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Yellow Jackets Find Winning Formula Again in 6-3 win over Hurricanes
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com ) – Georgia Tech continues to play like anything but a No. 9 seed in the 2014 ACC Baseball Championship.
The Yellow Jackets pounded out 14 hits and scored three tie-breaking runs in the latter innings to derail top-seeded Miami by a 6-3 score as round-robin pool play began Wednesday afternoon.
It marked just the second time in the last 29 ACC Championships that the No. 1 seed lost its opening game in tournament play (Georgia Tech over Florida State in 2012). The Yellow Jackets have won five straight ACC Championship games at NewBridge Bank Park, dating back to the 2012 tournament in which it captured the title as the No. 8 seed.
Brandon Gold’s two-out RBI single snapped a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth inning, and Matt Gonzalez added a run-scoring base hit in the ninth to make a winner of Yellow Jacket starter Josh Heddinger (4-4). Tech closer Dusty Isaacs worked the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season and his second in as many days of tournament play.
“I thought it was an outstanding college baseball game,” Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. “I said it yesterday – it seems like every game in this league is very hotly contested and usually comes down to somebody getting a two out hit like Brandon Gold did, and then somebody making a pitch when guys (from the opposing team) are in scoring position.”
The Yellow Jackets (34-24) will go for their third straight win in this year’s ACC Championship when they face fourth-seeded Duke on Thursday at 3 p.m. The Hurricanes (40-16), who lost against an ACC opposition for just the seventh time this season, face fifth-seeded Clemson at 7 p.m.
Gonzalez finished 3-for-5 at the plate, and Yellow Jackets Ryan Peurifoy was a perfect 4-for-4 while scoring three runs. Arden Pabst finished 2-for-4 with a pair of two key RBIs. Heddinger worked seven innings on the mound, allowing seven hits and three earns while striking out five and walking two.
Cooper Hammond (5-1) suffered the loss for the Hurricanes after coming on in relief of starter Andrew Suarez with one out in the seventh.
Dale Carey staked the Hurricanes to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a one-out homer to left field. The solo shot was Carey’s seventh home run of the season.
Pabst, Georgia Tech’s No. 9 hitter, delivered a game-tying RBI single in the top of the fifth. Pabst’s hit followed Peurifoy’s leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt by Gold.
The Hurricanes wasted little time getting the lead back in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Carey singled, stole second and scored on Tyler Palmer’s base hit to left. Palmer, who took second on the throw to the plate as Carey scored, came home himself with Zack Collins’ base hit to right to put Miami up 3-1.
“I felt really good at that point when we jumped up 3 1,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “Andy (Suarez) was throwing outstanding, and our bullpen was great all year. You have to be feeling good with the defense we've played throughout the year.
“But baseball is a game you have to play nine innings and no clock to run out, so you have to play it all out until the end. (Georgia Tech) did a good job to keep battling.”
The Yellow Jackets countered with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to knot the score again. Pabst came through a second time with a run-scoring double, and Mott Hyde’s sacrifice fly evened things up at 3-3.
Georgia Tech’s go-ahead eighth inning began after two outs had been recorded. Connor Justus singled and took third on a double by Peurifoy. That set the table for Gold, who scratched a 3-2 pitch from Hammond through the right side to make it 5-3.
“(Hammond) got me out in front, and threw a breaking ball and threw me a 3 2 fastball and I just did what I could with it,” Gold said. “Their second baseman (Alex Hernandez) made a spectacular play … luckily it got through and scored two runs.”
Miami threatened in the bottom of the inning as David Thompson and Willie Abreu had back-to-back one-out singles. But Isaacs coaxed Brandon Lopez into a double-play grounder that ended the inning.
The Yellow Jackets nicked Thomas Woodrey – Miami’s third pitcher of the game – for their final run in the top of the ninth. Hyde led off with a double, took third on Daniel Spingola’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Gonzalez’s base hit to right.
Carey finished 3-for-4 at the plate to account for a third of the Hurricanes’ nine hits. Collins went 2-for-3 on the afternoon.