Jackets making some late-season buzz
Also: Hofstra's Galati perfect; LIU Post's Sileo racks up points
Georgia Tech baseball accomplished something no other team could this season as the Yellow Jackets won a series against North Carolina in Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Up to this point, the Tar Heels -- ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in every poll -- have been dominant against any and all opponents, losing just four games on the year until they paid Tech a visit this past weekend. The Yellow Jackets took two of three games in the series, winning both of their games in walk-off fashion.
In the series opener Friday, junior shortstop Mott Hyde belted a walk-off home run to left field, lifting the Yellow Jackets to a 5-4 victory against UNC pitcher Kent Emmanuel, who tossed his ACC-leading fourth complete game of the season. Georgia Tech catcher Zane Evans went 4-for-4 in the game.
UNC managed to sandwich a 3-1 victory between the two setbacks behind sophomore right-hander Benton Moss’ best outing of the season Saturday. Moss gave up just two hits and two walks in eight shutout innings, while striking out five batters as he improved to 8-1 on the season.
It was an exciting weekend for college baseball in Atlanta, but Sunday’s rubber match may have been the game to watch. If you checked the score halfway through, and saw UNC leading 7-1 in the top of the fifth inning, you may have turned it off (like I did). The Tar Heels had an 8-3 lead heading into the bottom seven, but Tech chipped away with two runs, making it 8-5. The Yellow Jackets then rallied for three runs with a trio of RBI singles in the ninth inning to tie the game.
Luckily, I tuned in again in time for extra innings. Evans, who caught the first eight innings of the game, moved to the mound in the ninth, and dealt three innings of scoreless and hitless relief, striking out three batters in the appearance and setting himself up to get the victory. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Evans made sure he did get his first win of the season as he ripped the game-winning RBI single to score Kyle Wren, giving the Yellow Jackets a 9-8 victory.
"Zane held the fort for three innings and then got the big hit," Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall said. "We just kept battling and we needed to [Sunday]. We beat a very, very good team. They're on top of our league for a reason. To win this series was big for us."
Evans was one of four players with multiple hits in the game; left fielder Wren went 3-for-4 as the Yellow Jackets collected 14 hits on the day. It was the second most hits UNC has given up all season.
With the win, Georgia Tech secured a berth in the ACC tournament and became the first team to beat UNC in a series since the Jackets took two of three games in Chapel Hill, N.C., last April. Tech is the first ACC team to score more than eight runs against North Carolina this season.
After losing six consecutive games in late April, the Yellow Jackets are 5-4 in their past nine contests, and now have a winning record in ACC play at 14-13. And, while the Jackets may not be consistent of late, they do have some quality wins this season. It was Tech’s second series win against a top-five opponent as the Jackets took two games against Virginia in early April.
"There was a different atmosphere in the dugout [late in the game]," Evans said. "Right now we know we have to keep winning. If want to get into a regional ... we have to keep winning. Whatever needs to be done, we're finding a way to do it and that's great out of our team right now."
• The Wisconsin softball team captured the program’s first Big Ten tournament title with a 9-3 defeat of Minnesota on Sunday. Pitcher Cassandra Darrah was voted most outstanding player after fanning seven batters in the complete-game victory as the Badgers earned their first NCAA tournament berth since 2005. Darrah also was the winning pitcher in Wisconsin’s 9-3 upset of No. 6 Michigan on Saturday, which advanced the Badgers to their first title game in program history and gave them their first victory over a top-10 opponent since 2002.
• The Nova Southeastern men’s golf squad won the Division II South/Southeast Super Regional for the second consecutive year as two Sharks finished first and second in the individual standings Wednesday. The Sharks placed four golfers in the top 10, including Benjamin Taylor and Ricardo Celia, who finished one stroke apart in first and second place, respectively. Taylor scored a 69 in the final round, edging Celia for the individual crown.
• Last year’s NCAA champion Alabama women’s golf team completed their first step in defending its title as the Crimson Tide posted a 20-under-par 544 to claim the NCAA East Regional championship Saturday. Alabama’s 544 total was the second-lowest 54-hole score in school history, and allowed the Tide to advance to the NCAA championship for the eighth consecutive season. Stephanie Meadow took individual medalist honors with her seventh career victory following a 13-under-par 203 in the 54-hole tournament. The mark tied a school record.
• The Memphis men’s tennis team won its first match in Oxford, Miss., since 1982 when the Tigers upended No. 6-seed Mississippi 4-2 in NCAA championship action Saturday. Memphis joined California as the only unseeded schools to advance to the NCAA Round of 16. The Tigers won the doubles point for a ninth consecutive match en route to their first appearance in the Round of 16.
• The unseeded Yale men’s lacrosse squad upended No. 8-seed Penn State 10-7 on Saturday to advance to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals for the first time in 21 years. The Bulldogs trailed 5-1 at halftime, but put together a run of seven unanswered goals in the second half to mount their eventual come-from-behind victory. Yale became the first team in NCAA history to claim a victory after scoring only one goal in the first half. Yale will see if it can pull off another huge upset against Syracuse in the NCAA quarterfinals next weekend.
