May 16, 2014
THE FLATS – Daniel Spingola was 3-for-4 with a home run, while Devin Stanton and Sam Clay combined to whitewash USF, 3-0, Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium as the Yellow Jackets evened the series.
Stanton scattered four hits over five strong innings and Clay finished the final four innings as the Jackets picked up their fifth shutout win and improved to 31-24. The Bulls slipped to 26-28.
“Devin threw the ball really well and Sam came in and did the job behind him,” said head coach Danny Hall. “We got a few runs early and couldn’t scratch after that so they had to make those runs stand up.”
Spingola recorded his 26th career multi-hit game (21st this season) and extended his ACC lead with 72 hits. His solo blast to right that led off the third inning made it 3-0, and the junior from Roswell, Ga., followed with singles in the fifth and seventh.
“He had a nice night and it’s good to see because I thought he had a great approach and we need him to stay hot,” said Hall.
Tech broke the scoreless tie as senior Mitch Earnest delivered a two-out, two-run single to left, scoring Connor Justus, who walked, and Ryan Peurifoy, who smacked his sixth double to his five-game hitting streak.
Those three runs would be all Stanton and Clay needed. Stanton, who has yielded just five runs over his last seven starts (41.2 innings), scattered four hits with one walk and five strikeouts to improve to 5-3. Clay fanned four with no walks over four innings to nail down his team-leading seventh save.
Clay retired the first nine Bulls he faced, but pulled his best Houdini act in the ninth after three consecutive USF singles with no outs brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate. Clay, though, got Nick Alfonso and Daniel Portales swinging for the first two outs.
In stepped Zac Gilcrease who bounced a slow chopper up the middle, but shortstop Connor Justus made a dazzling play and fired to first for the game’s final out.
“He (Clay) did a really nice of wiggling out of there,” said Hall. “And CJ (Justus) made very nice play to end the game. It wasn’t an easy play, but he made it look easy.”
Mott Hyde was 1-for-4 and his first-inning single extended his reached-base streak to an ACC-leading 33 games.
The loss fell to Casey Mulholland (4-2), who was on the hook for all three runs and eight in seven innings. Kyle Teaf and Levi Borders each had two hits for USF.
Tech, which has clinched a spot in the 2014 ACC Championship, brings the regular season to a close Saturday in the rubber game of the series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN3.