April 10, 2012
ATLANTA – Alex Cruz pitched 4.2 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief, and Georgia Tech pounded out 12 hits in beating Mercer, 6-4, Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. Jake Davies and Mott Hyde each had two RBI for the Yellow Jackets, while Connor Lynch had three hits.
Tech (20-14) scored three times in the second to grab a 3-2 lead, pushed the go-ahead run across in the fourth and got solid efforts on the mound from Cruz and Zane Evans to snap a three-game skid overall and two-game slide in the series to Mercer (20-14).
“I thought Alex Cruz was very good,” said head coach Danny Hall, who won his 799th game as Tech’s head coach. “He came in and settled the game down, let us score some runs and get ahead. He’s using all his pitches, throwing strikes and working fast.”
The win improved the Jackets to 6-3 in midweek games this season, and 5-3 versus in-state opponents.
Hyde’s two-RBI single through the left side put Tech on the board in the second and Sam Dove ripped a single up the middle for a 3-2 lead. After the Bears answered with a run in the third, the Jackets took the lead for good in the fourth when Jake Davies singled home Hyde for a 4-3 advantage.
Brandon Thomas, who finished 2-for-3, rocketed an RBI triple — his team-leading fifth three-bagger this season — to center and Davies followed with another RBI single, pushing the lead to 6-3 in the sixth.
Cruz set the tone from the start, entering the game with the bases loaded and one out in the third and promptly rolling an inning-ending double play. It was the first of three double plays turned by the Jackets — all ended innings.
Evans pitched a scoreless eighth, but survived a rocky ninth to nail down his second save of the season, while Cruz matched his longest career appearance and improved to 2-1.
Lynch matched his career high with three hits, and Thomas, Davies and Hyde chipped in two hits each. Davies extended his hitting streak to seven games, while Thomas extended his streak of reaching base to 35 games, which includes the final two games of 2011.
Austin Barrett was 2-for-3 and his solo home run put the Bears on the board in the second inning. Mercer used eight pitchers in the game and reliever Dimitri Kourtis was on the hook for Tech’s go-ahead run and absorbed the loss (6-2).
The Jackets hit the road for a crucial ACC series at Wake Forest this weekend. The series is underway Friday at 6 p.m.