Georgia Tech Edges Wolfpack, 10-9, to Open ACC Championship Action
May 21, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Georgia Tech scored two runs in the top of the ninth on three consecutive North Carolina State errors to beat the Wolfpack, 10-9, Wednesday in the opening game of the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
The Yellow Jackets' rally produced the fourth lead change of the game and handed the Wolfpack their first three-game losing streak of the season. The two teams combined for 19 runs, 28 hits and eight errors.
With Tech trailing 9-8 and down its last at-bat, Chase Burnette and Patrick Long reached second and third on infield errors by first baseman Pat Ferguson and second baseman Russell Wilson. Jason Haniger then grounded to shortstop Dallas Poulk, who misplayed the ball into center field, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Brad Rulon pitched a hitless ninth for his fifth save of the season, while Andrew Robinson (3-2) picked up the victory. Eryk McConnell (4-2), the fifth N.C. State pitcher, took the loss.
Under the two-bracket, round-robin format, the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets (39-17) will face top-seeded Miami at 5 p.m. Thursday. The No. 4 Wolfpack (37-19) will play No. 8 Clemson in the nightcap at 8 p.m.
N.C. State had leads of 6-2 and 7-3 before Tech rallied for five runs in the eighth, on six singles and a walk. Charlie Blackmon highlighted the inning with a two-run single and Luke Murton, who had tallied his 11th home run of the season in the seventh, broke a 7-7 tie with an RBI single.
The Wolfpack regained the lead in their half of the eighth on Nick Stanley's two-run double.
Blackmon went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI for Georgia Tech. Tommy Foschi went 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI for N.C. State, while Ferguson was 3-for-5 and scored three runs.
N.C. State starting pitcher Eric Surkamp struck out nine batters and walked two in the first six innings.
Game 1 Notes: Georgia Tech 10, NC State 9
Today's game was the 22nd meeting between NC State and Georgia Tech in ACC Championship competition. The two teams have now split the all-time Championship series, with each having won 11 contests.
The Wolfpack and Yellow Jackets have met four times over the course of the last six ACC Championships, including in the 2003 title game. Each team has won two of those four match-ups.
Georgia Tech is now 9-4, with one league title, in ACC Championship games held in Jacksonville, Fla. The Yellow Jackets own not only the most overall wins in Jacksonville, but also the best overall winning percentage amongst ACC teams.
After allowing two hits and a pair of runs in the opening inning, NC State starter Eric Surkamp went on to give up just five hits, while holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless over his final five innings on the mound. Surkamp's nine strikeouts were his third-most of the 2008 season.
Georgia Tech, which recorded 14 hits in the victory, has now picked up 10 or more hits in five of its last six ACC Championship contests. The Yellow Jackets have recorded 81 hits in their last eight Championship games, for an average of 10.1 hits per game since the beginning of the 2006 Championship.
Georgia Tech junior Luke Murton hit his 11th home run of the season in the seventh inning to cut NC State's early lead to three. Murton's home run, the first of the 2008 ACC Championship, was his fourth career home run in Championship competition. Murton is tied with two others for the ACC Championship's record for home runs in a single game with three (2006).
Between the two teams, today's game featured at least one hit in eight of nine innings, and at least two combined baserunners in every inning. Georgia Tech and NC State combined for eight hits and seven runs scored in the eighth inning, and four hits in each the fifth and sixth innings.