• Syracuse junior Alyssa Murray tallied a career-high 10 points in the Orange’s 21-8 defeat of Dartmouth in second-round NCAA tournament action Sunday. The Orange extended their winning streak to 12 with the victory as they advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the seventh time in the past eight years. Murray also became just the second player in Syracuse history to reach 100 points in a season twice in her career. This Saturday, the Orange will play host to No. 5 Florida in a rematch of last year’s NCAA semifinal, which Syracuse won 14-13 in double overtime.
• The San Jose State softball team claimed its first Western Athletic Conference championship with a 4-0 victory against New Mexico State on Saturday. Amanda Pridmore, the WAC Pitcher of the Year, was named the tournament’s most valuable player after tossing a one-hit shutout in the championship game. San Jose State (42-15) is the winningest team in school history, and with its automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, the Spartans will appear in the postseason for the first time since 1992.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
|1||The Marshall softball program claimed its first Conference USA tournament title along with the Thundering Herd’s first NCAA tournament berth with a 3-1 defeat of Houston on Saturday. It is the 20th season for Marshall (35-20) softball. Head coach Shonda Stanton told her team, “You're going to go down as the best team in Marshall softball history." The team also will be Marshall’s first to participate in the NCAA postseason since 2005, when the women’s volleyball team earned a tournament berth.|
|5||Hofstra senior pitcher Olivia Galati tossed an NCAA-record-tying fifth career perfect game in an 8-0 victory against James Madison on Thursday, tying Fordham’s Jen Mineau for the feat. It was the first perfect game in Colonial Athletic Association tournament history. Galati went on to deliver a 2-1 victory against JMU on Friday in the CAA title game, earning tournament most outstanding player honors. For the tournament, the NCAA’s leader in strikeouts fanned 22 batters and walked none. Hofstra’s CAA title was the Pride’s second in a row and 10th in the past 12 years.|
|8||In a rematch of last year’s final match, the Armstrong Atlantic women’s tennis team downed third-seeded BYU Hawaii 5-2 to capture the NCAA Division II championship for the second consecutive year and sixth time in nine seasons. The Lady Pirates’ eight team titles are the most in NCAA history.|
|29-0||The Barry men’s tennis team won the program’s second NCAA Division II championship with a dramatic 5-4 victory against No. 2 Armstrong Atlantic on Saturday, concluding the season with a 29-0 record. It is the Buccaneers’ first NCAA title since 2010. The team is the school’s first to go unbeaten in a season.|
|40||The No. 29 Pittsburgh baseball team set a school record with its 40th victory of the season as the Panthers downed Villanova 10-2 on Sunday to complete a sweep of the Wildcats. The Big East-leading Panthers have won seven consecutive games. Pitt head coach Joe Jordano also reached the 750-win milestone for his career with the victory.|
|170||LIU Post’s Jackie Sileo tied a career high with 12 points in the No. 1 Pioneers’ 15-9 victory against Stonehill in NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse first-round tournament action. The Pioneers improved to 18-0 and will meet Adelphi in the NCAA semifinals on May 18. Sileo now has 170 points on the season, just 10 shy of the NCAA season points record of 180 set by Claire Peterson of Adelphi in 2011. Only a junior, Sileo already owns the career points record.|
• LSU senior Damar Forbes won his first Southeastern Conference gold medal after recording a new NCAA-leading all conditions mark of 27-4 1/2 in the long jump at the league championships Saturday. Forbes had finished in second place in last year’s event, and also claimed silver medals in each of the past three SEC Indoor championships.
• The same four teams from last year have advanced to the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse semifinals as Trinity (Conn.), Cortland State, Middlebury and Salisbury all advanced in quarterfinal action Sunday. Trinity won its 28th consecutive contest with an 8-2 defeat of The College of New Jersey, and will face Cortland State in a rematch of last year’s NCAA semifinal, which the defending NCAA champion Bantams won 7-5. Meanwhile, Middlebury and Salisbury will face each other in a rematch of last year’s other semifinal, which Salisbury won. Cortland is the only one of the four programs to have not won an NCAA semifinal contest or a national championship.
• USC's Anni Espar netted the game-winning goal in the third sudden-death period of play as the Women of Troy nipped two-time defending NCAA champion Stanford in the final match of the National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championship on Sunday. USC won the game 10-9 after 45:47 of play -- the longest game in championship history -- to finish the season with a 27-1 record. USC and Stanford had played in the two previous NCAA championships matches, but the Cardinal won both contests. The title is USC’s first since 2004.
• Meeting for the second time in the span of a week, the No. 1 Mercyhurst men’s lacrosse team edged No. 9 Lake Erie College 10-9 in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals on Saturday. The undefeated Lakers trailed 9-7 in the fourth quarter, but rallied and won the contest in overtime thanks to Brady Heseltine’s third goal of the game. Mercyhurst will now play host to Limestone in NCAA semifinal action on May 18.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy