THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s Connor Thomas went the distance to pick up the complete game win, the first of his career, as the Yellow Jackets defeated No. 6 Florida State 2-1 on Saturday evening at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Thomas (4-3) earned the complete game win by allowing just one run on six hits and one walk, while striking out nine over the nine-inning contest.
The sophomore lefty is the first Jacket starter to throw a complete game since current teammate Jake Lee went the distance in a 5-3 win at Duke last year on May 14, 2015. It is only the second complete game win for a Jacket pitcher since 2013 when Josh Heddinger threw a complete game shutout versus No. 2 Vanderbilt in the NCAA Nashville Regional on June 2, 2013.
Each of the last three complete games from the Jackets have been recorded by a sophomore.
Florida State’s Drew Parrish allowed just one run on eight hits and two walks, while striking out four batters over 6.0 innings, but left with the game tied at 1-1 in the no-decision.
Reliever Conor Grady (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season, giving up one run on one hit, three walks and one strikeout over the final 2.0 innings for the Seminoles.
A couple of other underclassmen in freshman Oscar Serratos , sophomore Austin Wilhite and freshman Michael Guldberg led the Jackets offensively, as Serratos (3-for-3, 2 2Bs, BB, RBI, run) had two doubles and an RBI, while Wilhite (2-for-4, run) and Guldberg (2-for-4) combined for four hits on the night.
Florida State had two triples on the night, one from Rhett Aplin (2-for-4, 3B, RBI) and another from Steven Wells (1-for-3, 3B), but only recorded six hits for the contest led by lead-off hitter Mike Salvatore’s (3-for-4, run) three-hit night.
The pitchers controlled the game from the start, as the two teams combined for just six hits over the first four innings of play with neither team putting together more than one hit per inning.
After Florida State left Wells on third following a two-out triple in the top of the fifth, the Jackets got a lead-off single from A. Wilhite followed by an RBI double to right center field by Serratos to put the home team in front 1-0 heading into the sixth inning.
The Seminoles quickly got the run back in the top half of the sixth on an Aplin RBI triple off the wall in center field to knot the game back up at 1-1 midway through the sixth.
The White and Gold stranded two runners in the bottom half of the sixth, before scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh on a Serratos double, a Nick Wilhite sacrifice bunt and a Bailey RBI fielder’s choice to retake the lead at 2-1.
That’s all the run support Thomas needed, as the lefty pitched around a single in the eighth, striking out two in the inning.
After striking out the first batter and then getting the second FSU hitter to fly out to center field, Thomas got a little help from the defense as the last out proved to be harder than it should have been.
FSU’s Drew Mendoza hit a hard ground ball back to Thomas on the mound. The ball hit off the pitcher’s glove and dribbled over towards the right side of the infield where Bailey came racing in, picked up the ball and threw off-balance to first base. The throw sailed wide of McCann at first and sailed into the fence in front of the Florida State dugout.
Seeing the throw go wild, Mendoza turned to run to second base and put the tying run in scoring position. However, Bart, who was backing up the play behind first base, picked up the loose ball and threw out a sliding Mendoza at second base for the final out of the game.
The Tech defense turned two double plays and had a diving catch in left field by Guldberg early in the contest.
Tech (18-13, 7-7 ACC), which snapped a six-game losing streak to the Noles, and Florida State (24-8, 8-6 ACC) will play the rubber game tomorrow at 1 p.m.
— GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GTBaseball) April 7, 2018