March 4, 2011
ATLANTA – Mark Pope tossed his second career complete-game shutout to lead No. 23 Georgia Tech to a 10-0 win over Rutgers in game one of two on Friday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium. Game two is currently in progress.
Pope (3-0) scattered four hits over nine innings, striking out six batters while not issuing a single walk to the Scarlet Knights. The junior from Marietta, Ga. has tossed two complete games in his last four starts, the last coming in the 2010 NCAA regional opener against Mercer on June 4.
Pope has now pitched 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings since allowing a run in the fifth inning of the season-opener against Kent State on Feb. 18.
“I felt really good coming in from the beginning,” Pope said. “That was something I was really trying to work on where I wasn’t so tensed up and pumped before the game. I was just trying to throw my two-seam on the inside half of the plate and let it just run and take off.”
In defense of Pope, the Jackets turned a season-high three double plays. Junior Jacob Esch and freshman Mott Hyde flip-flopped positions in the middle infield for the first time this season, with Esch now playing shortstop and Hyde at second base.
“I like how [Jacob Esch] was playing at short, and Mott [Hyde] obviously will have a good glove no matter where he is,” Pope added. “They were definitely on their A-game today. Double plays, those are something you really love to have behind you and it helps to keep your pitch count down too.”
Georgia Tech was just as hot at the plate, scoring 10 runs on a season-high 19 hits. Every player in the lineup recorded at least one hit, while seven of the nine had multiple hits.
Junior first baseman Jake Davies led the team with a 4-for-4, three RBI output. He had two doubles on the afternoon. The four hits and three RBIs were both career highs for Davies, who has hits in five consecutive at-bats.
Rutgers starter Tyler Gebler (1-1) was credited with the loss after allowing three runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings.
Tech junior Matt Skole broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run to left field in the third inning. It was Skole’s second homer of the season.
The Jackets added a run in both the fourth and fifth frames, before freshman Daniel Palka made it 4-0 with a solo shot of his own in the sixth inning.
Tech closed out the scoring with a six run, five hit eighth frame that saw doubles by Davies and sophomore Brandon Thomas. Thomas was 3-for-5 to extend his current hit streak to seven games.