GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia Tech scored six runs over the final three innings including a three-run eighth to defeat Maryland, 8-4, Sunday afternoon in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game at NewBridge Bank Park.
The Terps, who were making their first ACC tournament final appearance since 1976, finished 2-2 at the event with wins over third-ranked Virginia and fourth-ranked Florida State. Maryland will learn its NCAA postseason fate on Monday when the field of 64 is announced on ESPNU at noon.
“Obviously, not the result we were looking for and it’s kind of a pretty disappointing day in general for our guys and for the program,” said head coach John Szefc. “Tough one to deal with, but, you know, the other side of the coin as I tried to explain to our guys, as tough as this one is, tomorrow we will be sitting in a restaurant in College Park hopefully getting a good feel as to where we might be playing next weekend in the NCAA Tournament. That’s been kind of a goal for us for a long time, since I got here. Certainly since a lot of these other guys have been here well before I got here.
“Hopefully, we will get something out of this, and I think we have a chance to do well in the NCAA Regional coming out of this tournament.”
Maryland (36-21) ran into a hot Yellow Jacket (36-25) lineup that totaled 13 hits including seven doubles, which tied a season high for Georgia Tech. The number three, four and five hitters in the Tech lineup were a combined 10-for-13 and drove in five of the Yellow Jacket’s runs.
Georgia Tech opened the game up in the eighth scoring three runs on three hits. A leadoff double by Daniel Spingola and a bunt single that resulted in a throwing error on reliever Kevin Mooney scored the first run of the inning. A two-RBI single from Connor Justus put the game away for Tech.
The Jackets struck first posting the first two runs of the contest on back-to-back doubles by Thomas Smith and A.J. Murray. Maryland starter Jake Drossner retired the first two batters of the inning on ground balls, but Matt Gonzalez tallied the first hit of the afternoon on a single through the right side. Thomas Smith’s run-scoring double put Georgia Tech in front. A.J. Murray then followed with a double to center and the Jackets had a 2-0 lead after a half of an inning.
Maryland cut the deficit to one in the home half of the second. Schmit led off the inning with his first home run of the season. The blast hit the top of the wall and bounced over trimming the Jacket lead to 2-1.
Tech answered in the fourth and regained a two-run advantage. Smith hit his second double of the afternoon to start the inning and scored one batter later on a single by Murray. Drossner settled down and got the next three batters including the final two on strikes to keep the deficit at two.
The Terps got it right back in the bottom of the inning. After a one-out walk to Schmit, Nick Cieri delivered a two-out single to center moving Schmit to third. Papio picked the Terps up with a flair to right scoring Schmit to cut the deficit back to one.
After two shutout innings from Drossner and reliever Bobby Ruse, the Terps grabbed the lead in the bottom of the sixth. A walk and back-to-back singles by Lewis and Cieri loaded the bases. Papio once again came through for the Terps with a run-scoring single, this time to center to tie the game. The Yellow Jackets got a double play on the next at-bat, but it brought Cieri in as the go-ahead run.
The Yellow Jackets tied it right back up in the seventh and took the lead with a three-run eighth. A leadoff double for the second straight inning came back to bite Maryland in the seventh. A sacrifice bunt moved Brandon Gold to third later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Earnest.
Justus brought two runs home in the eighth with a single to center capping a three-run inning. The Yellow Jackets added a run in the ninth on a run-scoring double by Gonzalez.