ATLANTA — Even after seeing his Elon team eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Georgia Tech, coach Mike Kennedy proclaimed the Phoenix to be his best team in 13 years.
That’s why Kennedy was so disappointed Elon’s season ended with what he considered a weak effort.
Nine consecutive Georgia Tech batters reached safely in a seven-run second inning and the Yellow Jackets beat Elon 8-4 on Sunday.
"It wasn’t very good baseball," Kennedy said, adding his team couldn’t overcome the second inning.
"Overall I’m disappointed. We’ve got an older club and I thought we’ve have handled that better. ... Opportunity after opportunity, it’s almost like if we don’t hit three-run home runs, we don’t know how to win the game, and that’s not true."
Elon hit no homers Sunday and struggled to find other ways to score runs.
Georgia Tech ended the night and extended its season with a 10-3 win against Southern Miss. The Yellow Jackets must beat the Eagles again tonight to advance further.
Georgia Tech (38-18-1) overcame nine walks by its three pitchers to beat Elon (41-18).
Jake Davies (3-0) gave up one run in his only inning in relief of Zach Von Tersch. Mark Pope closed the game with five scoreless innings for his eighth save.
Daniel Britt (8-1), who pitched one inning Saturday to earn the save in Elon’s 4-3 win over Georgia State, lasted only 1 1-3 innings and gave up five runs as the surprise starter.
"He was our best option, that’s why we threw him," Kennedy said.
"He said he felt strong and felt good. He looked great for an inning."
But after one strong inning, the struggles began for Britt and the Phoenix.
Britt retired the first four batters and then allowed five straight baserunners in the second on three hits and two walks. Kennedy brought in right-hander Ken Ferrer, who walked the first two batters he faced — forcing in a run with the pass to Chase Burnette — and then giving up run-scoring singles to Luke Murton and Tony Plagman.
Chris House and Jason Garofalo also had run-scoring singles in the big inning.
The decision to use Britt in relief on Saturday came after Thomas Girdwood, who ranks second in the nation with 17 saves, failed to hold a 13-12 lead in the ninth inning of Friday’s 17-15 loss to Southern Miss.
Georgia Tech starter Zach Von Tersch gave up three runs in three innings. Davies’ one inning earned him the win, but the Yellow Jackets’ difference-maker on the mound was Pope.
Pope gave up only three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts after Von Tersch and Davies combined for eight walks in four innings.
"I felt if we could find somebody who was going to throw strikes we had a good chance to get them out," said Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall.
"Mark’s line, that’s a heck of an effort against a good-hitting team."
Elon had runners on second and third with two out in the eighth when Harry Austin popped out to catcher Jason Haniger while trying to bunt for a hit.
Kennedy said his only instruction to Austin was "get on base. It doesn’t matter how you do it. ... It was disheartening. Here you are, you’ve got a little bit of energy and you end the inning that way."
Bennett Davis, who hit four home runs in Elon’s first two regional games, was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Dallas Tarleton was 2-for-3 and drove in one run.
Georgia Tech 10, Southern Miss 3: Luke Murton became the 10th player in Georgia Tech history to hit 20 homers in a season and the Yellow Jackets beat Southern Mississippi 10-3 on Sunday night.
Murton, Jay Dantzler and Cole Leonida hit homers in the first two innings for Georgia Tech (38-18-1), which won two games Sunday to set up Monday night’s regional final game against Southern Miss. The winner will face Florida in the super regionals.
The Yellow Jackets beat Elon 8-4 in an elimination game earlier Sunday.
Andrew Robinson (1-0) gave up two runs in five innings in his second career start for Georgia Tech.
Pinch-hitter Kyle Maxie homered in the ninth inning for the Eagles (37-24).