ATLANTA, Ga. - Jeff Rowland and Derek Dietrich combined for nine RBI and three of third-ranked Georgia Tech's five home runs as the Yellow Jackets slugged their way to a 21-5 win over Duke on Saturday evening at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Rowland went 3-for-5 with five RBI while Dietrich finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and his eighth and ninth home runs of the season. Both players drove in all nine of their RBI in the first three innings as Georgia Tech (24-3, 10-1 ACC) pounded 24 hits in the game-two win.
The Yellow Jackets gave starter Brandon Cumpton (5-0) plenty of early run support, scoring at least once in each of the first seven innings. Cumpton held Duke scoreless for the first five innings and scattered three runs over his seven frames to stay undefeated on the season.
Georgia Tech totaled 10 extra-base hits and saw eight different batters tag an extra-base knock. Georgia Tech's 1-2-3 lineup combination of Rowland, Dietrich and Tony Plagman combined to go 10-for-14 with 10 RBI. Along with Rowland and Dietrich, Matt Skole and Matt Simonds also homered.
The Blue Devils (16-11, 3-8 ACC) used home runs from junior Jake Lemmerman and senior Will Currier to score three of their five runs. Currier mashed a two-run shot in the top of the sixth inning before Lemmerman followed with a solo shot in the seventh that extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Leadoff hitter Ryan McCurdy and three-hitter Will Piwnica-Worms each went 3-for-4, but only combined for one run as the Yellow Jacket pitching staff stranded 11 Duke base runners.
Duke used six pitchers in the loss. Starter Eric Pfisterer (2-3) lasted two innings and surrendered six runs before the Blue Devils ran five relievers to the mound for at least one inning apiece. Senior Jeremy Gould, who also went 2-for-5 at the plate, was the only pitcher to leave the game without allowing a run as he tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
Duke strung together three hits in the first inning, but came away empty-handed in the opening frame. The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, needed just two hits in their first turn to take a 2-0 lead. One of those knocks was a two-run homer from Dietrich - his eighth of the season - that came on the fourth pitch of the game.
Dietrich came through with another home run in the bottom of the second as part of a four-run inning that put the Yellow Jackets on top 6-0. All four runs came across with two outs after Rowland and Dietrich knocked consecutive extra-base hits. Rowland started the scoring with a two-run double just before Dietrich ripped his second home run of the game over the right field wall.
Georgia Tech knocked five more hits in the bottom of the third, including a three-run homer from Rowland that ran the lead to 10-0. Rowland's homer was his eighth of the season and cleared the right-center field wall. All five hits came off of Duke senior Michael Ness, who relieved Pfisterer at the start of the inning.
Cumpton, meanwhile, settled down after the first inning and retired the side in order in the second and third. Piwnica-Worms tagged a single for Duke in the top of the fourth, but was left stranded at second after Cumpton recorded his fifth strikeout of the game for the third out. Duke had a chance to break up the four-inning scoreless streak, but hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth.
While Cumpton held Duke scoreless for the first five innings, Georgia Tech scored for the fifth straight frame on a three-run homer from Skole. Skole sent his shot over the right-center field wall on a 1-1 count off of redshirt-junior Michael Seander, who entered the game in the fourth inning.
The Blue Devils finally got to Cumpton in the sixth inning and scored their first two runs on the two-run homer by Currier. Following a leadoff single from Piwnica-Worms - his third hit of the game - Currier mashed an 0-1 breaking ball well over the left field wall for his third long ball of the season. Georgia Tech quickly took back both of those runs and scored for the sixth straight inning, however, when Plagman and Cole Leonida combined for consecutive two-out RBI singles.
Lemmerman got in on the home run derby with a solo shot in the top of the seventh inning that trimmed the deficit to 16-3. Lemmerman hit the long ball - his team-leading seventh of the season - well over the center field wall for his third homer in the last four games.
Georgia Tech cleared the bench in the bottom of the seventh and used seven pinch hitters, but kept up the torrid offensive pace with five more runs. The Yellow Jackets tagged five hits off of Duke freshman Devin Burke, including a three-run double by Connor Winn and a two-run homer by Matt Simonds.
Duke scratched across its final two runs in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to 21-5, but was shut down in the ninth by reliever Tyler Wood.
Down two games to one, Duke will have another chance to come away from the weekend with a win in game three on Sunday, April 4, at 1 p.m. Duke will use right-hander Dennis O'Grady (0-1, 2.60 ERA) against Georgia Tech southpaw Jed Bradley (3-1, 3.82 ERA).