Jackets Break Out Brooms on Devils

The number two ranked Georgia Tech baseball team improved their ACC record to 11-1 this weekend with a sweep of the Duke Blue Devils. The focus was on the hitting show put on by the Jackets but they also got three strong performances from their starting rotation.

The Jackets opened the three game series with a 13-3 win behind the pitching of Deck McGuire and the hitting of Chase Burnette. McGuire went seven innings to pick up a league leading fifth win. Burnette paced the Jackets with three hits, three RBI and a home run.

McGuire was cruising along through three innings when he ran into some trouble in the fourth. "He made some bad pitches with two strikes," said Coach Danny Hall. "He gave up two, two strike hits on breaking balls but then he settled in and pitched out of it and limited the damage to two runs."

The Blue Devils pulled to within one run but then the Jacket bats took over with a eight run sixth inning and gave McGuire a comfortable lead to work with the rest of the way. Cole Leonida continued to hit well in the four slot and had another nice night. "He had a nice night," said Hall. "He's been battling the stomach virus so I was a little concerned that he wouldn't be at full strength." Leonida contributed three hits before giving way to Thomas Nichols behind the plate.

Coach Hall was able to get some ACC action for one of his young pitchers when Clay Dalton took over for McGuire and pitched the final two innings. "When he got in trouble he pitched out of trouble and threw strikes for the most part," said Hall. "We did need to save our bullpen and he picked us up."

The outcome of game two was never in doubt as the Jackets pounded out 24 hits and Brandon Cumpton pitched seven strong innings in route to a 21-5 win. The win by Cumpton gave him his fifth win of the season to match McGuire's total. Tony Plagman led the Jackets with four hits and Derek Dietrich, Matt Skole, Jeff Rowland, and Thomas Nichols each had three hits.

The game was never in doubt has Tech scored in each of the first seven innings. Coach Hall emptied the bench with twenty two players seeing action. The game featured the first hit of Roddy Jones' career.

"We swung the bats extremely well tonight," said Hall. "We had a lot of guys contribute." Derek Dietrich got the team going with the first of two home runs on the night and they never looked back. "We scored in seven of the eight innings," said Hall. "I was hoping we'd score in eight out of eight; that's a coach's dream."

Cumpton threw the best he's thrown for a while and threw his breaking ball for strikes. "I thought this was probably his best outing," said Hall.

With the series already clinched, the Jackets went out Easter Sunday looking for the sweep. The long ball was the difference as they defeated Duke 9-4. The long ball was the difference in the game as they pounded out four home runs. Chase Burnette led the home run attack with two. He and Dietrich led the attack with three hits each. Lefty Jed Bradley pitched six innings to pick up his fourth win of the season.

The Jackets got the early lead by scoring two in the first and never trailed in the game. "It's always good to get the lead on a Sunday to set the tone," said Hall. "I thought it was important to get those two runs in the first inning."

Following Saturday's win, Coach Hall said it was important to get Andrew Robinson some work on Sunday. He got that chance and responded with one and two-thirds innings of shutout ball. "He threw the ball well and answered the bell when we needed him to because if they get a base hit or hit a home run with the bases loaded it's a completely different ball game."

The Jackets return to Russ Chandler stadium Tuesday night hoping to make amends for the loss last week to Kennesaw State. Game time for the contest with the Owls is 6pm.

Closer Kevin Jacob is moving along well with his rehab. He makes a return visit to the doctor this week in hopes of getting the green light to begin throwing again.

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