May 3, 2014
THE FLATS – Behind another gem from Devin Stanton, Georgia Tech scored the game’s final three runs and rallied to defeat Virginia Tech, 3-1, Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium to earn the series win.
The Yellow Jackets were limited to six hits, but freshman Connor Justus dealt the key blow with an RBI single in the sixth inning that broke a 1-1 tie — his fourth game-winning RBI this season (three in ACC play). Matt Gonzalez’s RBI single in the eighth tacked on insurance.
With the win, Georgia Tech improved to 28-19 overall, 14-12 in the ACC and more importantly moved into sole possession of sixth place in the league standings. The Hokies fell to 18-27-1, 7-19.
Stanton (4-3) was in command over a career-high seven innings, scattering six hits, one run, with two walks and five strikeouts. The only blemish came in third when there were Hokies at the corners with two outs. Miguel Ceballos doubled, moved to third on a grounder and Alex Perez walked.
Stanton threw to first to hold Perez close, but Ceballos broke home on the play, slid safely under tag and his successful steal of home gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. The lefty from Lilburn, Ga., would work around two-out hits in the fifth and sixth, and a two-out walk in the seventh to dodge further trouble.
“He pitched really well and we needed him to do that today,” said head coach Danny Hall. “He probably threw a few more pitches than we would have liked, but he said he felt good and we wanted to get at least the seventh inning out of him and then give the ball to Sam (Clay).”
The Yellow Jackets answered Ceballos’ steal of home and pulled even in the fourth when A.J. Murray took an 0-1 offering from former Yellow Jacket Brad Markey and launched a game-tying home run to right — his team-leading fourth blast of the season.
“We didn’t have many hits today but they were timely,” said Hall. “Murray’s home run gave us a big lift and I thought it was important to get that insurance run in the eighth. It’s a good win. We won the series and hoping we can come out and play with a lot of energy tomorrow.”
Mott Hyde kick-started Tech’s decisive rally in the sixth, reaching on a one-out single. He swiped second and took third on an error by the Hokie catcher. Murray walked with two outs, setting the stage for Justus, who jumped on the first pitch from Markey and singled through the right side for a 2-1 lead.
Daniel Spingola smoked his ACC-leading sixth triple to the left-field gap in the eighth and Gonzalez drove him in with a one-out single to pad the lead.
Sam Clay pitched the final scoreless two innings with two strikeouts to nail down his fifth save.
The run allowed by Stanton was just the third he’s yielded in four home starts this season (25.0 innings). He allowed two runs to No. 22 Miami, and tossed six-inning shutouts at versus Duke and No. 1 Florida State.
Markey went the distance for the Hokies, allowing six hits and three runs but falling to 2-7. Brendon Hayden had two of Virginia Tech’s seven hits.
The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.