ATHENS - Jason Haniger and Charlie Blackmon each had three hits and two RBIs, leading Georgia Tech past Louisville 8-5 Friday at the NCAA Athens regional.
The Yellow Jackets (40-19) won on the same day the Atlanta medical examiner issued a report showing pitcher Michael Hutts died from an accidental heroin overdose last month. The team managed to put that grim news aside for a few hours and advanced to the winner's bracket for a game against surprising Lipscomb today.
The upstart Bisons knocked off host Georgia in the regional opener. The Bulldogs will face Louisville in an elimination game today.
The Big East champion Cardinals (41-20) came into the NCAAs on quite a roll, having won 25 of 31 games. But their season is one loss from being done despite Justin McClanahan's two homers.
Georgia Tech manufactured a run in the first. Blackmon led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third and came home on Luke Murton's sacrifice fly.
Blackmon was in the middle of things again in the second as the Yellow Jackets pushed across another run after two outs. Haniger and Patrick Long hit back-to-back singles, and Chris House walked to load the bases. Blackmon singled sharply to right, driving in a run, but Stewart James easily threw out Long at the plate to end the inning.
Lipscomb's power display
stuns host Georgia 10-7
ATHENS - Ryan Wilkins hit one of three homers to help NCAA tournament newcomer Lipscomb stun host Georgia 10-7 in the Athens regional Friday.
The Bisons, who finished third in the Atlantic Sun but got in by winning their conference tournament in a 15-inning title game, showed they belonged by beating up on the champions of the powerful Southeastern Conference.
Wilkins hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run fifth inning that broke the game open for Lipscomb (33-28). Caleb Joseph and Blake Bratcher also went deep for the Bisons.
Georgia (35-22-1) lost for the fifth time in six games and now faces an elimination game against Louisville.
The Bulldogs tried to rally in the eighth. They closed to 9-7 on star Gordon Beckham's run-scoring single and had the potential tying runs on base, but side-arming reliever Kyle Tognazzini ended the threat by getting cleanup hitter Rich Poythress on an inning-ending double play.
The Bisons added a run in the top of the ninth, and Tognazzini set the Bulldogs down 1-2-3 in the ninth for his fourth save. A small contingent of Lipscomb fans cheered wildly after the final out, while stunned Georgia fans filed quietly out of Foley Field.
Joseph homered off Stephen Dodson (5-4) in the first, but Georgia appeared to seize control with four runs in the bottom half - all of them unearned.
Bratcher's two-run homer in the third tied the game at 4, and Lipscomb poured it on in the fifth. Bratcher got it going with an RBI single, Justin Sanders, a former Rockdale County High School player, drove home another run with a groundout and Wilkins finished off Dodson with his two-run shot over the left-field wall.