Georgia Tech advanced into pool play at the ACC tournament with a 6-0 win over Boston College in a play-in game Tuesday in Durham, N.C.
Tech starting pitcher Brandon Gold, named to the All-ACC second team Monday, punctured the Eagles for the second time in five days. The winner in the Friday matchup of last weekend’s series, Gold gave up seven hits (all singles) and one walk over 6 2/3 innings. Matthew Gorst finished up, closing the door with 2 1/3 innings of two-hit relief.
Last weekend’s series was ultimately won by Boston College, which took both ends of a Saturday doubleheader. The Eagles needed to win both games to make the ACC tournament for the first time since 2010, and celebrated on Tech’s field after doing so.
“You never like somebody coming into your place and taking a series from you the last weekend of the season,” Gold told reporters. “We had a huge chip on our shoulder (Tuesday), played great baseball and came out with a victory.”
With Tech up 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Gold finagled his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a fly-out and groundout.
Tech scored single runs in the third, fourth and sixth – Wade Bailey, Trevor Craport and Brandt Stallings drove in the runs, Craport on a solo home run – and then loaded up with three more in the top of the ninth when Matt Gonzalez and Tristin English both homered.
The Jackets (36-20) move on to pool play with top-seeded Miami, fourth-seeded Florida State and fifth-seeded N.C. State. Tech starts with Miami Wednesday at 3 p.m. It is not the most accommodating trio for the Jackets, who were a combined 2-7 against those three teams this season.
They’ll almost certainly have to take on the teams ranked fourth (Miami), 13th (FSU) and 14th (N.C. State) in the country (USA Today coaches poll) without their ace. The team’s ERA without Gold is above 5.00.
Coach Danny Hall will need to hope on pitchers such as Keyton Gibson (3.52 ERA), Zac Ryan (5.75) and Ben Parr (4.86) to come through while counting on Connor Justus, Kel Johnson, Bailey, Gonzalez and Craport to continue to deliver at the plate.
Asked who he would pitch against the Hurricanes, Hall joked that he’d pitch Gold and Gorst again before saying he would meet with pitching coach Jason Howell and come up with a plan for the rest of the week.
“We honestly didn’t want to look past this game,” Hall said. “Felt like we needed a win, and that’s why we pitched Brandon.”
Tech has the advantage of having successfully navigated this course previously. In 2014, Tech won its play-in game and then proceeded to win the conference championship, its ninth in school history. The Jackets became the first No. 9 seed – their seed again this week – to win the tournament.