Austin Peay snubs Georgia Tech 2-1
Hankins hits go-ahead home run in the seventh
ATLANTA -- Jack Snodgrass pitched so well the last two weeks that Austin Peay coach Gary McClure decided to start him in the first game of the Atlanta Regional.
“We came in here expecting to win,” Snodgrass said. “We knew the competition is probably the best we’ve played all year, but I don’t think any of us are surprised with the outcome tonight.”
Snodgrass threw seven strong innings, Jordan Hankins hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh and Austin Peay stunned Georgia Tech 2-1 in the Atlanta Regional on Friday night.
Zach Toney recorded the last four outs, three on strikeouts, to earn his second save for the Governors (34-22).
Austin Peay took a 2-1 lead on Hankins’ fourth homer, a solo shot, and Snodgrass (4-6) pitched out of a jam in the bottom half of the seventh when Jake Davies grounded into his second double play.
Georgia Tech (40-20) left 10 runners on base. The host Yellow Jackets will try to avoid an Atlanta Regional collapse for the third consecutive year at Russ Chandler Stadium.
They will face Southern Miss in a 3 p.m. elimination game Saturday.
“That’s pretty deflating when you get those opportunities and you don’t do it,” Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. “They turned a couple of double plays, and when you’re trying to score runs, that hurts. We’ve got to bounce back tomorrow with [starting pitcher] Jed Bradley, see if we can win and keep trying to survive.”
Snodgrass, a red-shirt senior who missed last year recovering from shoulder surgery, allowed seven hits, one run, three walks and struck out three. The right-hander earned the start after striking out 11 and beating Jacksonville State in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament last week.
He won at Tennessee-Martin on May 20.
“It’s been wonderful the last two to three weeks,” Snodgrass said. “To win the [OVC] tournament and to come here and pitch well means a lot to me and our team. Now we’re in a position to make a run at this thing.”
Jeremy Dobbs, the 2011 OVC pitcher of the year, will start for Austin Peay in the winners’ bracket game against Mississippi State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Matthew Grimes (7-4) replaced Georgia Tech starter Mark Pope, who left with a back injury in the second inning. Hall said Pope, who was initially injured in a bullpen session Thursday, is not expected to pitch again this weekend.
Grimes gave up three hits, two runs, one walk and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
Mike Hebert, Austin Peay’s first reliever, recorded the first two outs of the eighth before hitting Sam Dove with a pitch. Toney ended the threat when pinch-hitter Daniel Palka took a called third strike on the outside corner.
Yellow Jacket fans were furious.
“The only thing I will say is that our fans are very fair and they’re very quiet most of the time,” Hall said, “so to hear them react the way they did, that’s probably all I’ve got to say.”
Austin Peay led 1-0 in fourth when John Hogan doubled to right, advanced to third on Reed Harper’s single and scored on Matt Wollenzin’s RBI sacrifice fly.
Georgia Tech tied it 1-1 in its half of the fourth. Zane Evans singled, moved to second on Sam Dove’s single, advanced to third on Evan Martin’s sacrifice fly and scored on Brandon Thomas’ RBI single.