Feb. 16, 2013
THE FLATS – Junior RF Daniel Palka finished 4-for-4, including a towering home run to right field as No. 21 Georgia Tech pounded out 14 hits and zipped past Akron, 10-3, Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium to win the season-opening series.
Palka finished with three RBI, scored twice and matched his career high in hits. Freshman 2B Matt Gonzalez was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two stolen bases, while sophomore 1B A.J. Murray chipped in a pair of singles and drove in a run.
“Palka got us off to a great start and hit a long home run, but the middle of the order came through today and that was a good sign,” said head coach Danny Hall. “It was also good for us to get to play a lot of guys, and get guys some innings.”
The Jackets (2-0) go for the series sweep on Sunday, with a 1 p.m. first pitch.
For the second game in a row, Tech seized a 1-0 in the first inning, then tacked on three more in the second and never looked back. Murray drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning to open the scoring, and a bases-loaded two-RBI single from Palka made it 4-0 in the second.
Akron (0-2) scratched across a run in the fourth – the only blemish in five innings of work for junior starter Dusty Isaacs – but Tech slammed the door with a five-spot in the bottom half thanks to RBIs from Zane Evans, Gonzalez, Mitch Earnest and Kyle Wren.
Palka’s blast in the fifth inning – his first of the season and 25th of his career – cleared the trees which line the outfield wall in right field and capped Tech’s scoring.
Isaacs picked up the win by allowing just three hits and a run with six strikeouts over five innings. Junior Jonathan Roberts was tagged with two unearned runs in two innings of relief, and sophomore Josh Heddinger and senior Clay Dalton each fired scoreless frames to close it out.
Akron starter Pat Dyer lasted just four outs and was charged the loss after yielding four runs on four hits with four walks and no strikeouts. Brady Stewart and James Sheltrown each had two hits for the visitors.
Palka’s previous career-high of four hits came on a 4-for-5 effort in a 9-8 win over North Carolina on May 14, 2011 – a game in which his walk-off single was the difference.