GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jake Davies brought Greensboro south.
Five days after completing his pummeling of Atlantic Coast Conference pitching in the conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., the Georgia Tech first baseman resumed his hot streak in the Yellow Jackets’ opening NCAA regional game. Davies crushed a three-run home run Friday, igniting the Jackets to an 8-4 win over College of Charleston at McKethan Stadium.
Georgia Tech (37-24) moves to a winner’s bracket game at 7 p.m. today against xxxxxxx UPDATE!. Davies said he’s not intimidated by Florida, which is the tournament’s overall top seed, reached the College World Series championship game last year and boasts a slew of likely selections in next week’s major league draft.
“You always want to play the best,” Davies said. “If you’re going to win a national championship, you’ve got to beat the best. Why not start in regionals?”
The win ensures that Georgia Tech’s stay at the four-team, double-elimination regional will last at least until Sunday. College of Charleston (37-21) plays at 1 p.m. today. That game’s loser is eliminated, and the winner plays at 1 p.m. Sunday against the loser of Saturday night’s game.
Davies made sure the Jackets’ stay in Gainesville began in proper form. After the Yellow Jackets fell behind 1-0 in the first half-inning, Davies launched a first-pitch fastball from Christian Powell deep over the right-field fence.
Georgia Tech’s scouting report indicated that Powell, ranked No. 195 among draft prospects by Baseball America magazine, favors his fastball. As Powell delivered, Davies lay in wait for a fastball on the inside half of the plate.
“He threw it right where I wanted it,” Davies said. “I just put the barrel on it.”
After the Cougars rallied in the top of the second to tie the score at 3-3, Georgia Tech came back with four more runs in the bottom of the inning as left fielder Brandon Thomas hit his own three-run home run, also on the first pitch.
The Jackets led 7-3 after two innings and never let the Cougars threaten after that, thanks to 5⅓ innings of scoreless relief from Dusty Isaacs.
It’s a good start for the Jackets. Since reaching the College World Series in 2006 and then missing the tournament in 2007, Georgia Tech’s season has ended at the regional level each of the past four seasons despite being at home and the top seed the past three years.
In five postseason games dating to Tech’s four-game run to the ACC title in Greensboro, Davies is 9 for 20 with five home runs and 15 RBI. Tech is hitting .329 with nine home runs over the same span.