June 2, 2008
Montgomery tosses four-hit
shutout as Georgia tops Tech
By Phil Stanton
ATHENS, Ga. – Mo
It is short for momentum, which is not talked
about as much for baseball as in football or basketball, but was
definitely evident Sunday night.
It is also short for Montgomery, as in Georgia
senior right-hander Nick Montgomery, who pitched the best game
of his collegiate career as the top-seeded Bulldogs blanked No.
2 Georgia Tech 8-0 at Foley Field to force a winner-take-all
match-up on Monday at 7 p.m. for the Athens Regional title.
Montgomery (3-2) went the distance for the first
time as a Yellow Jacket, allowing four hits, all singles, with
one walk and a career-high nine strikeouts. He retired 17
consecutive batters from the third to the ninth innings,
sandwiched by singles off the bat of Charlie Blackmon.
"I felt comfortable," Montgomery said. "I was
able to control all my pitches. I could get my sink going and my
changeup, I could get ahead with my fastball, and my curveball I
could throw for a strike. They got me a few runs and kept
telling me they had my back over and over again. I knew that
they were there, so I kept attacking them and things worked
The Yellow Jackets had seen enough of Montgomery.
"There’s not much for me to say," said Tech head
coach Danny Hall. "I just hope Nick Montgomery can’t pitch
tomorrow. He’s pitched against us twice and we haven’t been able
to do anything with him. Give him a lot of credit, pitched nine
innings and threw a shutout in a big game. Give him all the
credit in the world.
Georgia Tech (41-20) missed a scoring opportunity
in the top of the third. Tommy Nichols led off with a single
and, with one away, was caught stealing as Gordon Beckham made
caught a bad throw from the catcher on the first-base side of
the bag and made a great tag for the out. Patrick Long drew a
two-out walk and moved to second on a base hit by Charlie
Blackmon. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, but Nick
Montgomery got a strikeout to end the threat.
The Bulldogs (38-22-1) carried that momentum into the
bottom of the frame. Ryan Peisel hit a one-out triple off the
wall just out of the reach of right-fielder Luke Murton. Matt
Olson followed with a home run to right center, his eighth, to
put Georgia on top 2-0.
“It was huge,” said Georgia head coach Dave Perno
of the momentum swing. “I thought that set the tempo, let him
relax, go out there and pitch with a lead. He really knows how
to defend the scoreboard. I thought that was huge, him pitching
out of that jam, I think we got (Jeff) Rowland out on a
strikeout, and us scoring. I thought that set the tempo right
After Bulldog singles by Bryce Massanari, Matt
Cerione and Lyle Allen loaded the bases in the fourth, Eddie
Burns walked David Thoms to force in a run and push Georgia’s
lead to 3-0.
The Bulldogs put together a two-out rally in the
fifth as Massanari singled to right and Cerione lined a homer
just over the wall in left for a 5-0 lead.
After a one-out single by Beckham in the seventh,
Rich Poythress hit his second two-run homer of the day and his
14th dinger of the season. With two outs, Cerione
singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Robbie O’Bryan
to make it an 8-0 contest.
"I thought we played great today, all day," Perno
said. "We played really close to our identity which we did all
year: great defense, great pitching, quality at-bats and got the
power going. That was what we needed to do."
Montgomery recorded the first complete game for
the Bulldogs this season. It was the second shutout for Georgia,
as it blanked South Carolina at home 1-0 on April 5 in the
opener of their SEC series.
Cerione went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBI.
Olson was 2 for 4 with a run and two RBI. For the Sunday
doubleheader, Olson was 7 for 10 with five runs and three RBI.
"One of the main things is I know this is my last
shot at playing college baseball, maybe baseball period," Olson
said. "I’ve been trying to do everything I can to help out. I
made a few adjustments this week. I got in the cage and worked
hard making adjustments and I think that’s helped out a lot."
Georgia is 14-0 in NCAA Tournament elimination
games at Foley Field.
The Yellow Jackets captured two of the three
regular-season meetings, winning 9-4 at Georgia Tech and 11-1 in
Athens before the Bulldogs took a 3-2 decision at Turner Field.