Amid scattered showers and a weather delay of one hour, 48 minutes, Georgia Tech won 5-1 and eliminated ETSU from the NCAA baseball Nashville Regional on Saturday at Hawkins Field. They will face Illinois, a 10-4 loser to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Yellow Jackets pitcher Buck Farmer held ETSU scoreless through six innings, during which he allowed just two hits and threw 58 pitches. The senior right-hander was pulled after the delay. He struck out eight and moved to third on Georgia Tech’s all-time strikeout list with 385.
“It took lightning to take Farmer out of the game,” ETSU coach Tony Skole said. “He made it very difficult on us and we just couldn’t get any offense started.”
Farmer is the NCAA’s active leader in strikeouts and wins (33).
“I had most everything working for me [Saturday],” he said. “But give credit to ETSU, they were up there swing the bat and it just worked to my advantage.”
Georgia Tech got to ETSU ace Kerry Doane right out of the gates.
Sam Dove, a Brentwood native, singled in the top of the first and scored the game’s first run on a base hit by Brandon Thomas. The Yellow Jackets added single runs in the second and fifth innings and a pair in the seventh.
Doane (13-2), also taken out after the weather delay, threw 119 pitches in seven innings, gave up five runs on 10 hits and lost for the first time since March 16.
“A lot of the teams look at my stats and the way I pitch and see that I throw a lot of strikes so a lot of hitters try to come out on the first couple pitches and barrel up the ball,” Doane said. “I started to settle in and figure put what pitches worked, but the outcome is the outcome.”
ETSU, in a regional for the first time since 1981 and fourth time overall, was the first team eliminated. The Buccaneers got in when they won the Atlantic Sun conference championship. They finished with a 36-24 record.
“I thought our kids competed extremely hard and it was a great experience for them,” Skole said. “It is going to take some time for it to sink in, but they will look back at this year and realize how special it was for our program. It changed the face of our program forever.”
Georgia Tech (35-26) will face Illinois in another elimination game, 2 p.m. Sunday.
Mufreesboro native Jonathan King likely will get the start on the mound and — like Farmer — try to make sure the Yellow Jackets’ season won’t end.
“I thought it was a very good game by our team,” Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. “I thought it was very critical that we get runs early because we were expecting a tough pitcher on the other end, but Buck didn’t really give them anything.”