Friday's game would be the last for both the Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack, since each was 0-2, having each lost to Miami and Florida State thus far in Pool Play. The NC State defeat less than 24 hours earlier had been particularly painful, coming on a 9th inning three-run homer by Miami just a half-inning after a similar Wolfpack homer had put them ahead. Both teams were struggling at the end of mostly good seasons, although the Wolfpack had beaten Tech two out of three in Atlanta earlier in the season. Both were pretty confident of receiving NCAA bids, but each wanted to go out on a high note.
|#13 NC State (35-20)||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||2||7||8||1|
|#25 Georgia Tech (36-23)||0||0||0||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||11||2|
Cole Pitts started for Georgia Tech, and for only the second time in the Yellow Jackets' last ten games, got Tech out of the 1st without giving up a run, turning their 76th double play to erase a hit. Pitcher Brian Brown started for NCST and hit Connor Justus to lead off, though he was also erased on a double play.
Pitts’ scoreless outing ended shortly thereafter, however, when he gave up back-to-back home runs to Brent Kinneman and Chance Shepard in the top of the 2nd, giving the Wolfpack a 3-0 lead. Once again, the Jackets were in a hole. Pitts settled down well after the 2nd, getting through the 3rd and 4th, but Brown was throwing a no hitter through three innings.
Wade Bailey finally got a hit with one out in Tech’s 4th. Matt Gonzalez got his 293rd career hit on the next pitch, beating out a bunt, with an error moving Bailey to 3rd. A wild pitch scored Bailey to make it 3-1 and moved Gonzo to 2nd. After Kel Johnson walked, Tristin English dropped a flair behind 1st to score Gonzalez and move Johnson to 3rd. He immediately scored on another wild pitch, and the Jackets had tied the game at 3-3. The tie didn’t last a minute, as Trevor Craport immediately tripled to right center, scoring English. Later, Joey Bart singled in Craport giving the Jackets a 5-3 lead.
Matthew Gorst came in to pitch for the NCST 5th, and worked around a leadoff single and two-out walk, but needed 24 precious pitches to do it. Brown came back – somewhat surprisingly – for the bottom of the 5th, and Justus greeted him with a single, ending his day with Chris Williams relieving him. After Bailey bunted Justus to 2nd, Gonzalez got his 294th career hit (tying him with Scott Jordan for 3rd all-time at Georgia Tech), singling and moving Justus to 3rd. Unfortunately, Johnson and English failed to score Justus and the inning was over.
In the top of the 6th, Gorst threw a very welcome nine-pitch inning, help immensely by Justus’ charging bare hand pick and throw for the third out. The Jackets stranded Stallings on 3rd to end their 6th, as inability to hit with RISP returned after the five-run fourth inning. With the crowd heavily favoring the Wolfpack, some insurance would have been welcome. Meanwhile, Gorst got through the NC State 7th on only eleven pitches, looking sharp. Williams more than kept pace with a 6-pitch inning to retire Tech in their 7th.
Gorst gave up a one out single in the NCST 8th, waking up the big crowd, but a strikeout and easy grounded put out the fire in the incipient stage. He was now at 64 pitches.
Tristin "Doubles Machine" English got his 21st of the season off of the big wall in Tech’s 8th, and was bunted to 3rd by Craport for the second out, but Stallings was not able to get him home. The Yellow Jackets led 5-3, heading into the 9th inning.
Gorst would try to close it out with a two-run lead. Chance Shepard worked a two-out walk, bringing up his brother Shane Shepard as a pinch hitter. A disaster out of a nightmare occurred when a routine fly ball came down and bounced out of Ryan Peurifoy’s glove, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd before a single up the middle by Pitarra tied the game. Gorst struck out Mendoza to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Austin Staley came in to pitch for the Wolfpack in Tech’s 9th and got three Jackets out on only seven pitches, sending the game to extra innings.
Burton Dulaney came in for the Jackets to pitch the 10th. A walk and sacrifice bunt put a runner on 2nd for Brock Deatherage, who also walked. Andrew Knizner came up and Dulaney hit him on the first pitch, loading the bases. Kinneman, who had homered in the 2nd, came up and hit a bouncer to English, who fired home for the force play, with Joey Bart handling a very tough bounce. Dulaney then coaxed another bouncer to Craport, who got out number three at first to preserve the tie. Will Gilbert came in to pitch the bottom of the 10th for NC State, and got three outs on eleven pitches.
In the NCST 11th, Peurifoy made a very nice catch for the first out. Outs two and three came quickly on ground balls. In the bottom of the 11th, a Craport walk and Stallings single up the middle put Jackets on 1st and 2nd with one out. Bart hit a chopper to 3rd, loading the bases after a failed attempt to get the runner at 2nd left everyone safe. Ryan Peurifoy, perhaps trying too hard for redemption, struck out, before Justus grounded out to 2nd to end the frame.
In the NCST 12th, Dulaney gave up a one-out single and then a two-run homer to Deatherage, making it 7-5. Jared Datoc came into pitch, recording a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning and bring about the Jackets’ last chance.
Johnny Piedmonte came into pitch for the Wolfpack to face Bailey, Gonzalez, and Johnson. He struck them all out to earn the save. The Jackets had failed to score from third far too many times, aside from the ninth inning horror show. This one hurts badly!
The Jackets now must wait until Monday, wondering if the NCAA will give them an at-large bid based on their record and RPI. They certainly hurt their cause tonight. You have to feel so bad for Ryan Peurifoy, a normally steady center fielder, who had a terrible moment at the worst time.