ATLANTA, Ga. – No. 8 Georgia Tech took a 6-1 lead into the ninth inning and held off a late Rutgers rally to escape with a 6-4 victory over the Scarlet Knights in the first game and the Yellow Jackets recorded a 13-4 victory in the nightcap of a baseball doubleheader before 1,163 fans at Russ Chandler Stadium Saturday in Atlanta, Ga.
In the series opener, the Yellow Jackets (6-1) jumped on the board with a run in the third when the second of three-consecutive Georgia Tech singles back up the middle scored Tony Plagman (hit by pitch) for the game’s first run.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech starter Deck McGuire, a Freshman All-American last season, retired the first 12 Scarlet Knights in order before surrendering a leadoff single to fellow 2008 Freshman All-American, Jaren Matthews (Teaneck, N.J.) in the fifth.
GT’s Matt Skole followed a Luke Murton leadoff double with a home run to right field in the sixth to push the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 3-0. After giving up a third hit later in the inning, starter Casey Gaynor (Toms River, N.J.) was replaced by lefty reliever Steven Zavala (Randolph, N.J.), who retired the next two batters to end the frame.
Junior Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) recorded Rutgers’ (1-5) second hit of the contest, finding a hole in the right side for a one-out single in the seventh. A Matthews line-drive single followed, which moved Betteridge to third. Junior Jayson Hernandez (Belmar, N.J.) then produced Rutgers’ first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Betteridge. The score ended a streak of 16 scoreless innings for McGuire, dating back to last season.
Georgia Tech extended its lead to 6-1 with a three-run eighth, highlighted by a Plagman two-run home run.
After scattering four hits in eight innings with just one run and seven strikeouts without a walk, McGuire handed the ball over to the bullpen. The Scarlet Knights mounted a rally against reliever Thomas Nichols with four hits. A two-run double to the gap in right-center field from Hernandez and an RBI single to left field from Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) with two outs allowed RU to pull within 6-4 and prompted another call to the Yellow Jacket bullpen.
Reliever Mark Pope came in to face Jarred Jimenez (Monroe, N.J.), who represented the tying run, and the Georgia Tech reliever preserved the victory for the Yellow Jackets with a strikeout.
McGuire (2-0) earned the victory, while Gaynor (0-2) struck out five while he allowed three runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings of work in the loss. Pope picked up his second save of the season for the Yellow Jackets.
In the second game, Rutgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the second but Georgia Tech responded with 12 unanswered runs in the first six innings to break the game open en route to a 13-4 victory
Rutgers put its first two hitters of the second inning on base thanks to a Matthews single and a Hernandez walk and both were sacrificed over into scoring position where Jimenez lifted a ball to deep right field to bring home Matthews on the sacrifice fly. On the next play, senior Vinnie Sangemino (Nutley, N.J.) ripped a ball down the left-field line to score Hernandez before being tagged out at second while attempting to stretch a double on the hit.
Georgia Tech scored a run in the second, three in the third, five in the fourth and three more in the sixth to build a 12-2 lead through six frames. RU starter Dennis Hill (Hillsdale, N.J.) was chased out of the game in the fourth inning.
A single from Feliz and three walks led to a pair of Scarlet Knight runs in the top of the seventh before Georgia Tech added a run in the bottom half of the frame on a Jay Dantzler home run to make it 13-4.
Matthews led Rutgers with four hits in the doubleheader.
Rutgers and Georgia Tech will close the three-game series with a 1:00 p.m. game Sunday. Freshman righty Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) will get the ball for the Scarlet Knights against sophomore righty Brandon Cumpton for the Yellow Jackets.