Pitching & Defense Lead Jackets to 3-2 Win

March 3, 2018

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THE FLATS - Georgia Tech baseball used a three-run fourth inning and rode the pitching staff to a 3-2 win over the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames on Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The seventh-straight victory pushes the Jackets' record to 8-2 overall on the season, while the loss drops UIC to 6-4 on the year.

The win also pushes head coach Danny Hall's wins total at Georgia Tech to 996 wins.

The Yellow Jacket pitchers, with some help from the Tech defense, were in control from start to finish as the quartet of Brant Hurter (4.0 IP, ER, BB, 5 Ks), Keyton Gibson (2.0 IP, BB, K), Jared Datoc (2.0 IP, ER, 2 Ks) and Tristin English (1.0 IP, K) combined to strikeout nine UIC batters and walk only two in the one-run win.

Gibson (2-0) earned the win, as he held UIC to just one hit and no runs over the fifth and sixth innings, while English (1) recorded his first career save pitching around a hit in the ninth.

At the plate, six different Jackets had one hit on the day highlighted by Colin Hall's (1-for-3, 2 RBI) two-run single and Kel Johnson's (1-for-3, RBI, run) RBI single, both of which came in the bottom of the fourth inning.

UIC's Ryan Campbell (2-1) was handed the tough-luck loss, as the senior hurler gave up just three runs on six hits, no walks and one strikeout over 8.0-complete innings.

Offensively, Scott Ota (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs) drove in both of UIC's runs in the loss.

UIC scored in the top of the first to not only snap the Yellow Jackets' scoreless inning streak at 22-straight innings, but also take an early 1-0 lead on an Ota RBI ground out to the first baseman.

After stranding one runner in each of the first three innings, the Jackets broke through in the bottom of the fourth. English led off the frame with a ground-rule double down the right field line and then scored on an RBI single by Johnson to tie the game up at 1-1.

Following a Luke Waddell bunt single and a sacrifice bunt by Carter Hall to put runners on second and third with one out, Colin Hall hit a line drive to center field to score both Johnson and Waddell to put the White and Gold on top at 3-1 after four innings played.

The Jacket pitchers were superb all day long at getting out of trouble, as Tech pitched around a single and an error in the second, a walk and a base hit in the third and a lead-off walk in the fifth to strand five UIC runners and keep the score at 3-1 through five complete.

In the sixth, UIC led off the inning with a single, yet saw a 5-4-3 double play by the Jackets help squash the inning before a Gibson strikeout ended the frame to keep the home team on top at 3-1.

One inning later, the Flames threatened with a lead-off double to left center to start the seventh only to see catcher Joey Bart throw behind the runner at second base to start a 2-6-5 pick-off and not only spoil UIC's scoring chances but help send the game to the eighth with Tech still in front at 3-1.

Following a 1-2-3 inning by the Jackets in the bottom half of the seventh, its third-straight inning going down in order, the Flames cut the Georgia Tech lead to just one at 3-2 on a solo home run by Ota in the top of the eighth.

English pitched around a one-out single in the ninth to secure the one-run win for the Jackets.

UIC stranded six runners on base for the contest, while Tech left four runners on.

The Yellow Jackets (8-2) and Flames (6-4) will wrap up the three-game non-conference series tomorrow with first pitch set for 1 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.

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