Saturday, June 17, 2006 • Box score
The funny game of baseball left no one on the Georgia Tech side laughing following Sunday's heartbreaking ending to its trip to the College World Series.
A strike away from staying alive in their elimination game against Cal State Fullerton, the Yellow Jackets gave up the two decisive runs in a 7-5 loss on an infield single that took a right turn at the wrong time.
"I've never seen anything like that,'' Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said.
Neither had pitcher Matt Wieters, the victim of Fullerton's three-run ninth inning rally that turned on Cory Vanderhook's two-hop, infield single that turned a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead for the Titans.
"Baseball is a funny game, and there's 27 outs that you have to play,'' said Wieters, whose seventh-inning homer had given his team the one-run lead he tried to protect from the mound in the ninth. "We dominated for 26 outs again today, but you have to give credit to Cal State Fullerton. They battled with two outs all day long.''
Wieters switched from catcher to pitcher with two outs in the eighth and got Evan McArthur to hit into a forceout to strand a pair of runners. Wieters got two quick outs in the ninth before the Titans rallied. Blake Davis lashed a first-pitch single to left field, and Brett Pill, on a 1-2 pitch, drilled a double to right-center field that moved Davis to third.
"It was a slider down and away,'' Wieters said. "It was a good pitch, but I'll have to try to snap it a little harder the next time. He did a good job hitting it where he was supposed to.''
Danny Dorn drew an intentional walk to load the bases, and pinch-hitter Vanderhook followed with one of the biggest little hits in Fullerton history. He chopped Wieters' first pitch over the mound. When the ball hit, it took a bounce away from diving Georgia Tech shortstop Michael Fisher. The ball also eluded second baseman Mike Trapani, allowing Davis and Pill to score.
"When he hit it, it looked like a routine play,'' Trapani said. "That was the worst hop I've ever seen. It's tough to swallow right now, and we just weren't meant to win that game.''
When Vanderhook made contact, Wieters, too, was thinking that the play had the makings of the third out.
"We had talked about it, and we knew had time because the guy was a catcher,'' Wieters said. "It was hit high, but I figured that Fish was going to make the play. Then it took that hop. That ball doesn't get to second base, and they scored two runs on it.''
The Titans added a final run on Brandon Tripp's bloop single to left field. Georgia Tech got a runner on in its half of the ninth but couldn't advance him past first to bring an end to a 50-18 season. The Yellow Jackets twice blew 4-0 leads in Omaha and left town without a win in spite of having led 14 of the 18 innings they played here.
"Our guys are special, and not to have success here is hard to take,'' Hall said. "The ball just didn't quite bounce the Yellow Jackets' way.''