May 21, 2011
BLACKSBURG, Va. – No. 8 Georgia Tech (39-17, 22-8 ACC) used a three-run fourth inning to back seven strong innings from sophomore pitcher Buck Farmer for a 5-3 win over Virginia Tech (30-25, 11-19 ACC) Saturday in the regular season finale at English Field.
The Yellow Jackets earned a share of the ACC Coastal Division season title with No. 1 Virginia.
Tech’s 22 conference wins also tie a school-record, previously set by the 2005 team. With 17 freshmen on the roster, the 2011 team is the youngest in head coach Danny Hall’s 18 seasons.
“I think that says a lot about our team,” head coach Danny Hall said. “These guys didn’t let the fact that they are freshmen get in the way, and they played hard all year and I am proud of them. We had a great regular season and that’s saying a lot that we tied the school record [for conference wins in the regular season.]”
Virginia’s loss to North Carolina on Saturday gave the Jackets and the Cavaliers identical 22-8 records in conference play, making both teams ACC regular season Co-champions. Virginia, however, holds the tie-break after winning two of three against Tech earlier in the season. The Cavaliers will get the overall No. 1 seed in the 2011 ACC Tournament, while the Jackets will be the No. 3 seed and Atlantic Division winner Florida State (40-15, 19-11 ACC) the No. 2 seed.
Farmer (10-2) won his third straight game after scattering three runs on eight hits over seven innings. He recorded his eighth win in conference play, the most by any player in the ACC.
“I thought we played very well today. Buck Farmer pitched great again, and I thought Luke Bard had tremendous stuff to close the game out there in the last two innings. I felt like we did what we needed to do, came on the road in a tough place to play and won the series. It was good to end the regular season on a winning note.”
Esch’s solo home run to left field off of Virginia Tech starter Joe Parsons gave the Jackets a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Saturday.
The Hokies got the run back in the bottom half of the inning on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Michael Seaborn.
Junior Jake Davies used a sac fly RBI of his own in the third inning to score Esch from third and put Tech back on top.
The Jackets would use a three-run fourth inning to extend the lead to 5-1 on a RBI single by Skole and a 2-RBI double by Davies.
The Hokies chipped away at the lead with a solo run in both the fourth and the sixth inning to cut the lead to 5-3. Chris Kay drove in the run in the fourth with an RBI single to left field, before Tim Smalling scored on a throwing error by Esch after leading off the sixth inning with a triple.
Sophomore Luke Bard tossed the final two innings in relief of Farmer, allowing just hit while striking out five. Bard struck out the side in the eighth before fanning pinch-hitter Chad Pinder in the ninth to end the game. He recorded his eighth save of the season.
Parsons (7-3) was credited with the loss after allowing the five runs on nine hits over four innings.
The pairings for the 2011 ACC Baseball Championship will be announced by the conference office before 5 p.m. Sunday. Information on Tech’s schedule, pairings, and ticket information will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.