May 24, 2002

TECH ELIMINATES NORTH CAROLINA 10-8 IN ACC TOURNAMENT

Fifth-seeded Jackets to Meet Top Seed Florida State Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Georgia Tech rallied from deficits of five and four runs behind three RBI each from Matt Murton and Tyler Parker, and Jeff Watchko pitched shutout relief over the final four innings as the Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina, 10-8 Friday afternoon in the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament at Florida Power Park.

Tech (46-13) survived in the loser's bracket of the tournament to face top-seeded Florida State Saturday. The outcome of Friday night's game between FSU and Wake Forest will determine the time Tech plays. If FSU wins, the Jackets and Seminoles meet at 12 noon. If the Deacons win, the game will be at 3:30 p.m. North Carolina (40-19) was eliminated and waits to learn its NCAA Tournament fate Monday.

"The game today was a definite gut check," said Tech head coach Danny Hall. "We had our ace on the mound and they rattled him. To dig down and get back into the game says a lot about our team. They jumped out on us and then we battled back into the game. Then they jumped out on us again, and then we battled back and took the lead."

Tech spotted the North Carolina five runs and eight hits in the first three innings off starter Kyle Bakker, keyed by Adam Greenberg's three-run home run in the second frame. The Jackets, stymied by UNC starter Daniel Moore early, came alive with four runs in the fourth on Jeremy Slayden's two-run homer and a pair of RBI-doubles from Tyler Parker and Wes Rynders.

North Carolina restored its lead to 8-4 in the top half of the fifth, however, chasing Bakker with back-to-back homers by Jeremy Cleveland and Ryan Blake to make it 7-4. The Tar Heels added a third run in the frame off Watchko on singles by Chad Prosser and Greenberg.

Tech, however, stormed back in its half of the fifth to take a 9-8 lead. Aided by three walks from North Carolina pitchers, Tech scored five times off Moore and reliever Carter Harrell behind a two-run single by Parker and RBI-singles by Matthew Boggs and Brandon Boggs. The Jackets added a single run in the sixth when Slayden was hit with a pitch to lead off the inning and came around to score after singles from Parker and Matthew Boggs.

Watchko (11-1), who earned the third ACC Tournament victory of his career, silenced the Tar Heel bats over the final four innings, allowing just four baserunners, all on singles, and only one runner as far as second base. He fanned three and did not issue a walk. The Tar Heels singled twice with two out in the ninth to threaten, but Watchko retired Prosser on a fly to right for the final out. His five-inning stint was his longest since a five-inning effort for a win in relief Apr. 27 against Virginia.

"We had some big hits to get back into the game and then Jeff Watchko put up four zeros late in the game," said Hall. "That was the difference in the game as he was able to squash their momentum and keep the lead for us. That was really the story of the game."

Moore, who had tossed a complete game, 6-1 victory over Tech last Sunday, gave up six runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings this time. Harrell (8-4) surrendered three runs on three hits in just 1/3 of an inning in the fifth and took the loss.

Tech has now won at least two games in the ACC Tournament three straight years, a stretch which includes the Jackets' most recent championship in 2000. Slayden's fourth-inning homer was his 17th of the season, establishing a new Tech season record for freshmen and breaking the old mark of 16 by Frank Bolick in 1987. Eric Patterson stole his 35th base of the season, the most since Ty Griffin swiped 38 in 1988 and the sixth-most in a season in Tech history.

 
                               2002 GEORGIA TECH BASEBALL
                             NORTH CAROLINA at GEORGIA TECH
               May 24, 2002 at St. Petersburg, Fla. (Florida Power Park)

  NORTH CAROLINA 8 (40-19)                      GEORGIA TECH 10 (46-13)
  Player                      AB  R  H BI       Player                      AB  R  H BI
  ---------------------------------------       ---------------------------------------
  Adam Greenberg cf..........  5  1  2  4       Eric Patterson 2b..........  3  1  0  0
  Russ Adams ss/3b...........  5  1  1  0       Victor Menocal ss..........  4  2  0  0
  Sean Farrell lf............  5  0  1  0       Jeremy Slayden rf..........  4  2  1  3
  Chris Maples 3b/rf.........  5  0  1  0       Matt Murton lf.............  3  2  2  0
  Jeremy Cleveland 1b........  4  2  3  2       Jason Perry 1b.............  4  1  0  0
  Ryan Blake rf/c............  5  1  1  1       Tyler Parker c.............  5  2  3  3
  Chris Iannetta c...........  4  1  2  0       Matthew Boggs 3b...........  4  0  2  2
   Greg Mangum pr/2b.........  1  0  1  0       Wes Rynders cf.............  4  0  2  1
  Ron Braun dh...............  5  0  2  1       Brandon Boggs dh...........  4  0  1  1
  Chad Prosser 2b/ss.........  5  2  2  0       Kyle Bakker p..............  0  0  0  0
  Daniel Moore p.............  0  0  0  0        Jeff Watchko p............  0  0  0  0
   Carter Harrell p..........  0  0  0  0
   Michael Gross p...........  0  0  0  0
   Whitley Benson p..........  0  0  0  0
  Totals..................... 44  8 16  8       Totals..................... 35 10 11 10

  Score by Innings                    R  H  E
  -------------------------------------------
  NORTH CAROLINA...... 131 030 000 -  8 16  1
  GEORGIA TECH........ 000 451 00X - 10 11  1
  -------------------------------------------

  E - Maples, C.(7); Menocal, V.(13). DP - UNC 1. LOB - UNC 10; GEORGIA TECH 8. 
  2B - Braun, R.(9); Murton, M.(11); Parker, T.(18); Rynders, W.(8). 
  HR - Greenberg, A(17); Cleveland, J(10); Blake, R.(6); Slayden, J.(17). 
  HBP - Cleveland, J; Slayden, J.; Perry, J.. 
  SB - Adams, R.(45); Prosser, C.(7); Patterson, E(35); Murton, M.(20).

  NORTH CAROLINA                 IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO  NP
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Daniel Moore ..............   4.1  5  6  4  3  1   1  0  0  0   18 21   5  6  70
  Carter Harrell  L,8-4......   0.1  3  3  3  2  0   0  0  1  0    4  7   1  0  26
  Michael Gross .............   2.1  2  1  1  0  2   0  0  1  0    9 10   4  1  32
  Whitley Benson ............   1.0  1  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0    4  4   2  1  18

  GEORGIA TECH                   IP  H  R ER BB SO  WP BK HP IBB  AB BF  FO GO  NP
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Kyle Bakker ...............   4.0 10  7  6  0  3   0  0  1  0   23 24   8  1  76
  Jeff Watchko  W,11-1.......   5.0  6  1  1  0  4   0  0  0  0   21 21   5  6  80

  Bakker, K. faced 2 batters in the 5th.

  WP - Moore, D.(7). HB - Harrell, C.; Gross, M.; Bakker, K.. PB - Iannetta, C.(13).
  Inherited runners/scored: Harrell, C. 1/1; Gross, M. 3/0. Pitches/strikes: Moore, D.
  70/41; Harrell, C. 26/13; Gross, M. 32/20; Benson, W. 18/11; Bakker, K. 76/51; Watchko,
  J. 80/56.

  Strikeouts - Greenberg, A 2; Farrell, S.; Blake, R. 2; Iannetta, C. 2; Patterson, E;
  Perry, J.; Boggs, M.. Walks - Patterson, E 2; Menocal, V.; Murton, M. 2.

  Umpires - HP: Steve Manders  1B: Tony Maners  2B: Tim Clougherty  3B: Scott Graham
  Start: 3:32 pm   Time: 2:54   Attendance: 1383


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