March 19, 2014
PANTHERSVILLE, Ga. – Matt Gonzalez and A.J. Murray each pounded out three hits and three rookie pitchers held down the Panthers as Georgia Tech won at Georgia State, 9-4, Wednesday night for the Jackets’ fourth straight win.
Tech matched its season-high with seven doubles, getting two each from Murray and Mott Hyde, and improved to 13-8 overall. The Yellow Jackets have won four straight and six of their last seven.
After allowing two runs on three hits in the first inning, freshman lefty Ben Parr retired the final 13 hitters he faced in order and – thanks to a five-run inning by the Jackets in the fifth – left the game in line for his first victory. Rookies Zac Ryan and Matthew Gorst closed out the Panthers, who slipped to 10-11.
“I was impressed with Ben,” said head coach Danny Hall. “He really settled in after the first inning and threw all of his pitches for strikes. Zac gets out of there with no runs if don’t make an error and Gorst really looked good again.”
Parr yielded two runs on three hits with no walks and four strikeout in his first career start and improved with 1-0.
Tech was held in check by GSU starter Tyler McClure until sending nine hitters to the plate during a five-run, five-hit inning in the sixth. Hyde led off with a double and Gonzalez’s one-out RBI single to left put the Jackets on the board.
Murray’s RBI single two batters later tied the game at 2-2, and the visitors took the lead for good when Brandon Gold smoked an RBI double to left. Two more Jackets scored when Daniel Spingola’s grounder was misplayed by the GSU infield.
“McClure really mowed through the order early,” said Hall. “But I felt the more we saw him, the better at bats we got and we got a big inning.”
The first five hitters in Tech’s order combined for 12 hits, five RBI and scored six times.
Thomas Smith’s RBI single in the seventh allowed Tech to pad its lead, and after the Panthers got two back in the bottom of the seventh, the Jackets went right back to work in the eighth.
Spingola, who led off the inning by legging out an infield single, eventually scored from third on a wild pitch. After Ryan Peurifoy doubled, Connor Justus rifled an RBI single to left and Gonzalez followed next when he launched an RBI two-bagger off the left-field wall.
Ryan was on the hook for a pair of unearned runs in two innings of relief, and Gorst fanned four Panthers over the final two scoreless innings.
McClure (1-2) absorbed the loss for the Panthers, while Chad Prain had two of the GSU’s six hits
Tech returns to action this weekend with an ACC series at No. 13 North Carolina. Friday’s series-opener is set for 5 p.m. on ESPN3.