THE FLATS - The Yellow Jackets used four home runs, including a grand slam off the bat of redshirt sophomore Tristin English, to power past the Virginia Tech Hokies for a 16-9 ACC win on Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The win snaps Georgia Tech's losing streak at four games and pushes Tech to 10-7 overall on the season, 1-3 in the ACC and 8-3 when playing at Russ Chandler Stadium. The loss drops Virginia Tech to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in ACC action.
The home win also pushes head coach Danny Hall one step closer to 1,000 career wins at Georgia Tech, as he now is just two victories away with 998 W's as the coach for the White and Gold.
In the win, the Jackets scored a season-high 16 runs on 16 hits, which included a season-high five extra-base hits and the first grand slam of the year.
Tech's offense was powered by English (4-for-5, grand slam, 2B, 6 RBIs, run) as he drove in a season-high six RBIs. Sophomore Chase Murray (2-for-3, SF, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) drove in three RBIs, while junior Joey Bart (2-for-2, HR, 3 BBs, 2 RBIs, 4 runs) drove in two RBIs on a two-run home run and was walked intentionally twice.
Infielders Wade Bailey (3-for-4, BB, RBI, 3 runs), Austin Wilhite (2-for-5, run) and Luke Waddell (2-for-4, HR, 2 runs) all had multiple hits on the night with Waddell recording his first career home run as a Jacket.
VT's offense recorded 13 hits on the night highlighted by five different Hokies posting two hits apiece in the loss. Jack Owens (1-for-3, HR, 3 runs) and Tom Stoffel (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) each had a home run for the game, while Luke Horanski (2-for-4, SF, 2B, BB, 3 RBIs, run) drove in a team-high three RBIs.
GT's Xzavion Curry (4-0) picked up the win, as he gave up seven runs on eight hits, one walk and five strikeouts over 5.0 innings of work. He remained perfect on the season with help from the offense and from fellow sophomore Andy Archer who threw 3.0-scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
The loss fell to Connor Coward (1-2), as the Hokies' starter was hit for 10 runs, six of which were earned, on 11 hits, two walks and four strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
Virginia Tech opened up the slugfest with a solo home run from Owens to start the game in the top of the first, only to see the home Tech punch back with a two-run shot off the bat of Bart that left in a hurry over the left field wall to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead after just one inning of play.
The White and Gold added two more runs in the bottom half of the second on a Bailey RBI single and a Murray fielder's choice to push its lead out to 4-1 through two innings.
After VT used a two-run home run by Stoffel to cut the Tech lead back to one at 4-3 midway through the third, the Jackets answered with a four-run fourth highlighted by Waddell's first career home run and back-to-back two-out RBI singles from English and Kyle McCann to take an 8-2 lead into the fifth.
However, the bout continued with the Hokies countering with a four-run inning of their own in the top of the fifth on an RBI single, a sacrifice fly and a two-run single to center field, trimming the Jackets' lead to one at 8-7 with four and half innings to play.
The Jackets scored the next eight runs, two in the sixth highlighted by an RBI double by English, five in the bottom of the seventh on a Murray RBI single and the English grand slam, and one in the eighth on a solo shot from Kel Johnson to put the game out of reach at 16-7 heading into the ninth.
The Hokies, with the help of two hit batters, plated two runs in their final at bat on a Horanski two-run double, but ran out of time as the Jackets secured the 16-9 ACC home win.
Tech's defense turned two double plays compared to the Hokies' one, while the Jackets stranded only five runners for the game, one less than Virginia Tech's six.
The two teams return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
-- GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GTBaseball) March 17, 2018