March 7, 2009
ATLANTA – Jeff Rowland, Thomas Nichols, Jason Haniger, Chase Burnette and Matt Simonds all homered to lead No. 9 Georgia Tech (8-1, 2-0 ACC) to a 24-3 rout of Maryland (4-6, 0-2 ACC) Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets gave starter Zach Von Tersch (3-0) plenty of run support, and the junior righty picked up his third win in as many starts this season. Tech plated 10 runs for the third time in 2009, with all three of those games coming with Von Tersch on the mound.
The 24 runs were the most scored by the Yellow Jackets since March 3, 2006, when Tech defeated Rutgers, 25-8, and the most scored in an ACC game since the Jackets defeated Virginia Tech, 27-2, on May 14, 2005.
“We swung the bat very well today,” head coach Danny Hall said. “I thought that we had some good approaches (at the plate). It’s great when guys that don’t get to play a lot come in to get hits – that makes it fun for everybody. And I’m proud of Von Tersch – he started off very rough, but got out of that first inning and then we came in and scored to get the momentum. It was just a good day.”
Haniger and Nichols had RBI singles and Tony Plagman added a two-run double to stake the Jackets to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. A two-run homer by Haniger pushed Tech’s edge to 6-1 in the second after the Terps scored their first run on a solo home run off the bat of Jensen Pupa.
The Jackets exploded for nine runs over the next two innings to take a commanding 14-run lead. Rowland’s two-run double, which followed a two-run homer by Nichols, helped Tech to four runs in the third inning, and Rowland added a three-run homer in the fourth inning for his second hit of the game.
Rowland’s five RBI set a new career-high for the Yellow Jacket center fielder, and he joined Haniger, Derek Dietrich, Evan Martin and Matt Simonds with two hits in the game. Nichols and Plagman both went 3-for-4 to lead the Tech offense on the day.
The Jackets tacked on four more runs in the seventh inning with RBI singles from Martin, Cole Leonida and Matt Simonds and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Jason Garofalo. Chase Burnette’s eighth-inning home run, his first of the season, made the score 20-1 in Tech’s favor before Simonds belted a grand slam over the center field wall to cap the scoring later in the frame.
Simonds finished with five RBI in addition to recording the first two hits of his career.
Not to be overshadowed by the offense, Von Tersch held Maryland to just one run on three hits through five innings of work. The Cedar Falls, Iowa, native walked the first three batters he faced in the game, but struck out Gerry Spessard and forced Taylor Buran to hit into a double play to end the first inning threat. He settled down after the first, including retiring the last seven batters he faced in order.
Jake Davies worked two scoreless innings in relief of Von Tersch, facing just two over the minimum while holding the Terps hitless. Taylor Wood, making his first appearance of the season, followed with a scoreless eighth inning.
A two-run home run by pinch hitter Mike Rozak accounted for the final 21-run difference in the game.
Maryland starter Ian Schwalenberg (0-2) took the loss, giving up seven runs on five hits before being lifted in the third inning.
The Yellow Jackets will go for the series sweep Sunday afternoon, with sophomore righty Brandon Cumpton (0-0, 1.50 ERA) getting the ball for Georgia Tech, while the Terrapins counter with left-hander Matt Fullerton (2-0, 0.96 ERA). WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) will broadcast the game, and live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.