No. 21 Georgia Tech Completes Series Sweep in Atlanta Challenge
Georgia Tech baseball is off to a 3-0 start to begin the 2017 season
THE FLATS -- No. 21 Georgia Tech scored four runs in both the bottom of the third and the eighth innings to defeat the Western Michigan Broncos 8-3 in the final game of the Atlanta Challenge on Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
"Keyton Gibson, I thought was outstanding -- five innings and one run and then we kind of made it interesting late. Errors certainly gave them a couple of runs, but I felt like our relief pitchers did what they needed to do to get out of some trouble," head coach Danny Hall said. "It was nice to get those runs late. I felt like it was a big at bat by Austin Wilhite and Kel Johnson with the two-out hit and it was nice to get that little bit of cushion going into the ninth inning."
For the second consecutive game Tech pounded out double digit hits, as the home team scored eight runs on 12 hits in the win.
Both Trevor Craport and Austin Wilhite registered their second straight multi-hit games, as Craport was 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, a base on balls, two RBIs and a run scored while Wilhite was 3-for-4 with three singles, an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Kel Johnson was 2-for-4 with an intentional walk and two RBIs, whileChase Murray was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Wade Bailey was 1-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored from the leadoff spot.
Offensively for WMU, Tanner Allison was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI and two runs scored, while Grant Miller was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Sophomore hurler Keyton Gibson (1-0) picked up the win, as the righty allowed just one earned run on two hits while striking out three over 5.0 innings of work.
For the third straight game the Jackets got in the runs column first, as the home team pushed across four runs in the bottom of the third to take an early lead.
Senior Ryan Peurifoy led off the inning with a single to right center field. After a fly out to left, Wilhite hit a sharp single through the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second with one out and the top of the order due up.
The top of the order came through, as Bailey doubled down the left field line to clear the bases and plate both Peurifoy and Wilhite to give the Jackets an early 2-0 lead. Craport followed with a shot off the left center field wall for a stand up RBI triple to push the Jackets' lead to 3-0.
Two batters later Johnson singled to left center to score Craport from third to give the home team a 4-0 lead through the first three innings.
After stranding a runner in both the first and the fourth innings, the Broncos got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth on a solo shot to center field off the bat of Allison to trim the Tech lead to three at 4-1.
The Jackets threatened to score again in both the fifth and the sixth, yet stranded two in each inning to keep the score at 4-1 through six innings of play.
WMU, with a little help from Tech, pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh by way of a hit batsman, a double, a Yellow Jacket throwing error and an RBI single to get to within one of the Jackets at 4-3.
In the same inning, the Broncos looked to tie the game up with two outs when Miller hit a groundball single up the middle. However, Wilhite had other plans as he knocked down the ball to keep it from rolling into center field and then came up throwing to Joey Bart at the plate to nail Nick Vogelmeier out at home for the third out of the inning.
The Broncos looked to tie the game in the top half of the eighth, as WMU picked up a lead-off walk and then immediately advanced him to second on a sacrifice bunt. A fly out to center and then a single deep in the hole to short put runners on first and third with two outs.
Reliever Micah Carpenter got out of the inning himself by striking out Allison to end the inning and keep the Broncos from scoring the tying run.
The strikeout proved to be vital, as Tech then got hot in the bottom half of the inning by scoring four more runs to push the lead out to five at 8-3.
Murray led off the inning with a single and then was moved up to second on sacrifice bunt from Peurifoy. After Murray advanced to third on a passed ball and pitch hitter Kyle McCann was intentionally walked, Wilhite singled through the right side to score Murray from third. The ball was misplayed by the Broncos' right fielder which allowed pitch runner Carter Hall to score all the way from first on the play to give the Jackets a 6-3 lead.
Tech was not done there, as Craport and Johnson each picked up RBI singles later in the frame to give the Jackets' an 8-3 lead and all but seal the win for the home team.
Senior pitcher Zac Ryan pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to seal the 8-3 win.
The bullpen in Jonathan King (0.2, 1 hit, 1 BB),Jared Datoc (0.2, 0 hits, 1 run, 1 K), Jay Shadday (0.0, 1 hit, 1 run), Carpenter (1.2, 3 hits, 1 BB, 1 K) and Ryan (1.0, 1 hit, 1 K) finished the game out for the Jackets in the Sunday afternoon victory.
Both teams left nine on base in the afternoon contest, while each team also committed one error in the game.
The Jackets (3-0) hit the road for the first time in 2017 for an inner-state showdown with Georgia Southern on Tuesday night, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. ET in Statesboro, Ga.
* With the three wins this weekend, Tech has now won 22 straight non-conference weekend games dating back to Feb. 21, 2015.
* Tech improved to 6-0 in the Atlanta Challenge over the last two seasons.
* The Yellow Jackets are 7-2 overall in season opening tournaments at Russ Chandler Stadium since 2014.
* The win moves Tech to 4-0 all-time versus Western Michigan.
* Redshirt-senior Jonathan King return to the mound for the first time in nearly a year, as he last pitched in a winning effort versus Western Michigan on Feb. 20, 2016.
* On the weekend series, the Jackets outscored their opponents 24 to 9 as all three foes scored three runs in their contest at Russ Chandler Stadium.
-- GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GTBaseball) February 19, 2017