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Sweep Prevention

April 10, 2011

By Kevin Ksionzyk
Special to Sting Daily

Behind the pitching of Buck Farmer and the clutch hitting of Jake Davies, Georgia Tech beat Virginia 10-8 Sunday afternoon to salvage a big weekend series in the ACC.

The environment was intense.

Both teams wanted a victory badly, so the atmosphere at Russ Chandler Stadium resembled that of a playoff. Top-ranked Virginia was going for the sweep and No. 8 Tech wanted to prevent one. Fans were cheering, booing and becoming ornery while hanging on every moment. Every pitch, swing and catch was of importance and the Yellow Jackets rose to the occasion.

From the first pitch, Tech was focused and ready.

Kyle Wren lead off the game by hitting the first pitch down the right-field line for a double, and the Yellow Jackets never looked back. It was clear how important this game was for them, and evident in their play.

What hurt the Jackets Saturday night helped them Sunday. Untimely walks and hit batsmen by Virginia pitchers and clutch two-out hitting by Davies was the difference. Davies went 4-for-4 with a walk, and three RBI and most of his damage was done with two outs. It was clear Davies was locked in all game.

“They pitched a righty who was throwing me lots of fastballs so I just sat back and tried to drive the ball to left field,” he said. “We just came focused and ready to play today, we got back to playing Georgia Tech baseball.”

The Jackets also got big contributions from Brandon Thomas and Mott Hyde, as both homered. Matt Skole and Kyle Wren each had multiple hits.

Tech got plenty of help on the mound from Farmer. He downright pitched his tail off. With a fastball in the low 90s, and quality off-speed pitches, he battled from the first inning.

Virginia hitters are extremely disciplined and rarely get themselves out. They take every pitch seriously and force an opposing pitcher to do the same. That’s exactly what Farmer did, and by his stat line – seven innings pitched, 10 hits allowed, and four earned runs allowed among seven total — he definitely worked for all his outs.

It may not have been the complete game head coach Danny Hall talks about, as the Jackets committed three errors, but when you play a quality program like Virginia and win despite making mistakes it is a good thing. “Make no mistake about it, Virginia is the standard in our league so to come out with a win is big,” Hall said.

The Jackets are only one game back of Virginia in Coastal Division standings. It is uncertain how the rest of the season will play out, of course, but the Cavaliers are definitely in the driver’s seat.

A college baseball season is a marathon so it is important to peak at the right time and the Jackets have plenty of season left.

Their next test comes Tuesday at Russ Chandler versus in-state rival Georgia. The Bulldogs are on a winning streak right now so a victory over them would definitely bode well for the Jackets.

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