Jackets Beat Heels with Smith's Walk-Off
Tech scored the game's final five runs to even the series
TECH STARTERS: Spingola/CF, Innis/LF, Johnson/DH, Murray/C, Gonzalez/3B, Smith/1B, Bailey/2B, Justus/SS, Peurifoy/RF, Gold/SP.
UNC STARTERS: Lassiter/LF, Ramirez/RF, Gahagan/1B, Bolt/CF, Warmouth/SS, Miller/DH, Dunbar/C, Sutherland/2B, Raburn/3B, Bukauskas/SP.
Thomas Smith ripped a game-winning single down the left-field in the ninth as No. 21 Georgia Tech stormed back to beat No. 18 North Carolina, 6-5, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Tech scored the game's final six runs, including a pair of game-tying runs with two outs in the eighth and Smith's first career walk-off hit in the ninth.
The Yellow Jackets evened the series and improved to 16-6 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, while the Tar Heels slipped to 13-9, 4-4.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
North Carolina's Alex Raburn launched a grand slam home run in the fourth inning that gave the Tar Heels a 5-0 lead.
Tech pitchers combined to no-hit UNC the rest of the way, while the offense chipped away.
The Yellow Jackets pushed across three in the sixth to get within striking distance, and Tech's two-out rally in the eighth was kick-started by Connor Justus's single.
Ryan Peurifoy followed next was he smashed a triple off the wall in left and the game was tied when Daniel Spingola snuck a ground-rule double inside the left-field foul line.
In the ninth, Kel Johnson drew a walk, Matt Gonzalez singled and Smith hammered a pitch from Trevor Kelley down the left-field line as the game-winner.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
Tech is now out-scoring opponents 43-10 over the final two innings plus extras and has won three times via walk-off hits this season. Nine of the Jackets' 16 wins have been come-from-behind victories.
Daniel Spingola extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a game-tying RBI double in the eighth.
Making his first start of the year, Peurifoy was 2-for-4 with a triple and a career-best three RBI.
Gonzalez and Justus each chipped in two of the Jackets' 11 hits.
Zac Ryan picked up his fifth win (5-0) by tossing a 1-2-3 inning of relief in the ninth.
Devin Stanton and Patrick Wiseman each combined to keep the Tar Heels at bay in relief of Brandon Gold.
Gold was touched for his first runs as a starter, snapping a streak of 23 straight scoreless innings. He was on the hook for five runs and five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
The loss fell to Kelley (2-1), who tossed three innings in relief of J.B. Bukauskas and was charged with six hits and three runs.
Including Friday's 5-3 win by UNC, seven of the last eight games between Tech and Carolina have been decided by one or two runs.