April 1, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. – Junior Mark Pope pitched his third complete game of the season, scattering one earned run on four hits to lead No. 6 Georgia Tech (22-5, 10-0 ACC) to a 9-2 win over Duke (15-13, 2-8 ACC) in the series opener Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Pope (7-0) had seven strikeouts in the outing, and earned his conference-leading seventh win of the season. The seven wins are tied for the most in the nation.
“He [Mark Pope] only had one bad inning, but other than that I thought he threw the ball well,” head coach Danny Hall said. “He got some key outs when he needed to, but once they scored those two runs I thought he was dominant for the rest of the game.”
The Jackets had great production from the bottom of the order Friday, as freshmen Daniel Palka and Mott Hyde, and sophomore Sam Dove had two hits apiece and drove in five of the team’s nine runs. Hyde, who bats eighth in the order, had three of the five RBI.
“Sam Dove and Mott Hyde are two good guys in the bottom of the order that pick us up a lot,” Hall added. “That’s what it takes. We feel like we have a solid lineup, one through nine, so it’s nice to know you have guys who can pick us up at the bottom when we have runners on.”
Junior Jacob Esch was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI to lead the Jackets at the plate. The shortstop from St. Paul, Minn. hit his team-leading 12th double of the season.
Duke starter Dillon Haviland (1-1) was credited with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits over five innings.
Duke took the game’s first lead with two runs in the third inning off of Pope. The Blue Devils were able to plate both runs without the benefit of a hit, taking advantage of a walk, an error by Esch and two wild pitches by Pope for the first run.
Duke added the other run on a sac fly to centerfield by outfielder Chris Marconcini that scored Will Piwnica-Worms from third. Piwnica-Worms reached base earlier in the inning on the fielding error.
Hyde got Tech on the board in the top half of the fourth, dropping a single to right field with two outs to score junior Jake Davies.
The Jackets would take the lead an inning later, scoring a run on freshman Zane Evans’ single to left field and adding another on an error by Duke left fielder Anthony D’Alessandro that scored Esch on the next at-bat.
That would be it for Haviland, as he was pulled to start the sixth inning for reliever Eric Pfisterer.
Tech would extend the lead to 5-2 with a pair of runs on back-to-back RBI hits by freshman Kyle Wren and Esch off of Pfisterer. Esch’s double to the gap in left center field was his third hit of the game.
The Jackets tacked on four more runs in the ninth on base hits by Palka, Hyde and Dove. Hyde brought home two of them to finish with three RBI on the night.
The series continues with game two on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.