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Jackets' season ends in rout

POSTED: June 14, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Georgia's Gordon Beckman slides under the tag of Georgia Tech catcher Jason Haniger to score during second inning baseball action in the NCAA baseball Athens Regional on Monday in Athens.

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ATHENS - Georgia coach David Perno couldn’t quite describe the Bulldogs’ 15-0 record in NCAA elimination games at Foley Field.

"It’s crazy, isn’t it?" Perno said. "I told the guys that history was on our side here. We just had to play to our identity."

Matt Olson went 5-for-6 with three RBIs, and Rich Poythress hit a two-run homer to help Georgia advance to an NCAA Super Regional with an 18-6 victory over Georgia Tech on Monday night.

The Bulldogs will host North Carolina State, a 2-1 winner Sunday over South Carolina, in an NCAA Super Regional matchup this weekend.

A series victory over N.C. State would put Georgia (39-22-1) in the College World Series for the third time in five years.

The Bulldogs won the Southeastern Conference regular season championship, but had lost four straight after falling to Lipscomb in the first round on Friday.

Georgia never trailed after Poythress scored from third to make it 6-5 on second baseman Patrick Long’s fielding error.

"That just allowed us to keep putting pressure on them," Poythress said after homering for the third time in three games. "We needed to score every chance we had."

Olson, a senior right fielder, was named most outstanding player of the regional after hitting .682 in 26 at-bats.

Poythress’ 15th homer this season gave the Bulldogs a 12-6 lead in the fifth. He finished with three RBIs. Georgia had two RBIs each from Bryce Massanari, Matt Cerione and Gordon Beckham, the SEC Player of the Year.

Chestatee High graduate Alex McRee (6-1) entered the game in the first after Bulldogs starter Justin Grimm failed to retire a batter. Pitching the next four full innings, McRee allowed four hits, two runs — one earned — with one walk and five strikeouts.

Georgia Tech (41-21) ended a difficult year that included the heroine-related death of pitcher Michael Hutts on April 11.

"It was a tragedy that hit everybody right in the face," Yellow Jackets coach Danny Hall said. "But I take tremendous pride in the way our players handled a very difficult situation."

Despite the problems that resulted from the Hutts tragedy, Hall insisted that he fully intends to return for his 16th season at Tech in 2009.

Brandon Cumpton (2-1), the Jackets’ second pitcher, allowed five hits, two walks and five runs — three earned — with no strikeouts.

Through the first four innings, Tech committed four errors and a wild pitch that combined to let Georgia score four runs. The Jackets were the only regional team to commit no errors through Sunday night, but they finished with six in the final.

"It seemed like defensively we just fell apart," Hall said. "We didn’t play at a championship level tonight. I take full responsibility for that, but you have to give Georgia credit. They really swung the bats."

Olson raised his career average against the Jackets to .486 with 16 RBIs in 37 at-bats.

Tech, which began the game as the regional’s only team without an error, had five miscues.



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