Georgia Knocks Off No. 4 Tech Baseball, 8-4
Yellow Jackets open three-game series at Clemson on Friday.
April 23, 2003
ATLANTA - David Coffey went 4-for-5 with a RBI triple, and Lee Mitchell and Josh Smith both hit home runs to lead Georgia (21-20) to a 6-4 victory over No. 4 Georgia Tech (32-8) on Wednesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium, the first in a three-game regular season series. The two schools play in Athens on May 7 and play at Turner Field on May 13.
Georgia starter Paul Lubrano (3-3) earned the win after working 5.2 innings and allowing three runs on five hits. He issued two walks and struck out six batters. Freshman Will Startup earned his first save of the season after allowing one run over the final 3.1 innings to close out the game, working out of jams in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings. He struck out a season high six batters.
The Bulldogs made the most of their opportunities, scoring eight runs on 10 hits and leaving just five runners on base. Coffey led the offense with four hits in five at bats, while Josh Smith added two hits, including a home run, and leadoff hitter Jasha Balcom scored three runs. Mitchell had just one hit in the game, his team-leading eighth home run of the season, but drove in four runs.
Georgia struck early as Balcom drew a walk to lead off the game and scored on Jon Armitage's RBI single to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Tech answered with a two-run homer from Brandon Boggs, his ninth of the season, to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Bulldogs scored two runs in the fourth to retake the lead at 3-2. Marshall Szabo tripled in the right field corner and Smith followed with his first home run of the season. Georgia extended the lead to 4-2 in the fifth when Balcom walked, took third on Coffey's single and scored on Mitchell's sacrifice fly.
A solo home run from Jeremy Slayden, his fifth of the season, pulled the Yellow Jackets to within 4-3 in the sixth inning. Owings followed with a double off the left field wall that chased Lubrano from the game, but Will Startup came out of the Georgia bullpen and retired Clifton Remole and end the inning after he stole a base hit by snaring a line drive back up the middle.
The Bulldogs immediately answered with two runs in the top of the seventh inning to make the score 6-3. Balcom fought off a 1-2 pitch for a single, and Coffey followed with a RBI triple on a 0-2 pitch. Mitchell drove in Coffey with his second sacrifice fly of the night.
The Yellow Jackets mounted a threat in the seventh when Mike Nickeas led off with a double and Eric Patterson drew a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Startup struck out Boggs to end the innings.
Tech clawed to within 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth when Slayden doubled and scored on Remole's two-out RBI single up the middle. The Yellow Jackets again sent the tying run to the plate in Andy Hawranick, but Startup struck him to end the threat.
Meanwhile, Georgia added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning on Mitchell's two-out, two-strike, two-run home run, to make the score 8-4.
Tech starter Jeff Watchko (2-3) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits in five innings. Boggs, Remole and Slayden each had two hits in the loss for the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech returns to action this weekend when the Yellow Jackets visit Clemson for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. Friday's game will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South, and radio coverage will be available on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta). Live statistics and the radio broadcast will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com. Georgia visits Kentucky for a three game SEC series this weekend in Lexington.