NC State Baseball Defeats Georgia Tech, 7-2
May 17, 2003
ATLANTA, Ga. - Vern Sterry did what a stopper is supposed to do on Saturday, stopping a two-game losing streak for NC State with seven strong innings as the Wolfpack defeated Georgia Tech 7-1 and salvaged the final game of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series at Chandler Stadium.
Sterry (11-0), who allowed one run on five hits, set a new school record for consecutive victories in a single season with 11, breaking a mark he shared with Brad Rhodes (1988). Sterry walked one and struck out four. Former Wolfpack shortstop Chris Goodman (8-3) took the loss for Georgia Tech. Goodman went four innings and allowed three runs, two of them earned, on five hits. He walked two and struck out two.
The victory clinched third place in the final ACC standings for NC State, which improved to 39-14 overall and 15-9 in the ACC. The 15 conference victories ties a school record. The Wolfpack will face sixth-seeded Virginia at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, in the first round of the ACC Tournament. With the loss, Georgia Tech fell to 39-15 overall and 17-7 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets are seeded second and will face seventh-seeded Wake Forest at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech broke up a scoreless game by playing little ball in the bottom of the third. Andy Hawranick led off with a single to left field, went to second on Eric Patterson's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Steven Blackwood's single past third base.
The Wolfpack got on the board in the top of the fourth. David Hicks ripped a one-out double to right-center field and Colt Morton walked. Lee Mezistrano lined a double down the right-field line to drive in Hicks and send Morton to third base, and Joe Gaetti drove in Morton with an RBI groundout. Marc Maynor hit a grounder to shortstop Tyler Greene, who threw the ball into the NC State dugout for a two-base error. That allowed Mezistrano to score and gave the Wolfpack a 3-1 lead.
Matt Camp led off the top of the fifth inning with a single to left field off Tech reliever Aaron Walker, and Jeremy Dutton followed with a double that one-hopped the wall in right field, putting runners at second and third with none out. Justin Riley worked Walker for a walk to load the bases, and David Hicks hit a single off the wall in right to drive in Camp and make it 4-1. Hicks would have had a double, but Riley and Dutton both held up to make sure the ball would not be caught, which limited Hicks to a single. That was the end of the game for Walker. Jeff Watchko came in to pitch for Georgia Tech, and Colt Morton belted a two-run double to right-center, driving in Dutton and Riley and making it 6-1.
Hicks led off the top of the seventh with his fourth hit of the game, a bloop single to right, and Morton followed with a bloop to left to put runners on first and second with none out. Mezistrano grounded out to second to advance the runners to second and third, and Gaetti ripped a double to left-center to drive in Hicks and make the Wolfpack lead 7-1.
The Jackets dinged reliever Joey Devine for a run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-2 when Steven Blackwood hit a one-out ground-rule double to left, went to third on Matt Murton's single to center, and scored on a wild pitch.