Baseball Drops ACC Championship Opener to GT
Greensboro, N.C. • NewBridge Bank Park
|W||J. Heddinger (4-4)|
|L||C. Hammond (5-1)|
|S||D. Isaacs (7)|
|Collins, Z. (13)|
|Gonzalez, M., Pabst, A., Hyde, M.|
|Carey, D. (7)|
|Carey, D. (28), Palmer, T. (32), Collins, Z. (47)|
|Pabst, A. 2, Hyde, M., Gold, B. 2|
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Top-seeded Miami came out on the wrong end of a back-and-forth game in its 2014 ACC Championship opener, falling to ninth-seeded Georgia Tech 6-3 in Pool A play at NewBridge Bank Park.
The Hurricanes (40-16) took early leads at 1-0 and 3-1, but ultimately fell in the later innings. Georgia Tech (34-24) scored two runs in the seventh, two in the eighth and one more in the ninth, handing Miami just its fourth loss in its past 31 games.
“Baseball is a game where you have to play nine innings and there’s no clock to run out, so you have to play it all out until the end,” head coach Jim Morris said. “They did a good job to keep battling.”
Redshirt lefthander Andrew Suarez tossed 6.1 effective innings, allowing three earned runs with five strikeouts and exiting with the score tied 3-3. But the Yellow Jackets struck for two runs off Miami reliever Cooper Hammond (5-1) on an RBI single from Brandon Gold to take a decisive late lead.
The seventh home run of the season from senior Dale Carey gave Miami a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. Carey, who was named to the All-ACC third team earlier in the week, crushed a 1-0 pitch from Yellow Jackets starter Josh Heddinger over the lawn in leftfield to give Miami the early lead.
Georgia Tech would respond, tagging Suarez for a run in the top of the fifth on an RBI single from Arden Pabst. Suarez did well to limit the damage, however, inducing a 4-6-3 double play from Jackets slugger Mott Hyde to keep the game tied 1-1.
The Hurricanes offense came through with a two-out rally in the home half of the inning to regain a lead. Carey dropped a single in shallow right, and – after stealing second base – scored on an RBI single from Tyler Palmer through the rightside. Palmer, who took second on the throw home, scored on an RBI single from Zack Collins to make it 3-1 in favor of Miami.
“I felt really good at that point when we jumped up 3-1,” Morris said. “Andy was throwing outstanding, and our bullpen was great all year. You have to be feeling good with the defense we’ve played throughout the year.”
Suarez worked himself into a jam in the seventh, allowing two singles and an error to put runners on the corners with no outs. An attempted squeeze play was foiled on an impressive fielding play by the lefthander, however, as Suarez fired home to catcher Garrett Kennedy who applied the tag to Connor Justus for the first out of the inning.
A double from Pabst chased Suarez after 6.1 innings and cut Miami’s lead to 3-2, while a sacrifice fly from Hyde off Miami reliever Cooper Hammond tied the game 3-3.
Georgia Tech plated two runs off Hammond in the top half of the eighth to take a 5-3 lead. An RBI single from Gold scored runners from both second and third, giving the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the game.
“[Cooper] pitches very well, with an ERA under 2.00,” Morris said. “He just didn’t have his best outing.
“If the same situation comes up tomorrow, he’ll be pitching again. I can tell you that. He’s had a very good season.”
Another RBI single – this one from Matt Gonzalez off Miami reliever Thomas Woodrey – made it 6-3, while Jackets closer Dusty Isaacs entered in the eighth and pitched the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the spring.
“We’ve been hot lately,” Carey said. “Just because we dropped one today doesn’t mean we can’t start another streak, and that’s what we plan on doing.”
The Hurricanes will continue their run at the 2014 ACC Baseball Championship Wednesday with a Pool A matchup against fifth-seeded Clemson. First pitch for the game, slated for broadcast on RSN with ESPN3 simulcast, is set for 7 p.m.