Riccardo Ingram hit a home run in the 14th inning to give Georgia Tech a 9-8 victory over Navy in the opening game of the NCAA baseball Atlantic regional today.
The homer, Ingram's 10th this season, came off Steve Wieman (6-1). Ingram had driven in three runs with a triple in the first inning.
It was not a fitting end for Navy, which will play Alabama Saturday in the second round of the six-team, double-elimination regional.
After all, Navy had used all four of its starting pitchers, fallen behind by 7-0 in the first inning and tied for the second time, 8-8, in the bottom of the 10th. Navy had even gotten by for two-thirds of an inning with Tony Faust, who had pitched one-third of an inning all season.
Because of Georgia Tech's fifth pitcher, Keith Fleming, the Midshipmen had nothing to show for all this. He worked the last 6 1/3 innings, striking out 10 and allowing one earned run.
"We're disappointed because I felt we had a number of opportunities prior to the last inning to win the ball game," said Navy Coach Joe Duff.
Poor base running hurt the Midshipmen in the fifth inning. Trailing, 7-5, they loaded the bases, but Georgia Tech's catcher, Jeff Mons, picked Mark Bayly off first base.
Navy, the Eastern Intercollegiate League champion, is 30-9. Georgia Tech, the ACC champion, is 43-21. Georgia Tech next will play Western Carolina, which lost to Miami tonight, 10-8.
"Coming into a game, you don't know how good they are really," Jim Morris said about the Midshipmen. "The main thing is that they were very scrappy. I've got respect for them now."
"When we first got down here, there were a lot of comments that Navy wasn't good enough to play with teams in this regional," Navy second baseman Mike Leeney said. "By the way we came back today I think we showed we can play. We should have won."
Georgia Tech went ahead, 8-7, in the 10th on an unearned run. Mons singled with two outs off Dave Landwehr, moved up on a passed ball and scored on Ty Griffin's line single. Griffin stole second and Landwehr walked K.G. White before Duff called for Faust, a plebe who had given up four hits, walked two and had an ERA of 81.00 in his fractional inning.
The Midshipmen retied the game when Mike Schultz was hit by a pitch and came around on Marius Jones' single and Leeney's fly.
Georgia Tech had taken a 7-0 first-inning lead. Griffin and Ingram had triples, Navy starter Drew Tanner walked two, but the big hit was White's two run homer off Tammer.