ATLANTA, Ga. (March 4, 2011) – The Rutgers baseball team had its three-game winning streak snapped as the Scarlet Knights dropped a doubleheader at No. 23 Georgia Tech in front of 925 fans at Russ Chandler Stadium Friday in Atlanta, Ga. RU (4-4) suffered a 10-0 setback in the series opener and dropped a 9-5 decision to GT (7-4) in the nightcap.
Down 2-0 in the second contest, Rutgers quickly erased its deficit with three runs in the third inning. Sophomore Bill Hoermann (Toms River, N.J.) and freshman Michael Zavala (Randolph, N.J.) each earned walks to put a pair of runners on. Freshman Joe D’Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.) delivered a two-out single through the left side to bring the first run home and senior Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) followed with a two-run single to the gap in right-center field to give the Scarlet Knights their first lead of the day.
Georgia Tech capitalized on a two-out infield throwing error by RU to tie it up at 3-3 in the bottom half of the frame and plated a run in the third on a Brandon Thomas RBI single back up the middle to take a one-run advantage.
Senior D.J. Anderson (Randolph, N.J.) earned a five-pitch walk with one out in the fifth and moved all the way to third on the next play when a ball off the bat of Steve Nyisztor (Toms River, N.J.) was corralled by the pitcher and over-thrown. On the next play, Hoermann lifted a ball to center field for the sacrifice fly to plate Anderson and tie the contest back up. Nyisztor advanced to third later in the inning on Georgia Tech’s second error of the frame and the Yellow Jackets went to their bullpen to replace starter Jed Bradley to prevent any further damage in the frame.
Georgia Tech used a pair of two-out singles from Thomas and Mott Hyde to score three runs in the bottom half of the fifth to take a 7-4 advantage, ending starter Rob Smorol’s (Clark, N.J.) day.
A Daniel Palka two-run home run in the sixth extended the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 9-4.
RU got one of those runs back in the seventh as Nyisztor doubled down the left-field line and came around to score on a Hoermann ground ball to the shortstop one play later to make it 9-5.
The Scarlet Knights mounted one final rally in the ninth after Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) led off the inning with a single and Anderson drew a five-pitch walk to put a pair of runners on without recording an out against newly-inserted Georgia Tech hurler Clay Dalton. With the heart of the Rutgers lineup coming up, the Yellow Jacket reliever got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts and a fielder’s choice to end the game and give GT its second win of the day.
Smorol (1-1) struck out five in 4.1 innings in the loss for the Scarlet Knights, while Luke Bard (1-0) earned the win with 2.1 innings of one-run relief. Bradley struck out seven in 4.2 for Georgia Tech. Senior Sean Campbell (Trenton, N.J.) made his first appearance of the season for Rutgers with a scoreless ninth frame.
In the opening contest of the day, Georgia Tech starter Mark Pope worked a complete game shutout, allowing four hits and striking out six. GT scored single runs in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh and erupted for six runs in the eighth in the win.
Lang collected two of Rutgers’ four hits in the contest. Sophomore starter Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) struck out five in 5.2 innings of work for the Scarlet Knights, allowing three earned runs.
Relievers Dan O’Neill (Garfield, N.J.), Rob Corsi (Oceanport, N.J.) and Joe Esposito (Metuchen, N.J.) – who made his collegiate debut – combined to pitch the final 2.1 innings for the Scarlet Knights.
Georgia Tech’s Jake Davies finished the opening contest 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored to guide the Yellow Jackets’ 19-hit attack in the opener.
With rain expected in the Atlanta area on Saturday, the Scarlet Knights and Yellow Jackets will resume the series Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest. Junior righty Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) will be on the mound for Rutgers against sophomore righty Buck Farmer for Georgia Tech.