Johnson Blasts Three Home Runs in 10-3 Road Win
No. 17 Georgia Tech baseball returns home to host YSU this weekend
THE FLATS -- Junior and preseason all-American Kel Johnson belted three home runs as the No. 17 Yellow Jackets led from start to finish in the 10-3 road win over the Georgia Southern Eagles on Tuesday night at J.I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro, Ga.
Johnson led the offensive charge going 3-for-5 with three home runs and four RBIs, while fellow junior Wade Bailey also went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Outfielder Ryan Peurifoy was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and catcher Joey Bart was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Making his first start of the season, Ben Parr went 4.2 innings, allowing just one earned run on eight hits, three walks and one strikeout.
Junior reliever Jared Datoc (1-0) earned his first career win. The righty came in to the game in the fifth and went 1.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits and one walk while striking out one Eagle hitter.
The Eagles recorded 14 hits, yet were only able to push across three runs because they stranded 17 runners on base in the nine-inning contest.
Tech jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first as Bailey sent the first pitch of the game to right field for a single. Following a base-on-balls to Trevor Craport, Bart dropped a single in front of the diving outfielder in left center field to plate Bailey and put the visitors in front 1-0.
After a strikeout and a double steal by both Craport and Bart put runners on second and third with one out, freshman designated hitter Kyle McCann singled to center to score Craport from third and add to the Jackets lead at 2-0. Right fielder Brandt Stallings then drew a walk to load the bases, before a wild pitch allowed all the Jackets to move up 90 feet and Bart to score from third to give Tech a 3-0 lead.
Two batters later, Peurifoy hit a sharp single through the left side to score McCann from third. On the base hit, the Eagles' left fielder misplayed the ground ball which allowed Stallings to motor around third and head home to put the Jackets in front at 5-0 after just a half an inning of play.
Johnson added another run for the Jackets with one swing of the bat in the top of the third, as he blasted a shot over the left field wall to give Tech a demanding 6-0 lead. The solo home run was his third of the season.
The Yellow Jackets plated yet another insurance run in the fourth, as Bailey scored on a Georgia Southern error to push the lead out to 7-0.
The Jackets' Parr pitched around a leadoff single in the first, a leadoff double and a two-out walk in the second and back-to-back two-out singles in the third, before the Eagles were able to get an RBI single by C.J. Ballard in the fourth to put the home team on the scoreboard.
The Eagles added a second run in the bottom half of the sixth on an RBI single to left from Jordan Wren and threatened to score more before Datoc struck out C.J. Brazil with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The next half inning Johnson blasted his second home run of the game and fourth of the season to give the Jackets an 8-2 lead midway through the seventh.
Johnson hit his third home run of the game in the top of the ninth to increase the Tech lead to eight at 10-2.
Georgia Southern scored one more run in the ninth to put the final score at 10-3.
The Tech bullpen was able to pitch its way out of trouble all night long, as the quadrant of Datoc, Micah Carpenter (1.0, 1 hit, 0 runs), Robert Winborne (1.0, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 K) and Ben Schniederjans (1.0, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 K) pitched the final 4.1 innings of the game.
Georgia Tech (4-0) will open up an eight-game home stand with a three-game non-conference series this weekend, Feb. 24-26, with Youngstown State. First pitch for Friday is set for 4 p.m. ET at Russ Chandler Stadium.
* With the win, the Yellow Jackets have now won six straight over the Eagles.
* Tech moves to 1-0 in road contests on the season with the victory.
* By scoring first in the top of the first, the Yellow Jackets have still not trailed a single inning this season.
* The Yellow Jackets have only allowed three runs in each of its four games this season.
* Junior hurler Jared Datoc earned his first career win.
* Freshman Kyle McCann recorded his first RBI as a Jacket in the first inning.
* Junior Kel Johnson's three home runs in the game makes it the 11th time in program history that a players has hit three home runs in the same game.
* The last Tech player to hit three home runs in the same game was Chase Burnette versus Presbyterian in 2009.
-- GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GTBaseball) February 22, 2017