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Georgia Tech tops Panthers in regional opener
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Georgia Tech vs. Southern Miss
NCAA regionals

When: 7 p.m., tonight

Where: Russ Chandler Stadium, Atlanta

ATLANTA Deck McGuire overcame the jitters of a big inning and proved why he’s the Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher of the year.

McGuire scattered three runs over seven innings, Matt Skole hit a grand slam, and Georgia Tech beat Georgia State 9-3 in their NCAA tournament opener Friday night.

After snapping Georgia State’s eight-game winning streak, the Yellow Jackets (36-17-1) will play Southern Mississippi in the winners’ bracket game Saturday. Georgia State (39-21), which had its first NCAA appearance spoiled, will face Elon in an elimination game.

McGuire (11-1) allowed nine hits and three runs with no walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Skole’s first career grand slam, his 16th homer this season, came off Georgia State starter Will Palmer (5-6) in the fifth inning to give the Yellow Jackets a 6-3 lead.

"I was just trying to get a pitch that I could in play, maybe find a hole and get a couple of runs," Skole said.

"At that time, we were down and needed one big hit to get us going. Luckily, he threw a fastball in, and I got the turn on it."

Georgia Tech, participating in its 23rd NCAA regional in 25 years, trimmed the Panthers’ lead to 3-2 earlier in the fifth when Palmer gave up Tony Plagman’s bases-loaded RBI walk.

"I think our kids were very ready to play," Georgia State coach Greg Frady said. "They handled themselves very well, and this is only going to help us in the future as we go forward."

In the sixth, Jeff Rowland’s RBI single off reliever Aidan Francis put the Yellow Jackets ahead 7-3.

Georgia State erased a 1-0 deficit in the second. Bradley Logan tied it with his 10th homer, and fifth in five games, before Matt Van Horn scored from second on a throwing error and Marc Mimeault scored on a double-play grounder.

McGuire acknowledged trying to pitch Logan too carefully.

"I didn’t want to walk him, and so I figured that hitters get themselves out 70 percent of the time anyway," McGuire said. "But he didn’t get himself out. Logan is a tough out."

Luke Murton’s two-RBI single in the eighth ended the scoring.

Regional events