Jackets Fall in First-Ever Game at SunTrust Park
Georgia Tech baseball had its three-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night
ATLANTA, Ga. – Playing its fourth game in four nights, Georgia Tech overcame two three-run deficits, yet saw the Georgia Bulldogs take an 8-7 lead in a whacky ninth inning to escape with a one-run win in the non-conference match up at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Ga.
The in-state rivals met for the annual Spring Baseball Classic for Kids to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on Tuesday night in front of a series record crowd of 23,737 fans at SunTrust Park.
The Jackets erased the first of two three-run deficit’s with a four-run fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead into the sixth.
After UGA retook the lead at 7-4, the men in gold battled back to erase another three-run deficit with two runs in the seventh and a run in the eighth to tie the game up at 7-7 with one inning left to play.
In the top of the ninth, Tech reliever Micah Carpenter (0-2) cruised through the first two batters with a strikeout and a ground out for the first two outs in the frame. Carpenter appeared to get the third out via a foul tip strikeout, however, the home plate umpire called a foul ball and said the catcher did not make a catch on the play.
With the strikeout waved off, the UGA batter drew a two-out walk. Keegan McGovern then followed with an RBI single to center field as the base runner from first base never stopped running as he rounded third base, while the Jackets threw the ball into the infield.
Down one with three outs left, the Jackets Austin Wilhite and Nick Wilhite both drew walks to put runners on first and second with one out. However, the next two Tech batters hit an infield fly to the shortstop and a ground ball to first, as UGA escaped with the one-run win.
Offensively for the Jackets, Ryan Peurifoy led the way as he was 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. Junior Trevor Craport went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and run scored, while Kel Johnson was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
For the Bulldogs, McGovern went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored, while both Adam Sasser (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Tucker Bradley (2-for-4, SF, 2 RBIs) had two hits apiece in the win.
The Jackets looked to open up the scoring in the early innings, yet saw both at bats in the first and second frames end with double plays by Georgia to strand two runners in scoring position.
After back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to start the game, Georgia Tech starter Ben Schniederjans ran into some trouble in the top half of the third. Following a lead-off walk and a bunt single to the right side, the Bulldogs played small ball and laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up into scoring position.
UGA then got a sacrifice fly to deep left field to score the runner from third and take a 1-0 lead midway through the third.
Both teams stranded a runner on base in the fourth, before the Bulldogs extended their lead to 3-0 after scoring two runs in the top of the fifth on an infield RBI single and a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Jackets’ bats broke through in a big way in the bottom of the fifth, as Kyle McCann started the two-out rally with a walk to bring up the top of the order. Junior Wade Bailey then doubled to left center field, before Craport was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
The middle of the order came through, as Peurifoy hit a sinking line drive to left field which got past the diving left fielder and cleared the bases for a three-run double to tie the game up at 3-3.
The inning continued as Johnson then hit a two-out double to right center field over the outstretched arm of the Bulldog outfielder to score Peurifoy from second and put the Jackets in front for the first time all game at 4-3.
However, the back-and-forth scoring carried over into the sixth, as the Bulldogs got a one-out double to right center field, an infield single and a wild pitch to tie the game back up at 4-4.
Two batters later, after a fielder’s choice got the lead runner out at third, an errant pick-off throw to first base allowed the runner to move all the way up to third, before a bunt single down the third base line drove in the go-ahead run to put the visitors from Athens back on top at 5-4.
GT tried to get a run back in the bottom half of the sixth, as Austin Wilhite singled to lead-off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then advanced to third on a fly ball to right field. McCann then drew a two-out walk to put the go-ahead run on base for the Jackets before a ground ball to the shortstop ended the inning and stranded two.
The Bulldogs remained hot at the plate in the top of the seventh, as the red and black got a two-out double to right center field by McGovern to plate two and extend its lead out to three at 7-4.
Refusing to go away, the Jackets struck back in the bottom of the seventh with two runs of its own in the frame. Peurifoy doubled down the left field line and then moved up to third on a single by Johnson. Coleman Poje followed with an RBI single to right field to drive in Peurifoy and move Johnson all the way round to third.
Following a UGA pitching change, head coach Danny Hall countered with pinch hitter Xzavion Curry. The freshman hit the first pitch into right field for an RBI single, as Johnson crossed the plate to trim the Bulldogs’ lead down to one at 7-6.
The home team tied the game up again in the bottom of the eighth, as Craport singled to left to score McCann from second, who led off the inning with his third walk of the night, to send the game to the ninth knotted up at 7-7.
Georgia used seven pitchers on the night who combined to strike out 10 Tech hitters and strand 11 Jackets on base.
The Yellow Jackets used four pitchers for the contest, striking out five and stranding eight Bulldogs on base on the night.
Georgia Tech (24-22, 9-15 ACC) will return to the road for ACC play this weekend at Duke (24-23, 9-15 ACC) in a key conference series as both teams are fighting to secure a spot in the upcoming 2017 ACC Baseball Championship Tournament.
* Tuesday night’s game was the first for the Jackets and Bulldogs at SunTrust Park, as the rivals had played every year at Turner Field since 2003.
* The loss snapped the Yellow Jackets’ winning streak at three straight games.
* The Yellow Jackets are 13-4 this season in games when they record a big inning (four runs or more).
* Ryan Peurifoy continued his hitting streak, pushing it out to a career-high 14 straight games.
* Ryan Peurifoy tied his career-high with three RBIs at the plate on the night.
* Freshman Connor Thomas made his intercollegiate debut on the mound as a Jacket.
* Wade Bailey has now reached base safely in 18 straight games, a new career high.
* Wade Bailey extended his hitting streak to eight straight games.
* Trevor Craport pushed his current hitting streak out to four straight games.