June 5, 2011
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech baseball team’s (42-21) season came to a close on Sunday evening with a 7-3 loss to Mississippi State (37-23) at Russ Chandler Stadium in the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
After defeating Austin Peay 12-2 in the afternoon to advance to Sunday’s regional final, the Yellow Jackets ran out of pitching, and combined with miscues in the field, led to an early Mississippi State lead. The Bulldogs, playing as the home team by virtue of having been the home team the fewest times in the regional, scored runs in the bottom of the first, second and third innings, building a 6-0 lead after three innings.
Mississippi State now advances to face the No. 2 national seed Florida Gators in a Super Regional June 10-13.
“This was definitely a disappointing loss. I want to congratulate Mississippi State, I think they are playing very well and I thought they played good here tonight,” head coach Danny Hall said. “I don’t think we played particularly well, I just looked here and saw that we gave up one earned run.
“That’s really what did us in, our miscues in the field gave them extra opportunities to score and extra outs and they capitalized on them,” Hall continued. “I felt like we hung in and Luke Bard really gave us a chance to hang in the game, he came in and pitched very well. I didn’t think the first couple of guys pitched bad I just felt like we made some miscues and made them make some pitches they could not quite execute.”
For the game, the Jackets committed five errors and only one of Mississippi State’s seven runs was earned.
The Bulldogs got on the board early with one run in the bottom of the first. C.T. Bradford singled to right off of Georgia Tech starter DeAndre Smelter. Bradford moved around the bases on a sac bunt and a wild pitch before scoring on a single to through the right side by Nick Vickerson.
Mississippi State added a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the second. Jonathan Ogden reached on a single to left center and advanced to second on a bunt by Wes Thigpen. Both Ogden and Thigpen scored on a Bradford double down the leftfield line.
MSU’s Jaron Shepherd doubled to deep left center in the bottom of the third and advanced to third on a throwing error, and came around to score when Brent Brownlee singled through the left side of the infield.
The Bulldogs’ Bradford would continue to cause problems for the Yellow Jackets when he drove in an additional pair of runs in the bottom of the third, upping the State lead to 6-0.
“Bradford killed us with his two hits, DeAndre [Smelter] hung a split-finger to him and he hit it down the left field line, then I think he got the hit to right field to knock in two other guys,” Hall said. “Four RBIs tonight and that’s probably the difference in the game. It’s a disappointing loss, I thought my guys battled hard. We played a lot of baseball today in pretty extreme heat and gave it everything they have got we just did not play good enough.”
The Yellow Jackets broke through for their first run in the top of the fourth. Matt Skole reached base and advanced to second on a throwing error by MSU second baseman Nick Vickerson. The next Tech batter, Daniel Palka, singled through the right side, driving in Skole.
Zane Evans added the Jackets’ second run of the game, cutting the gap to 6-2, with a two-out home run over the left field wall in the top of the fifth.
The Bulldogs added their final run of the evening in the bottom of the sixth. Jarrod Parks reached on a throwing error by Tech shortstop Jacob Esch with one out. After stealing second, he advanced to third on an Adam Frazier single to left. Shepherd then drove in Parks with a single to right field, putting State up 7-2.
Georgia Tech added one run in the top of the ninth, but a Yellow Jacket rally fell short. Matt Skole had a one out single to right center. The junior went first to third on a Palka single through the right side, and scored when Esch pulled a single.
With two on and one out, Jake Davies came to the plate but went down swinging. Palka and Esch then moved up to second and third, but Sam Dove’s 3-2 liner was caught by Mississippi State right fielder Jaron Shepherd to end the game.
“It doesn’t matter where your season ends, it hurts,” Hall said. “This was certainly a disappointing loss and it hurts inside, and will for a long time. It’ll probably hurt until we start practice in the fall.”
The Bulldogs’ got a complete game from starting pitcher Nick Routt (3-3), who scattered six hits, allowed three runs, two of which were earned, and struck out six. Smelter (2-1) took the loss for Tech after going two and a third, allowing six hits and six runs, only one of which was earned.
In total, the Jackets used four pitchers, Smelter, Dusty Isaacs, Luke Bard and Kevin Jacob. Isaacs faced three batters, allowed one hit and struck out one. Bard went four and a third innings, giving up just two hits, allowing only an unearned run and striking out two. Jacob faced four batters in the bottom of the eighth, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Georgia Tech’s Daniel Palka and Zane Evans were both named to the NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament Team. Mississippi State’s C.T. Bradford, with a pair of key hits Sunday night against the Yellow Jackets, was named the region’s Most Outstanding Player.
NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament Team
Name, Pos, School
Daniel Palka, DH, Georgia Tech
Zane Evans, C, Georgia Tech
Cody Freeman, 1B, Mississippi State
Nick Vickerson, 2B, Mississippi State
Reed Harper, SS, Austin Peay
Matt Skole, 3B, Georgia Tech
C.T. Bradford, OF, Mississippi State
Brent Brownlee, OF, Mississippi State
Jaron Shepherd, OF, Mississippi State
Nick Routt, P, Mississippi State
Todd McInnis, P, Southern Miss
Most Outstanding Player: C.T. Bradford, Mississippi State