Dusty Isaacs came into his ACC Tournament start tied with two teammates for the most home runs allowed on the Georgia Tech pithing staff. Unfortunately for the underdog Yellow Jackets against No. 3 seed Virginia on Thursday, Isaacs took the lead all by himself.
The right-hander allowed five earned runs -- three coming on solo home runs -- as Virginia bounced back from a blowout loss on the opening day of the tournament and defeated seventh-seeded Tech 8-2 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Both teams have 1-1 records with one game left in pool play. Tech (34-24) will play sixth-seeded Virginia Tech today at 3 p.m., while Virginia (46-10) battles second-seeded Florida State Saturday at 11 a.m.
It was just a 4-2 deficit in the sixth before Isaacs gave up his third home run of the day -- a long blast to left-center field by Brandon Downes to lead off the inning. Isaacs' last pitch was hit for a single by Derek Fisher and right-hander Joe Wiseman struggled, allowing two more hits and two more runs as first-team all-conference member Mike Papi chased the sidearmer with an RBI double that made it 7-2.
Virginia starter Scott Silverstein was the beneficiary of the run support. The redshirt-senior left-hander had never pitched more than seven innings in any career starts, yet the 12 base runners he allowed turned into just two earned runs in 8 innings. He also got three double plays to squash potential Tech rallies.
"Certainly a memorable outing for (Silverstein), his last ACC Tournament ... really did a nice job," said Virginia coach Brian O'Connor, the league's coach of the year. "He was very, very efficient today, he certainly rose up for his team, that's what this thing is about."
"(Silverstein) pitched great against us in Atlanta (April 13) and after the first inning today really settled in and pitched well," Tech coach Danny Hall said.
Tech took the first lead of the game in that opening inning. Kyle Wren led off with a stand-up triple, then scored on Brandon Thomas' single.
Isaacs struck out four of the first seven batters he faced, but ran into trouble in the third and fourth. Nate Irving started the third with a double, and after a sacrifice, Papi's ground ball was misplayed by shortstop Mott Hyde and Irving scored easily to tie the game.
After another double, ACC Freshman of the Year Joe McCarthy's sacrifice fly put the Cavaliers up 2-1.
Isaacs picked up the last of his six strikeouts -- which tied a career high -- for the first out of the fourth. But the right-hander gave up back-to-back solo shots to Nick Howard and Kenny Towns to give the Cavaliers a 4-1 cushion.
"We've been hitting the ball so well over the last few weeks, it's been pretty incredible," O'Connor said. "I feel like we got back to that today, the entire lineup was very locked in. Seeing what we did today excites you about what you can do for the future. Hopefully that's something that can continue."
"(Isaacs) gave up some home runs, which there's no defense when you give home runs up," Hall said. "Three pitches that weren't anywhere near where they needed to be thrown."
Tech got its last run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Murray, which made it a 4-2 game. With a runner at third, Hyde flied out to the warning track to end the threat.