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May 25, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Designated hitter Zane Evans drove in a career-high six runs as eighth-seeded Georgia Tech pounded fourth-seeded Virginia, 17-5, Friday in the ACC Championship. The game ended in the bottom of the seventh inning under the ACC's 10-run rule.
The win leaves the Yellow Jackets as the only undefeated team remaining in the 2012 ACC Championship and the only team in control of its fate.
Tech (34-24) spotted Virginia (37-17-1) a three-run lead before roaring back with six runs in the third and four runs in the fourth.
Virginia scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second. Lead-off hitter Jared King reached on a throwing error by shortstop Mott Hyde. Singles by Colin Harrington and Brandon Downes scored King.
Harrington and Downes moved up on a sacrifice bunt and Harrington scored on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Keith Werman.
It could have been worse. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for Stephen Bruno, Virginia's best hitter. But Tech starter Cole Pitts (6-4) retired Bruno on a crucial fly ball.
Home plate umpire Bryant Woodall suffered a hand injury in the bottom of the second inning and left the game. Randy Harvey moved behind the plate.
Virginia added to its lead in the third. Derek Fisher led off with a single, stole second and scored on Colin Harrington's single.
Georgia Tech's bats exploded in the third. A hit batter, a single, a sacrifice bunt and Brandon Thomas' two-run single cut the Virginia lead to a run. Kyle Davies doubled to right, sending starter Scott Silverstein (2-5) to the showers.
Nick Howard replaced Silverstein. Evans greeted him with a two-run double, putting Tech up 4-3. Hyde followed with his sixth home run of the season, ending a decisive six-run inning.
Tech drove Howard from the mound in the fourth with a pair of walks and an RBI double by Brandon Thomas.
Howard's replacement, Austin Young, fared no better. Evans singled in two more runs, making it 9-3. Hyde drove in Jake Davies on a sacrifice fly, making it 10-3.
Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said his team gave Tech too many chances. "If you don't make your pitches against them, they'll make you pay. We didn't make the pitches we needed to."
Evans agreed. "I got some good pitches to hit and didn't miss them."
Two singles and an RBI groundout by Keith Werman gave Virginia a run in the fifth, making it 10-4.
After a shaky start, Pitts settled down and lasted five innings in picking up the win. "I tried to focus on throwing strikes and not forcing anything."
Winning coach Danny Hall added, "Pitts got some big outs and our offense took over after that."
Dusty Isaacs worked the final two innings for Georgia Tech.
Virginia scored again in the sixth on a walk, a passed ball, a balk and a single by Derek Fisher, making the score 10-5.
The Yellow Jackets added to their lead in the sixth. Brandon Thomas walked and Evans hit a towering home run over the right field fence, putting the Jackets up 12-5.
The home run was Evans' fourth of the season.
Georgia Tech ended the game with a five-run seventh. Connor Lynch doubled in one run, Sam Dove tripled in another and Jake Davies closed it out with a three-run home run, his 12th of the season.
The Yellow Jackets amassed 17 hits, with Evans going 3-4. Thomas, Davies and Hyde all had three RBIs. Davies now leads the ACC with 65 RBIs.
Georgia Tech plays Clemson Saturday at 11 a.m., while Virginia plays Florida State at 3 p.m.