Baseball splits three games with UVA

Last weekend, No. 8 Georgia Tech baseball faced a No. 11 ranked Virginia team that sits only one game behind Tech at the top of the ACC standings. Both Tech and Virginia needed the wins to stay on top in the standings, as all four top teams were separated by just one game entering the weekend. Both teams were coming off of similar midweek series losses and hoped to rebound during the three-game set at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The opening game was suspended in the bottom of the fourth inning after rain and hail started to fall, and officials decided to resume play on Saturday at 3 p.m. Tech starter Deck McGuire had been solid through the first three innings before allowing three runs in the fourth. The last score of the day came when freshman Matt Skole plated senior Jason Haniger with a run-scoring single, making the score 3-2 in Virginia’s favor.

When play resumed the next day, the Jackets tied the score in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Haniger, but Virginia re-gained the lead in the sixth when Phil Gosselin tripled and scored on a groundout by Dan Grovatt. Sophomore shortstop Derek Dietrich responded for Tech in the bottom of the seventh, tying the game with an RBI triple. Two run-scoring hits by Gosselin and Tyler Cannon pushed the Cavaliers’ lead to 6-4 in the top of the eighth, but Skole answered with a two-run homer to tie up the game at 6-6. After freshmen Jake Davies and Mark Pope held UVA scoreless in the top of the ninth, junior first baseman Tony Plagman delivered a walk-off RBI single to give Tech the 7-6 victory.

In the second game, which took place Saturday night, Virginia upset the Jackets 11-10 after coming back from a five-run deficit. Tech built a 10-5 lead through eight innings, powered by two homers from senior right fielder Luke Murton. However, Pope, who has struggled lately, was unable to hold the lead as he gave up four hits and two walks. After a Rowland error, Keith Werman hit a two-out single that plated John Hicks and capped the six-run ninth inning comeback, and Tech was unable to respond in the bottom of the ninth.

In the series finale on Sunday, Tech and Virginia ended up tied by the score of 4-4. After sophomore Brandon Cumpton pitched seven strong innings, striking out nine, fellow sophomore Kevin Jacob got a strike out and a fly out with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied at 4-4. Tech then went 1-2-3 in the ninth to finish in a tie for the first time since March 27, 1985, after the game was called due to Virginia’s 4:15 p.m. travel curfew.