April 14, 2013
THE FLATS – Sophomore Cole Pitts limited Virginia to just two runs and two hits over 5.1 innings, and No. 19 Georgia Tech took down the fifth-ranked Cavaliers, 3-2, Sunday afternoon to clinch the key ACC series in a rain-shortened game at Russ Chandler Stadium.
A.J. Murray’s RBI double broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning and Thomas Smith’s RBI single added insurance. The victory improved the Jackets to 26-10 overall and 11-7 in the ACC with their first series win over the Cavaliers since 2008. UVa slipped to 31-6, 13-5.
With rain falling for much of the game and field conditions deteriorating, the game was halted by the umpires at 3:12 p.m. after Mott Hyde led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and slipped rounding first base. Following a 45-minute delay, and with Virginia’s travel curfew of 4:20 p.m. approaching, the game was made official by the umpires with Tech leading 3-2.
“He pitched really well,” said head coach Danny Hall of his sophomore starting pitcher. “That’s the best stuff he’s had all year. I thought our hitters had much better approaches today and we got hits when we needed them. But Cole was the story. He kept them off-balance and King got us two big outs in the sixth.”
Pitts limited the Cavaliers to just a pair of hits over his 5.1 innings, after UVa collected 10 hits in Friday’s game and added 12 more Saturday. The Moultrie, Ga., native fanned six and walked two in improving to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC – his first win since March 17.
Jared King launched a solo homer with one out in the top of the sixth to pull Virginia within 3-2 and end Pitts’ day. Freshman lefty Jonathan King was called on and retired Joe McCarthy and Brandon Downes, to keep the lead secure. The rain-shortened game would allow King to be credited with his second save.
“They had McCarthy coming up who’s a really good left-handed hitter and Downes is a real good hitter, so we wanted to give them a different look, and Cole had done his job,” said Hall. “King came in and got two big outs.”
Pitts retired the first six batters of the game with four strikeouts, but Virginia manufactured the game’s first run after Reed Gragnani led off the third with a single and eventually scored on Nate Irving’s ground out.
Tech got that run right back in the bottom of the third thanks to a lead-off double from Thomas Smith and an RBI two-bagger from Brandon Thomas. The Jackets left the bases loaded in the third, but went right back to work in the fourth when Murray’s RBI double to the right-field gap scored Matt Gonzalez to break the tie, and Smith’s RBI single to right provided much-needed insurance.
“Brandon shot the ball down the line, Murray shot one into the gap and Smith had a very good day at the plate,” said Hall. “Up and down the lineup we had better at-bats today.”
Smith finished 2-for-2, while six other Jackets collected one hit each.
Virginia starter Nick Howard was charged with five hits and three runs in 3.1 innings and was hung the loss (4-3).
Tech is back in action Tuesday night at 6 p.m., hosting Savannah State. The seven-game homestand wraps up next weekend when N.C. State visits for another crucial ACC series at the Rusty C.