Joltin Jackets Rally Past Heels

Jason Haniger ended an extra inning game against the Tar Heels with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th to give the Jackets a 10-6 victory. Luke Murton paced the the Jackets with two home runs and three RBI's while Mark Pope got the win in relief.

When Jason Haniger stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th with the bases loaded, he was 0 for 5 and just hoping to get a sacrifice fly ball to end the game against the Tar Heels. Instead, he launched a walk-off grand slam to send the Heels to the showers with a 10-6 loss and whipped the already excited sold-out crowd in to a frenzy. Haniger's opportunity was made possible by a furious 2-out rally in the bottom of the 9th where the Jackets rallied from a 6-3 deficit to tie the game 6-6 and send the game to extra innings.

UNC (23-7, 8-5 ACC) led off the scoring in the top of the 1st when Garrett Gore hit a 2 run home run off Zack Von Tersch to drive in Ben Bunting. Bunting had reached on an error by Jason Garofalo to lead off the game. Georgia Tech (19-5, 9-3 ACC) bounced back in their half of the first when Jeff Rowland blasted a Adam Warren pitch deep to center field.

Zack Von Tersch held the Tar Heels in check until the 4th inning allowing the Jackets to build a 3-2 lead on Luke Murton's first of two home runs in the game. But, in the 4th inning, the Jackets again committed a costly error by Tony Plagman that led to two runs (one unearned) and putting the Heels in the lead 4-3. In the 9th inning, the Heels extended their lead to 6-3. Andrew Robinson, pitching for the Jackets, experienced some hard luck with a bloop single and bloop double frustrating him. UNC took advantage and followed with another Garrett Gore single. Zack Brewster came on relief to extinguish the fire and set the stage for the dramatic 9th inning.

Following an Evan Martin fly out to right, Luke Murton smashed a solo home run over the left field wall and woke the Jackets up. Still, it took some two out heroics via a single from Garofalo, a base on balls to Chris House, and back to back RBI singles from Rowland and Derek Dietrich. Haniger struck out to end the inning but the damage was done and the game then went to extra innings before Haniger ended the suspense with his one out grand slam. Haniger's fireworks weren't the only ones that inning as UNC Coach Mike Fox and his assistant coach Chad Flack both exploded at the umpiring crew over balls and strikes and found themselves ending their afternoon at Russ Chandler a few batters before their team.

Von Tersch pitched 5 solid innings giving up four runs (two earned), six hits, and adding one strikeout. Then the Tech bullpen took over and put on an overall solid performance. Jake Davies added a scoreless inning before giving way to Andrew Robinson and Brewster. Mark Pope got the win in relief after two scoreless innings of relief bringing his record to 3-0 for the year. The Jackets were led on offense by Haniger's 4 RBI's and Luke Murton's two home runs for three RBI's.

The Heels pitchers struck out 13 Yellow Jackets on the day and were led by starter Adam Warren. Warren pitched 6 solid innings giving up three runs on 4 hits. He had 8 strikeouts on the day. Brian Moran came on in relief and pitched efficiently going 2 and 1/3 innings giving up one run while striking out 4. Colin Bates took the loss in relief dropping his record to 3-2. The Heel's offense was led by Garrett Gore's three RBI's.

The crowd at Russ Chandler Stadium was a full house with 4186 in attendance. It marked the 6th largest crowd in its history. Additionally, it ranked as the highest attended ACC home game in its history. Top Stories