GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (37-24) won an 8-4 slugfest over the College of Charleston (37-21) in the opening game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional on Friday afternoon.
The two teams combined for 24 hits, 12 runs and three home runs, mostly coming in the first two innings, as the ACC tournament champions built an early lead and kept the Cougars at bay.
Georgia Tech's Jake Davies tallied four RBI, including a three-run homer in the first inning, while Brandon Thomas went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer in the second inning. Tech reliever Dusty Isaacs (6-4) pitched 5.1 innings of shutout ball to earn the victory.
The Cougars were led by outfielders Marty Gantt and Brandon Murray. Recently selected as a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American, Gantt went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer while Murray tallied three hits and two RBI.
In the last eight games, Murray has hit .538 (21-39) with 12 RBI, while Gantt has hit .395 (15-38) with nine RBI.
We played pretty good defensively, outside of the one error that allowed those four runs," head coach Monte Lee said. "You have to give Georgia Tech credit as they really swung the bat well. We had to try to play catch up after they hit those three-run homers, but I thought we swung the bats pretty well overall. Isaacs did a good job in relief and kept us down offensively. We just have to keep the other team down in the beginning of the game and we'll be OK."
All but one Cougar starter tallied a hit, while Jimmy Holton reached on an error and eventually came around to score. Although the Cougars outhit Georgia Tech, 13-11, College of Charleston stranded 11 runners over the course of the game.
CofC starter Christian Powell (9-4) allowed seven hits and eight runs, only four earned, as he worked into the fourth inning before being relieved by Nick Osterman. Osterman and Jake Zokan finished the game and did not allow any more runs, while scattering four combined hits.
College of Charleston jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as CofC tallied five singles, including an RBI hit from Murray that scored Gantt.
Georgia Tech responded in the bottom of the first with a single and walk, followed by a three-run homer from Davies to right field to put the Yellow Jackets up 3-1.
The Cougars clawed right back in the top of the next frame as Holton led off the inning by reaching second on a throwing error that hit his helmet. Gantt then launched his 11th homer of the season to left center field, electrifying the CofC contingent and tying the game at three apiece.
The game's offensive see-sawing continued in the bottom of the second inning when Mott Hyde led off with a single and Kyle Wren extended the inning with a two-out chopper in front of the plate that Holton mishandled. Sam Dove singled to center to score Hyde, and then Thomas homered to right field to put the Jackets up 7-3.
Both teams scored singular runs in the fourth inning, off RBI singles from CofC's Murray and GT's Davies, locking the score at 8-4.
Both teams' pitching staffs and defenses locked down after the fourth, but the Cougars were unable to spark a comeback.
College of Charleston will continue in the double-elimination regional by facing off against the loser of Florida/Bethune-Cookman at 1 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN3.
Prior to the game, the Cougar Club will host a tailgate at 11 a.m. at the Copper Monkey in Gainesville, Fla. Free appetizers will be provided.