HUSKIES DUMP GEORGIA TECH, 8-4
By Mike Talbert
STARKVILLE - Washington came into the NCAA Mideast Regional tournament seeded No. 4, but with an 8-4 win over Georgia Tech Saturday, the Huskies completed a sweep of the three teams seeded ahead of them.
Washington, which has won 16 of its last 17 games, needs only one win in the championship round of the tournament to advance to the College World Series next week in Omaha.
Washington (46-18) set a school record for wins as it added Tech to wins over third seed Southwestern Louisiana and second seed Mississippi State by 5-4 scores.
Top-seeded Georgia Tech, which gave up only three hits in its first game, gave up as many hits in the first two-run inning Saturday at Polk-DeMent Stadium/Dudy Noble field.
The Huskies' lead-off hitter, Chris Macgruder, opened the game by drawing a walk. Macgruder (2-for-4) has now got on base in his leadoff at-bat 13 times in the last 16 games. He has scored all 13 times, including Saturday when he scored on a Ryan Soules single with two outs.
"Chris was the catalyst as always for our club," coach Ken Knutson said.
The Huskies took advantage of three errors and three stolen bases in the five-run third inning to go up 7-0 on the Yellow Jackets. Winning pitcher Matt Hampton (7-1) shut down the Jackets until the seventh inning, when Georgia Tech scored four runs with two outs.
The inning ended when Tech designated hitter Kris Wilson collided with Huskie shortstop Kevin Miller.
The game was not the only loss for Georgia Tech. Starting catcher Eric McQueen injured a shoulder in a second-inning collision at the plate with Washington center fielder Jamie Porter, who was called out for not sliding.
Later Tech shortstop Jay Hood reinjured a hamstring and barely stumbled into third safely during the four-run seventh. Both players are expected to be lost for the remainder of the regional.
Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said the loss of McQueen took a toll in the five-run third inning.
"It had a psychological effect. It was a case where we didn't make the plays," he said. "But Washington's got some good athletes and can hit the ball."
Georgia Tech No. 2 starter David Elder (9-4) suffered the loss a fact made more dramatic because of the back-to-back shutouts that Georgia Tech used to open the tournament.
"I take all the blame," Elder said. "When I settled down and started to pitch, it was too late."
Washington 8, Ga. Tech 4
Washington 204 001 000 8 11 1
Georgia Tech 000 000 400 4 12 5
WP - Matt Hampton (7-1). LP - David Elder (9-4). Multiple Hits - (W) Ryan Soules 3, Chris Magruder 2, Ryan Lentz 3, (G) Adam Leggett 3, Mark Fischer 2, J.J. Thomas 2, Kris Wilson 2, Todd Papeti 2. 2B - (W) Magrucer, Kevin Miller, Soules, Lentz, (G) Leggett.
Records: Washington (46-18), Georgia Tech (46-14).
Notes: Washington is undefeated in the regional and advances to the championship game. Georgia Tech falls into the loser's bracket.