Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech rallies to win over Coastal Carolina in NCAA Atlanta Regional. Next up: Auburn

Kyle McCann and Tristin English have been propping up the heart of the Georgia Tech batting order all season. On Sunday afternoon, with their team facing an early elimination in their own ballpark, the duo of likely major-league draftees responded in the clutch when it mattered the most.

McCann spanked a bases-loaded triple off the right-field wall and English drove him in with a line drive double to right. That sparked a five-run rally in the seventh inning that sent the No. 3-ranked Yellow Jackets to a 10-8 win over Coastal Carolina in the elimination game of the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The victory put Georgia Tech (43-18) into a showdown against Auburn (35-25) on Sunday night. Georgia Tech must beat Auburn twice to advance to next week’s Super Regional.

“If you keep giving McCann and English and some of those guys chances to do damage, they’re going to figure out a way to do some damage,” Hall said. “Thankfully Kyle hit that ball of the wall in right and we scored three runs. The ball came off the wall hard, so it allowed us to score all three and he got to third.”

The Yellow Jackets were behind 7-2 after the third inning and trailed 7-4 when they came to bat in the seventh. Georgia Tech loaded the bases and McCann greeted new Coastal reliever Jay Causey with his first triple of the season to tie the score. English gave Tech its first lead with a double and later scored on Colin Hall’s single.

“Obviously we got off to a rough start, not the start we wanted,” coach Danny Hall said. “But, as we’ve seen all year, we’re never really out of a game. We just kept battling, battling.”

Colin Hall added some insurance in the ninth when he hit a solo homer, his fourth, to dead center field, a shot that bounded off the top of the wall and off the batter’s eye. A video review confirmed the home run.

English finally made an out for the first time in the series, but he was 3-for-4 with a double, a sacrifice fly and was hit by a pitch. He is 10-for-11 for the series. Plus, the junior pitched three scoreless innings to close the game and earn his sixth save. He struck out two, including Parker Chavers for the final out.

“I can’t say enough about Tristin English,” Hall said. “You look at his numbers … He can’t play any better than he’s playing right now.”

Georgia Tech relief pitchers Luke Bartnicki (three innings, three runs, one earned) and Jonathan Hughes (2 2/3 innings, one run) settled the game after starter Keyton Gibson was roughed up for four runs in one-third of an inning.

The Georgia Tech offense continues to produce big numbers. The Yellow Jackets had 15 hits and scored double-digit runs for the 19th time. But they left the bases loaded without scoring in the fourth and fifth innings and were on the verge of doing it again with two outs in the sixth when Austin Wilhite singled home two runs.

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