March 11, 2011
ATLANTA – Mark Pope pitched his second straight complete game shutout, holding Maryland (8-5, 0-1 ACC) to just four hits, in No. 24 Georgia Tech’s (10-4, 1-0 ACC) 1-0 win over the Terrapins to open Atlantic Coast Conference play Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
“I was up sick all last night so I was really nervous coming out to start the game,” Pope said. “I wasn’t sure how my body was going to react, but after a couple of innings I started to feel really good.
“They [Maryland] really came out swinging because they knew I was going to throw strikes. I just tried to go after their hitters and make them work because I know I have a great defense behind me and they really came through tonight.”
Pope (4-0) was tremendous for the second-straight start, holding Maryland to just four singles all night while striking out six in the nine-innings of work. He did not issue any walks in the outing.
The junior right-hander has pitched three complete-game shutouts in his last five starts, and hasn’t allowed a single run in 25.1 consecutive innings. He lowered his overall ERA to 0.29 on the season.
“He [Mark Pope] was outstanding, and we needed him to be outstanding,” head coach Danny Hall said. “Their two guys pitched real well and it seemed like when we got guys on, if we got a base hit we hit it right at them, and I am glad we got just one run. But Mark [Pope] was outstanding.”
It was a pitcher’s duel all night, as Maryland starter Sanders Beck (0-2) held the Jackets to just one run on six hits over 6.0 innings in the loss. Beck’s only miscue was his allowing of three walks, including two consecutive in the fourth inning to load the bases with two outs for Georgia Tech.
Thomas reached base with two outs earlier in the inning on his second single of the day. He has recorded a hit in 12 consecutive games, a career best streak for the Atlanta native.
Pope went on to retire 12 consecutive Terrapin hitters from the fifth inning on, until allowing a leadoff single in the ninth.
Maryland threatened with a sacrifice bunt to push pinch runner Gary Schneider over in scoring position and just one out in the inning. Junior shortstop Jacob Esch, however, went on to make a heads up play on the ensuing at-bat, throwing the lead runner out at third base on a grounder by Korey Wacker for the second out of the inning.
Pope then struck out Tomo Delp to end the game.
The series continues at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium.