Feb. 20, 2004
ATLANTA, GA. - On Friday, Feb. 20th at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, the Villanova baseball team led early against No. 5 Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run seventh inning en route to a 5-1 victory. The loss was the first of the season for the Wildcats (3-1), who got an outstanding pitching performance from junior right-handed starter Nick Allen. Tech stayed perfect on the season at 4-0 with Friday's win.
Leftfielder Brian Newbold gave Villanova the game's first lead, 1-0, lining a two-out RBI double to center field to score third baseman Angelo Petracca in the top of the first inning. Petracca reached base earlier in the inning, getting hit by a Micah Owings' pitch with one out.
Allen cruised through the first four innings, taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, the Yellow Jackets got their first hit as centerfielder Brandon Boggs singled up the middle. Georgia Tech had runners at first and second with two outs, but Allen got designated hitter Whit Robbins to ground to first base to end the threat helping the `Cats maintain their 1-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, second baseman Eric Patterson led off with a double to left-center field to start a Yellow Jacket rally. After advancing to third on a groundout, Patterson came around to score on a single up the middle by leftfielder Steven Blackwood to tie the contest at 1-1. Allen was able to get out of the jam without any further damage, getting catcher Mike Nickeas to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Junior right-hander Mike Grodecki came on in relief of Allen to begin the bottom of the seventh. With two on and one out, Grodecki got third baseman Wes Hodges to fly to center for the second out of the inning. After a walk to Owings to load the bases, Wildcat lefty Mike Ciccotelli came on to pitch to Patterson. On a 3-2 count after several close pitches, Patterson hit a bases clearing double off the left-field wall to give Tech a 4-1 lead. The Yellow Jackets added one more in the inning on an RBI single by shortstop Tyler Greene, giving Georgia Tech a 5-1 advantage after seven full.
Looking to rally in the top of the eighth inning, Villanova put two of its first three runners on base against Yellow Jacket reliever Jared Hyatt. Centerfielder Kris Molloy walked to start the inning and went to third two batters later on a single by rightfielder Alan Day. With runners at first and third with one out, freshman right-hander John Goodman came on in relief of Hyatt and struck out Newbold and Brian Trotta to end the inning.
Freshman right-hander Mike Loree entered the game in the bottom of the eighth for his first career appearance, and pitched one scoreless inning of relief for the `Cats.
Goodman finished off the victory for the Georgia Tech, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to seal the 5-1 victory for the Yellow Jackets.
Allen pitched six innings of one-run ball on Friday, striking out two and walking one. Grodecki (0-1) took the loss for the Wildcats, allowing three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Owings earned the victory on the mound for Tech to improve to 2-0. He allowed one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out five. Goodman picked up the save for the Yellow Jackets - his first of the season.
At the plate for Villanova, Day went two-for-four to lead the `Cats, while Newbold went one-for-three with a double and an RBI. For Georgia Tech, Patterson went two-for-three with two doubles and three RBI.
The Wildcats and Yellow Jackets will continue their series on Saturday, Feb. 21st, playing a single game matinee at 1:00 p.m.