reliever Jordan Crews in the ninth inning to provide the final 9-5 margin.
NC State starter Jeff Stallings (3-2) took the loss despite a solid effort, allowing two earned runs in 5.1 innings.
Engle paced the NC State offense with three hits, and Matt Devine and Aaron Bates had two hits each.
Georgia Tech and NC State will continue the series on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.