May 29, 2009
ATLANTA – Deck McGuire scattered nine hits over seven innings, and Matt Skole belted a grand slam to lead 13th-ranked Georgia Tech past cross-town neighbor Georgia State, 9-3, Friday night in a first-round game in the NCAA Atlanta Regional baseball tournament at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Ranked No. 13 in the nation and hosting a regional tournament for the ninth time in their history, the Yellow Jackets (36-17-1) won their sixth consecutive NCAA regional home game and improved to 22-13 in NCAA tournament games they have hosted.
Tech will face Southern Miss (36-23) in a winners’ bracket game at 7 p.m. Saturday. Georgia State will face Elon (40-17) at 3 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game. Southern Miss defeated Elon, 17-15, in the other first-round game Friday.
The Panthers (39-21), playing in their first NCAA Tournament game, took a 3-1 lead into the fifth inning before Tech rallied for five runs, including Skole’s bases-loaded clout.
Tech began the decisive inning with bunt singles from Connor Winn and Jeff Rowland. After Derek Dietrich sacrificed them over, GSU starter Will Palmer walked Luke Murton and Tony Plagman to force in a run. One out later, Skole belted his 16th homer of the season, the second-most by a freshman in Tech history, into the trees over the right field fence to give Tech a 6-3 lead.
The Jackets added another run on Rowland’s RBI single, and two more in the eighth with a two-out, two-run single from Murton.
McGuire (11-1) got back on the winning track after suffering his first loss of the season in the ACC Tournament last week. The sophomore from Richmond, Va., permitted three runs, but did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
Palmer (5-6) suffered the loss for Georgia State after giving up seven runs, six earned in 5-plus innings. He walked four and struck out six.
Tech got on the scoreboard in the first inning when leadoff hitter Jeff Rowland reached on an error, stole second and third and scored on a groundout, but the Panthers quickly grabbed the lead.
Bradley Logan homered for the fifth straight game as GSU scored all its runs in the second inning. The Panthers added two more in the frame when Matt Van Horn singled, made third on Marc Mimeault’s single and came all the way home when Rowland’s throw to third got away from Skole. Mimeault, who took second on the throw in, advanced to third on Brandon Williams’ single and scored on a double-play ground ball.
McGuire settled down from there, allowing four more hits in the next five innings without being seriously threatened.