Noles Lose Close One to Tech

Georgia Tech battled back from a 4-0 deficit late in Thursday night's Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament to defeat Florida State 5-4 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets (40-16) scored all five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to trump the 14th-ranked Seminoles (49-17) at their own game.

FSU's patience at the plate paid off early for the Seminoles as they took what the Jackets gave them and managed four runs off five hits in the sixth and seventh inning. But Tech seemed poised to break the game open at any moment, and when starting pitcher Mark Sauls was yanked from the mound after six innings of work, the Jackets seized the opportunity to stage a rally.

"They're as good as anybody in the country, in my opinion," FSU coach Mike Martin said. "They're a beautiful baseball team. They did a great job."

The Seminoles shuffled through three different pitchers in the defining inning, giving up twice as many hits as a unit as Sauls surrendered all game.

"I can't say enough about our bullpen," Sauls said. "They've saved me a number of times to not put them in that position."

Florida State catcher Aaron Cheesman broke the five-inning scoring drought with his RBI single that plated center fielder Shane Robinson for the 1-0 lead, and the Seminoles pieced together a three-run seventh off an RBI single from shortstop Ryne Jernigan and a base hit from third baseman Ryne Malone that sent Robinson and second baseman Tony Thomas Jr. home.

The Seminoles twice got out of a sticky situation by churning a double play, but it didn't seem to keep Tech from battling back.

Mike Trapini was the first and last batter to face the Seminoles in the seventh. Between outs, Tech managed four RBI singles and third baseman Wes Hodges sent another runner home on a fielder's choice as the Jackets squeezed in their entire lineup into the inning.

"It's a tough one, but you can't dwell on it," Martin said. "You've got to be ready to go tomorrow."

The Seminoles will now have to play their way out of the loser's bracket Friday at 7 p.m. versus eight-seeded Wake Forest.

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