ATLANTA, Ga. – Aided by four home runs, 26th-ranked Georgia Tech (32-13) defeated the 15th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (37-10) 10-6 May 2 at Russ Chandler Stadium. Coastal scored three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to one, but three runs in the eighth by Tech gave the Chanticleers its 10th loss of the season.
Coastal manufactured a run in the first. Junior David Sappelt (Graham, N.C./Southern Alamance) led off the game with a single up the middle. He stole second as freshman Scott Woodward (Markle, Ind./Norwell) tried to sacrifice him over. Woodward was hit by a 1-2 pitch from David Duncan. Both runners moved over on a sacrifice from junior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll). Sappelt would score on a groundout to first base by junior Dock Doyle (Conway, S.C./Conway).
Georgia Tech came back with two runs in the second. With one out, Tony Plagman just missed a home run to straightaway center field. His double was followed by a strikeout to Brad Feltes, but with two outs, Thomas Nichols belted his sixth home run of the year, giving the Yellow Jackets a 2-1 advantage. Coastal would tie the game in the top of the third. Freshman Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) led off the game with a single to left. He was picked off but Sappelt followed with a double to left. Sappelt would move to third on a double from Woodward and would score on a sacrifice fly from Anderson.
The Yellow Jackets once again used the longball to score three runs in the third. Jason Haniger was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Charlie Blackmon followed with a two-run home run to right field. Jeff Rowland followed with a home run to right, his third of the year, to give Tech a 5-2 lead.
Another Tech home run, this one by Haniger, gave the Yellow Jackets a 6-2 lead after five innings.
Coastal came back with three in the sixth. Anderson opened the inning with a double to right. He would score on a double from sophomore Adam Rice (Murphy, Texas/Elgin C.C.). Senior Tommy Baldridge (Fort Mill, S.C./Fort Mill) then hit a two-run opposite field home run, his seventh of the season, cutting the Tech lead to 6-5. Yellow Jacket reliever Andrew Robinson got Tech out of the jam as Noel grounded to first, but Plagman threw out junior Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) at home. Sappelt flew out to center to end the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, Derek Dietrich led off the inning with a triple. He would score on a sacrifice fly from Feltes. Anderson got that run back in the top of the seventh with a towering home run to right center, his 10th of the season.
Coastal had a chance to push across a run in the eighth, as Baldridge doubled and Bortnick reached on an error with no out. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, but Tech reliever Brad Rulon struck out sophomore Jose Iglesias (Miami, Fla./St. John’s) and Noel and got Sappelt to ground out to end the threat.
Georgia Tech added insurance in the eighth by scoring three runs. Coastal got the first two batters out, but Plagman singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Freshman Matt Rein (Houston, Texas/Langham Creek) intentionally walked Feltes and walked Thomas Nichols. Junior Kent Altman (Conway, S.C./Conway) came in and walked Chase Burnette to force in a run. Haniger then singled up the middle, scoring two runs and giving Tech a 10-6 lead.
David Duncan improved to 6-2 on the season, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up 10 hits, five runs while striking out three. Rulon earned his fourth save of the season, striking out three in two innings.
Gagg took the loss, dropping to 6-2 on the year. He allowed six hits and seven runs in 5.1 innings, striking out three batters.
Eight of the nine Coastal starters had hits, as Sappelt, Anderson, Baldridge and Bortnick had two safties apiece. For Georgia Tech, Haniger had two hits and three RBI, while Plagman and Blackmon had two hits apiece.
Coastal and Georgia Tech continue the series Saturday, May 3 at 4 p.m. The game can be seen on SportSouth, which is HTC Cable channel 66.