by Knox Bardeenknoxbardeen@csssports.comATLANTA On the strength of a dominating mound performance from Jed Bradley and a 5-run second inning, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets beat the Southern Miss Golden Eagles Saturday, 6-2, at Russ Chandler Stadium, eliminating Southern Miss from the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
Freshman Daniel Palka led off the second with a solo home run to right field and started a stretch of four consecutive hits before Zane Evans recorded the first Tech out with a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third.
Right fielder Brandon Thomas capped the inning off with a 3-run blast to left field to push the score to 5-0.
It started with Zane getting a bunt down before I came up to hit," said the sophomore Thomas. "It was nice to get those runners in scoring position. I was just looking for a pitch I could drive to get those two runs on the board and luckily it carried over the fence for the third.
With a secure 5-run lead, Bradley went to work holding Southern Miss off the scoreboard. The junior pitched 7 23 innings and allowed eight hits and just two runs. Pitching deep into the game was just as important as keeping Southern Miss from a late rally, said Tech head coach Danny Hall.
He threw a lot of strikes," Hall said of Bradley. "I thought he had a really good fastball, threw a bunch of sliders for strikes.
It was very critical because we saved our bullpen, we did use Clay Dalton there at the end. For Jed to go 7.2 and just have to use one guy, that gives us a great chance to have some arms to go at it tomorrow and hopefully the next day.
With the win, Georgia Tech advances to play Austin Peay Sunday in another elimination game against the team that beat the Jackets Friday and sent them into the losers bracket.
If the Yellow Jackets can beat the Governors Sunday at 3 p.m. on CSS it will set up a 7 p.m. game against Mississippi State, the No. 3 seed who is undefeated in the Atlanta Regional thus far.
To win the Atlanta Regional and move on into the Super Regional, Georgia Tech is going to have to win twice on Sunday and again Monday. Playing three games in a 28-hour period after already competing on consecutive days is tough on a pitching staff. But Hall already has a plan in place for Sunday.
"I know Buck Farmer is going to pitch one of the games, I assume hell pitch the 3 oclock game," said Hall. "I have utmost confidence in Buck. I still feel like we have a lot of pitching left, but you still have to go one game at a time. It doesnt matter who youre playing you just have to try and win that, survive, and move on to the next one."