May 17, 2003
ATLANTA – David Hicks went 4-for-5and Vern Sterry worked seven strong innings to lead No. 9 NC State (39-14, 15-9) to a 7-2 win over No. 10 Georgia Tech (39-15, 17-7 ACC) on Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium in the regular season finale for both schools. The Wolfpack salvaged the final game of the series after the Yellow Jackets claimed wins on Thursday and Friday nights.
With the win, NC State clinched the No. 3 seed in next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Salem,. Va., and will face No. 6 seed Virginia in the first round on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Georgia Tech will be the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will face seventh-seeded Wake Forest on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Sterry improved to 11-0 and established a new school record for most consecutive wins in a season. The right-hander held the Yellow Jackets in check for seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits. He issued one walk and struck out four batters.
The Yellow Jackets took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning when Andy Hawranick led off with a single, moved to second on Eric Patterson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Steven Blackwood’s RBI single to left field.
The Wolfpack answered with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. After a double from David Hicks and a walk to Colt Morton put runners on first and second bases with one out, Lee Mezistrano delivered a RBI double down the right field line to score Hicks with the first run of the inning. Joe Gaetti followed with a RBI groundout to score Morton, while Mezistrano scored the final run of the inning when Marc Maynor reached base on Tech shortstop Tyler Greene’s throwing error.
NC State batted around and broke the game open with a three-run fifth inning to make the score 6-1 The Wolfpack loaded the bases with no outs on a single, double and walk before David Hicks had a RBI single and Colt Morton added a two-run double. Hicks singled and scored on Gaetti’s RBI double in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 7-1.
Blackwood, who went 3-for-4, doubled and scored on a wild pitch to pull Tech to within 7-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Yellow Jackets could do no further damage against NC State reliever Joey Devine, who worked the final two innings of the game and allowed one run on three hits while striking out five batters.
Tech starter Chris Goodman (8-3) took the loss, surrendering three runs on five hits in four innings.
Georgia Tech will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Salem, Va., and the Yellow Jackets will face seventh seeded Wake Forest in the first round on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Radio coverage for all of Tech’s games in the double elimination tournament will be available on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta), while live statistics and the radio broadcast will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.