May 12, 2009
ATLANTA – Lyle Allen had three hits, including a run-scoring single to break a ninth-inning tie, lifting 15th-ranked Georgia past No. 7 Georgia Tech, 7-5, Tuesday night at Turner Field in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Spring Baseball Classic.
Georgia (35-17) won its second straight game on the heels of an eight-game losing streak, while Georgia Tech fell to 33-13-1 before a crowd of 24,665 that watched the 347th meeting between the two teams. The win also was the fifth straight for the Bulldogs over Tech in the annual Turner Field contest.
It was the sixth highest attendance for a regular-season game in NCAA history, and the second highest in the eight years of the Spring Baseball Classic at Turner Field.
“It was a good ball game. I was pleased that we came from behind,” said Tech coach Danny Hall. “Give them credit. They seemed to get big hits when they had guys in scoring position. We struggled a little with that, but I thought it was a pretty well-played ballgame all the way around.”
Georgia, which led for most of the game before a three-run Tech rally in the seventh tied it, scored the winning runs against Yellow Jacket reliever Zach Brewster (1-3), the sixth Tech pitcher of the night.
Brewster had come on to kill a Bulldog threat in the eighth inning, but gave up a one-out double to Rich Poythress to start the rally. After an intentional walk to Bryce Massanari, Allen drilled his third hit of the game to center field, scoring Poythress. Pinch-runner Peter Verdin also scored when center fielder Jeff Rowland’s throw to third bounced past Matt Skole.
“After (starting pitcher Zach Von Tersch), we were mixing and matching, matching righties with righties and lefties with lefties,” said Hall. “But in the end, I felt like we had one of our better bullpen guys in there trying to keep it in check with the score tired, but we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Dean Weaver (3-2), the sixth Georgia pitcher, got the win by getting the last four outs. He came on in the eighth with a Tech runner at third to force Derek Dietrich into a fly ball for the third out, and then set the Jackets down in the ninth.
“I thought we were in position maybe to take the lead in the eighth, but they got a strikeout on a good pitch,” said Hall. “(Poythress) nearly hit one out in the ninth, and I didn’t want Massanari to beat us. He’s a clutch hitter. Allen got the big hit, and the error gave them another run.”
Georgia touched Von Tersch for five runs in four innings, three earned, taking a 5-2 lead. Meanwhile, Tech had only one hit through the first five innings while the Bulldogs got excellent relief work from Justin Earls and Jeff Walters, who combined to retire 10 straight Yellow Jacket hitters at one point.
A pair of singles to lead off the Tech sixth resulted in nothing, but the Yellow Jackets got to reliever Will Harvil, Georgia’s fourth pitcher of the night, for three runs in the seventh to tie the game at 5-5. Harvil walked Dietrich and Luke Murton with one out to set up a run-scoring single by Tony Plagman, closing the gap to 5-3. Jason Haniger singled to center, but Murton was thrown out at home. After Michael Pallazone came on to replace Harvil on the mound, Chase Burnette blooped a single to left field, scoring Plagman and Haniger to tie the game.
Georgia starter Cecil Tanner lasted just 1 1/3 innings despite giving up just one hit, but he walked two and hit two batters, aiding in Tech scoring twice in the second.
Georgia struck first when Colby May was hit by a pitch in the first inning and came around to score on Lyle Allen’s single. Tech answered with a pair of runs in its half of the second, using a walk, a balk, a hit batter and an error to score twice and take a 2-1 lead.
It didn’t last long, however, when Massanari belted a two-run homer in the third, his 19th of the season, giving Georgia a 3-2 lead. The Bulldogs added a pair of runs in the fourth on Matt Cerione’s two-run single for a 5-2 lead.
Tech returns to conference play this weekend with its regular-season finale at Duke. Game times are at 7 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. The Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament begins the following Wednesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
Postgame comments by head coach Danny Hall.