May 5, 2013
THE FLATS – Junior Daniel Palka launched a pair of home runs, drove in four and pitched an inning of scoreless relief, but No. 23 Georgia Tech let a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning slip away as Coastal Carolina rallied for a 12-8 victory to win the weekend series Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Chanticleers (29-18) sprinted out to a quick 5-0 lead in the third, the Yellow Jackets (29-18) answered with a five-spot in the bottom of the third, then seized a one-run lead in the fourth that they would take to the seventh. But the visitors pushed across seven in the seventh to reclaim the lead for good.
Palka, who slammed a pair of solo homers late in the ballgame to overtake teammate Zane Evans for the ACC lead with a career-best 14, was robbed of a two-run shot in the first inning as Coastal center fielder Jacob May reached over the wall for a highlight reel grab on a ball that would have given the Jackets a 2-1 lead. Palka finished the game 3-for-4, had an RBI single during the five-run third and his sacrifice fly in the fourth gave Tech the lead at 6-5.
May came right back in the top of the second to lift a two-run homer of his own that made it 4-0 — four batters after Zach Remillard led off the second with a solo shot. Will Remillard walked in the next at bat, which ended the day for Tech starter Cole Pitts.
Alex Cruz got the final out of the second and allowed just a run on three hits over the next four innings, but found trouble in the seventh. Will Remillard hit a solo homer to tie the game with one out and Coastal rallied with four consecutive singles to end Cruz’s day.
Colin Hering’s RBI single gave Coastal the lead for good as the Chanticleers sent 11 batters to the plate during their seven-run, eight-hit uprising in the seventh. Hering was 3-for-5, while May and the Remillard brothers combined to drive in seven runs.
Josh Heddinger emerged to roll a 5-4-3 double play ball that ended the seventh and the sophomore pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Palka, who led off the seventh and ninth innings with solo round-trippers to right, pitched a clean ninth inning with a strikeout in his first appearance on the mound this season.
Cruz (2-1) was on the hook for the loss, while Patrick Corbett tossed 3.1 innings in relief of starter Tyler Poole to earn the victory (2-2). Ryan Connolly pitched the final three innings to earn his 11th save.
Palka finished the weekend series 6-for-12 with a double, triple, two homers, four runs and seven RBI. Zane Evans extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 2-for-5 effort on Sunday. A.J. Murray was 3-for-5, and Kyle Wren and Brandon Thomas each had two hits.
Tech pounded out 15 hits, turned a pair of double plays, did not commit an error and left nine runners stranded.
The Jackets return to action with a two-game midweek series at Ohio State Tuesday and Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio. Tuesday’s game is on the Big Ten Network at 7:05 p.m. ET, while Wednesday’s game begins at 6:35 p.m. ET.