ATLANTA (March 1, 2013) – No. 16 Georgia Tech broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the fourth on the way to downing Rutgers baseball, 13-1, in the series opener Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets have now taken the last 14 games over the Scarlet Knights dating back to 2008.
GT starter Buck Farmer (2-0) pitched six innings with nine strikeouts to earn the victory on the mound. The right-hander did not allow an earned run to keep his ERA at 0.00 for the season. Senior left-hander Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.) (1-1) retired the first nine batters he faced for RU, but suffered his first loss of the year after surrendering six earned runs in 4.1 innings.
The Rutgers (2-5) offense picked up eight hits – including seven off Farmer – but left eight runners stranded on the night. Senior Steve Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) led the team with two singles and a run scored from the seventh spot in the order.
The game started out as a pitcher’s duel between Smorol and Farmer, with RU first threatening in the third. Zavala singled up the middle to start the inning before being forced at second for the second out, leaving senior Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) at first. Then junior Pat Sweeney (Sparta, N.J.) laced a base hit into left field to move Hoermann to third, but the relay changed directions to catch Sweeney trying to move up to second for the final out of the frame.
The Scarlet Knights put two on with two outs in the fourth, but Farmer induced a groundball to escape unharmed.
That led to the bottom of the fourth, where the Yellow Jackets reached base for the first time and broke through for five runs on three hits. Leadoff hitter Kyle Wren reached on an error to start it off and Georgia Tech (9-1) followed with two bunt singles to load the bases with no outs. Daniel Palka next worked a walk to force home Wren for the first run of the game. A.J. Murray proceeded with a grand slam over the left field wall to put the hosts up 5-0. It was the first career home run for the New Jersey native.
Zavala and junior Ross Costello (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) responded with a pair of leadoff singles in the fifth, hoping to get Rutgers back in the game. Following an infield fly rule, Sweeney grounded a ball to first that was fielded and thrown into left field on an attempted force play at second, allowing Zavala to score for an unearned run. However, Farmer buckled down to retire the next two hitters to keep it at 5-1.
The Yellow Jackets added four more runs in the bottom of the inning to break open the game, with three of the runs unearned due to an error. The home team added four more in the seventh to set the final score at 13-1.
Rutgers will look to rebound in the middle game of the series Saturday at 4 p.m. Senior Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) will take the mound for the Scarlet Knights in search of his first win of the season.