Justin Wright Has the Stuff as Virginia Tech Downs Georgia Tech, 6-2, in #ACCbase Championship
May 28, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. - It was worth the wait.
With Justin Wright pitching a masterful complete game, Virginia Tech knocked off Georgia Tech 6-2 in ACC Baseball Championship Thursday at NewBridge Bank Park.
The Hokies and Jackets were the last two teams to play in the event. The game, scheduled for 8 o'clock, was pushed back because of the long Miami-Boston College game earlier in the day and didn't start until 9:36 p.m.
But that didn't bother the Hokies. Austin Wates got them off to a fast start with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and they never looked back. Wright, a junior left-hander, allowed four hits and struck out a career-high 15.
It was a much-needed lift for Virginia Tech, which had lost four in a row coming into the event, including three straight to North Carolina the previous weekend.
"It was really important for us to get our offense started and get our team started," said coach Pete Hughes. "(It was important) to have Austin come out and hit a 2-run homer off their guy (Deck McGuire), the ACC pitcher of the year last year.
"One of the key elements was to get a quality start and that was more than a quality start. That was probably the best starting performance I've seen at this level in my coaching career. It was dominant against a dominant offensive club."
The Hokies (37-19 overall) are 1-0 in Division B and continue round-robin play when they meet Clemson Friday at 4 p.m. Georgia Tech (44-12) will play NC State Friday at 8 p.m.
Wates hit a fastball away for his homer in the first inning to get the Hokies rolling.
"I was looking for a good pitch to drive," he said. "We really needed a big hit; we hadn't had a big hit in a couple of weeks."
Michael Seaborn added a solo homer in the second and the Hokies made the lead stand up behind Wright.
"Being able to throw my curve ball was huge," Wright said. "My last outing (at North Carolina) I didn't have it at all. Right out of the gate, I was throwing it in the bullpen and it (continued) into the game and worked well for me. Getting ahead of hitters is huge (because) with two strikes hitters expand their zone a lot."
Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said his hitters chased some high fastballs and some curve balls in the dirt against Wright.
"We had no answer for Justin Wright," he said. "He's pitched good against us twice; he made it tough on us to put much together and then late in the game they kind of kept adding runs on us. All told, it was Virginia Tech's night."
Down 3-0, the Jackets got a run back in the bottom of the third on their first hit, a solo home run by leadoff hitter Jay Dantzler. It was his seventh of the season.
But in the sixth inning, McGuire pitched himself into trouble and it cost him a run. Wates was hit by a pitch and, with two outs, he came around to score on successive walks to Tim Smalling, Andrew Rash and Seaborn. That put Virginia Tech up 4-1.
"I lost the feel totally," McGuire said. "It really hurt our club."
The lead stretched by another run in the seventh when Steve Domecus doubled against Jackets reliever Patrick Long and scored on a single by Ronnie Shaban.
Sean Ryan doubled in a run in the eighth inning, scoring Seaborn, who had walked.
Wright's most important inning might have been the only one in which he didn't record a strikeout. Jeff Rowland led off the bottom of the eighth with homer for Georgia Tech.
Wright walked Dantzler with one out, bringing up Jacket sluggers Derek Dietrich and Tony Plagman, who have 35 homers combined. But Wright got both to ground out unassisted to first baseman Shaban to end the threat.
"Dietrich got jammed and Plagman hit a slow curve," Hall said. "It looked like he got them out easy to me. I thought we had a chance to make a charge right there."
Among his 15 strikeouts, Wright fanned Dietrich, Matt Skole and Thomas Nichols three times each.
2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship
Virginia Tech (37-19, 16-14 ACC) ... ...improves to 37-19 overall. ...won its first game in the ACC Championship, improving to 1-1 all-time. ...junior pitcher Justin Wright threw the first complete game of this year's championship; struck out 15 batters, three shy of the championship record. ...senior catcher Steve Domecus set a school single-season record with his 26th double of the season. ...sophomore leftfielder Buddy Sosnoskie ended his 12-game hitting streak.
Georgia Tech (44-12, 21-9 ACC)... ...falls to 44-12 overall and 66-49 in the ACC Championship. ...has lost two consecutive games for just the third time all season. ...4-5-6 hitters went 1-for-12. ...junior righthander Deck McGuire issued a season-high-tying four walks.