April 25, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Micah Owings hit his team-leading 13th home run of the year and Nick Wagner pitched out of jams in the eighth and ninth innings as Georgia Tech (25-17, 7-5 ACC) defeated No. 12 Florida State (27-16, 6-6), 7-6, on Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets’ win completed the weekend sweep of the Seminoles, marking the first time Florida State has been swept at home in a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series since joining the league in 1992, a span of 51 series.
Tech starter Brian Burks (3-5) pitched into the eighth inning to earn the win, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out six. Wagner picked up his first save of the season by getting the final four outs of the game and striking out two. He escaped a jam in the eighth inning and pitched out of trouble following an error to lead off the ninth inning.
Tech’s Eric Patterson manufactured an unearned run in the top of the first when he drew a walk to lead off the game, moved to second on a wild pickoff attempt, took third on Tyler Greene’s groundout and scored on Steven Blackwood’s sacrifice fly. The Seminoles tied the game at 1-1 with an unearned run in the bottom of the inning, scoring when Stephen Drew successfully executed the back end of a double steal in a first and third base situation.
The Yellow Jackets scored four runs in the fourth inning to chase FSU starter Rhett James and take a 5-1 lead. Blackwood singled with one out and Owings hit a two-run homer over the right field wall. Tech then loaded the bases when Brandon Boggs was hit by a pitch, Clifton Remole singled, and Mike Nickeas walked before Whit Robbins delivered a sacrifice fly and Mike Trapani added a two-out RBI single.
The Seminoles cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning on a RBI single from Bryan Zech. Florida State had a chance to pull even closer with runners on first and second and only one out, but Burks worked out of the jam and retired the next two hitters on flyouts to end the inning.
The Yellow Jackets added two unearned runs in the top of the eighth to extend the lead to 7-2. Owings was hit by a pitch and scored on second baseman Bryan Zech’s fielding error, while Robbins’ second sacrifice fly of the game drove in Remole with the second run of the inning.
Florida State answered with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, making the score 7-6. Stephen Drew was hit by a pitch and Eddy Martinez-Esteve singled to lead off the inning before Gibbs Chapman hit a three-run homer, his third of the year, off Tech reliever Ryan Self. Consecutive singles from Aaron Cheesman and Ryne Malone put runners on first and third bases and pinch hitter Brant Peacher scored Cheesman with a sacrifice fly before Wagner struck out Danny Wardell to end the inning.
Tech had an opportunity to add insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, putting runners on first and third with no outs and loading the bases with one out, but FSU reliever Brian Schultz worked out of the jam by striking out Blackwood and Boggs before getting a groundout from Remole. The inning was delayed for nearly 30 minutes as the umpires attempted to resolve a rules issue following a Florida State substitution that involved the pitcher, right fielder and designated hitter.
In the bottom of the ninth, Shane Robinson reached on a error by first baseman Whit Robbins to lead off the inning, but Wagner got fly outs from Drew and Martinez-Esteve before striking out Chapman to end the game.
James (4-2) took the loss, allowing five runs in 3.2 innings.
Georgia Tech will take a week off for spring semester final exams before returning to play next weekend at NC State for a three-game ACC series.