April 21, 2007
ATLANTA–Danny’s Payne’s run-scoring single in the sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie and Georgia Tech pitchers struck out a season-high 17 as the Yellow Jackets won their second straight game over 20th-ranked NC State, 4-3, Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Tech won for the 12th time in the last 15 games to improve to 25-14, 12-7 ACC, while the Wolfpack fell to 27-13, 11-9 ACC. The two teams conclude their three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Payne, the Tech centerfielder who went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in, also contributed on the mound with 1-1/3 innings of scoreless relief, all strikeouts. Starter Eddie Burns tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts and allowed just three hits in 5-2/3 innings but did not figure in the decision. He gave up three runs and walked four.
Jared Hyatt earned the win in relief to run his record to 7-0, and Brad Rulon contributed a pair of strikeouts for the final two outs to earn his first save and record his 10th consecutive scoreless outing. The four Tech pitchers allowed just six hits while walking five. The 17 strikeouts are two off the school record of 19 for a nine-inning game.
With the score tied at 3-3, Tony Plagman walked to lead off the sixth inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Chris House’s single. NC State starter Andrew Brackman struck out Jeff Ussery for the second out and then was relieved by Andrew Taylor. Payne singled to right field to score Plagman and give Tech the lead, but House was thrown out at third by rightfielder Ryan Pond to end the inning.
NC State then loaded the bases with no outs in the top of seventh but came up empty. Hyatt, who gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to start the inning, struck out Joe Florio and then got Caleb Mangum to ground into a double play.
Payne came on in the eighth and struck out four straight batters before yielding a double to Ryan Pond, and then Rulon nailed down the victory by striking out pinch hitter Marcus Jones and Tommy Foschi.
The Jackets led 3-1 when NC State tied the score on a two-run home run by Mike Roskopf, his eighth of the season.
Tech scratched for a run in the first inning as Danny Payne reached on a walk, advanced to second on a balk and then moved to third on a wild pitch. Brackman struck out Fisher and Wieters, but Wally Crancer came through with a single to right center to score Payne.
The Wolfpack answered in the third as Dallas Poulk drew a walk and then came around to score on Joe Florio’s two-out double to right center. Paulk just slid around the tag of catcher Matt Wieters.
But Tech regained the lead in the bottom of the inning. Wieters singled with two outs and then scored on Crancer’s double into the right field corner.
The Jackets added a run in the fourth on after a series of unconventional plays. Tony Plagman led off with a single and then Patrick Long walked. Attempting to bunt, Chris House popped the ball in front of the plate, and Plagman was cut down at third. Jeff Ussery hit a ground ball that shortstop Ramon Corona booted, and it appeared the Jackets would have the bases loaded with one out. But Long was caught off third base, forcing a run down that resulted in the Jackets having Ussery at second and Long at third with two outs. Payne’s single brought home Long to extend Tech’s lead to 3-1, but Ussery, trying to score from second, was thrown out at the plate by leftfielder Jeremy Synan.
Burns worked out of a jam in the fifth after he walked Corona and Pond to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out, but Burns struck out Drew Martin and Joe Florio to end the threat.
Fisher extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a fifth-inning single while House hit safely in his 10th straight contest.
Brackman, the Wolfpack’s 6-10 righty and former basketball standout, struck out nine in 5-2/3 innings but took the loss, falling to 6-4. He allowed four runs on eight hits and walked four.
Radio coverage for Sunday’s series finale is on WQXI-AM 790 the Zone, and live stats are available at www.ramblinwreck.com.