Georgia Southern Rallies Past Tech, 8-7
GSU scored seven runs in the final two innings to earn the win.
March 27, 2004
ATLANTA - Grant Burress drove in two runs in the top of the ninth inning to help Georgia Southern (14-14) to an 8-7 win over Georgia Tech (14-11) Saturday in the first game of a two-game series at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia Southern scored seven runs over the final two innings to earn its second win over the Jackets in Atlanta in the last two years. In the ninth, Tech reliever Blake Wood struck out Eagles catcher Flint Wipke, but then gave up a double and two walks to load the bases before being replaced by the Jackets' sixth pitcher of the game, Ryan Turner. The Eagles' Brandon Long then delivered an RBI single, Greg Dowling earned a bases-loaded walk, and Burress drove in two runs with a single to right field, which gave Georgia Southern an 8-7 lead in the game.
Tech starter Brian Burks pitched a strong seven innings but did not figure into the decision. He allowed just two hits and an unearned run while striking out four. After allowing one hit in each of the first two innings, he retired 15 of the next 17 batters that he faced. He did not allow a runner past first base after the run scored in the first inning. Turner (1-2) took the loss for the Jackets, giving up one run and two hits and walking one in the ninth inning.
Eric Patterson, Brandon Boggs, Micah Owings and Clifton Remole led the Jackets on the afternoon with three hits apiece. Patterson scored three runs and had three stolen bases, while Boggs drove in four Tech runs.
After Georgia Southern's Brandon Long scored an unearned run in the top of the first to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead, the Jackets answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Eric Patterson led off the frame with a single, stole second and third bases, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wes Hodges. With two outs in the inning, Micah Owings and Steven Blackwood hit back-to-back singles and Mike Nickeas drove them in with a double down the left field line to give Tech a 3-1 edge in the game.
Tech added three more runs in the second inning after Whit Robbins, Patterson, and Hodges walked and Brandon Boggs belted a triple to straightaway center field, driving in the runners to make the score 6-1 in favor of the Jackets.
The Jackets took a 7-1 lead in the fourth after Patterson led off with a single, advance to second on a balk by Georgia Southern reliever Everett Teaford, stole third and scored on an RBI single by Boggs.
The Eagles came back with three runs in the eighth inning to make the score 7-4. Tech reliever Jason Neighborgall issued back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, and Logan Phillips loaded the bases with a single to the left side off John Goodman before James Payne drove in Mike Economos with an RBI single to left field. Following a strikeout by Brandon Long, Dowling drove in Travis Adkinson with an RBI single through the left side of the infield. Southpaw Ryan Self became the third Tech pitcher of the inning and ended the Eagles threat by inducing a check-swing RBI groundout by Burruss and another groundout from Brandon Burnsed.
Georgia Southern starter Dustin Evans went just 1.1 innings, leaving the game in the second inning after losing feeling in the fingers on his pitching hand. He did not figure into the decision after allowing five runs on four hits and walking two Yellow Jacket batters. Teaford (5-3) entered for the injured Evans and held the Jackets to just two runs on 12 hits while striking out five to earn the win. Brian Harrison pitched the ninth inning for Southern to earn his first save of the season.
Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern will conclude the two-game series Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. start. Radio coverage will be available for on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta) and on the internet at www.wrek.org. Live statistics will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.