March 5, 2013
THE FLATS – No. 18 Georgia Tech poured on 12 runs over the final four innings and clubbed Mercer, 16-9, Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. Brandon Thomas had four hits and drove in three runs, while A.J. Murray had three RBI and scored three for the Yellow Jackets, who improved to 12-1 with their seventh-consecutive win.
Zane Evans and Mott Hyde each had three hits as the Yellow Jackets matched their season-high of 18 hits and reached double-digit runs for the seventh-consecutive game. That streak is the second-longest in school history, trailing a stretch of eight-consecutive games in 2005.
Eight of the nine Tech starters recorded at least one hit and scored, while seven drove in runs.
The back and forth game swung in the Jackets’ favor for good with one swing of the bat – when Murray hammered a three-run triple to the wall deep in the left-field gap as part of a five-run sixth inning. Murray’s first career triple gave Tech the lead at 8-6 and was the game’s third lead change in as many innings. Nine of his 14 RBI this season have come in the last four games.
Thomas’ RBI single earlier that frame shaved Tech’s deficit to 6-5, and Evans followed later with an RBI single for a 9-6 lead.
Mercer (11-2) got a run back in the seventh, but the Jackets kept their foot on the gas and pushed six more runs across in the bottom half to slam the door on the visitors. Thomas drove in his third run in as many innings, Kyle Wren had an RBI and Matt Gonzalez singled home two with the bases loaded.
Derrick Workman had four hits for the Bears, and gave them a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run single up the middle. Hyde’s RBI in the second cut the margin in half, but a Tech error in the fourth allowed Workman to score and push the advantage back to two runs.
Thomas and Sam Dove drove in runs during a three-run fifth inning as Tech took its first lead of the night, only to see Mercer rally again for the lead with three runs of its own in the sixth, thanks in part to a two-run home run from Austin Barrett.
Freshman Sam Clay worked 1.1 innings of relief and was in line for his first career victory (1-0). Mercer used seven pitchers in the game, and reliever David Teasley was on the hook for the loss (3-1) after giving up five runs on three hits in 1.2 innings.
Hyde, Gonzalez and Dove each extended hitting streaks to eight games, while Thomas, Murray and Palka continued streaks of reaching base in every game this season.
Tech heads to Blacksburg, Va., this weekend to open Atlantic Coast Conference play. Friday’s series opener is set for 5:30 p.m. and can be heard on WREK in Atlanta.