THE FLATS – In their second game in less than 24 hours, the Yellow Jackets used solid pitching, balanced hitting and good defense to come away with an 8-5 midweek win over the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks on Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Jackets, who landed back in Atlanta, Ga. around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning after a Monday night game in Charlottesville, Va., took a first-inning lead and did not look back on its way to an 8-5 home win.
With the win, Tech moves to 23-9 overall at home this season.
Tech was led by a balanced offensive attack, as eight different Jackets had at least one hit on the night led by designated hitter Joey Bart‘s (2-for-4, BB, RBI, run) team-high two base hits. With his base knocks, Bart pushed his current hitting streak to 10-straight games.
Senior Wade Bailey (1-for-4, 2B, RBI) extended his on-base streak to 23-straight games and his hitting streak to eight-straight contests in the win, while outfielder Colin Hall (1-for-4, RBI) pushed his on-base streak to a career-high 15-straight games with his RBI single in the fifth.
First baseman Tristin English (1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBIs) had two RBIs in the contest to give him a team-high 15 multi-RBI games on the season.
The Redhawks had a trio of players with two hits apiece, but were led by Trevor Ezell (1-for-3, HR, BB, 2 RBIs) and Justin Dirden (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs) who each had a home run and drove in two RBIs in the loss.
The Jackets’ bullpen was solid in the midweek win, as Jake Lee (2.0 IP, 1 hit, 3 K), Bailey Combs (1.0 IP, 2 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, K), Jared Datoc (3.0 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 2 K) and Jonathan Hughes (3.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 R, BB) combined to go all 9.0 innings in the win.
Datoc (1-3) earned the win, while Hughes (1) picked up his first career save.
The loss falls to SEMO reliever Wesley Pyles (0-1), as the lefty allowed just two runs on two hits, one walk and struck out six GT batters over 3.1 innings on the mound.
Tech looked to blow the game open in the bottom of the first, as the Jackets loaded the bases on a Chase Murray single and back-to-back walks to Bailey and Bart.
However, a hard ground ball back to the pitcher off the bat of Kyle McCann kick-started a 1-2-3 double play to quickly halt the home team’s first inning.
On the double play, Bailey and Bart both moved up to second and third for English who lined a two-out double to right center field to plate both runners and put the White and Gold on top early at 2-0.
The Yellow Jackets added two more runs in the bottom of the second on an Oscar Serratos RBI single up the middle and a Bailey RBI ground out to second base to double their lead at 4-0 after two innings of play.
SEMO got right back into the game in the top of the third, as the Redhawks scored three runs in the frame, highlighted by a Dirden two-run home run to right field to cut the Tech lead to one at 4-3.
After the Redhawks tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the fifth on a solo home run to left field that hit off the tip of the glove of a leaping Murray at the wall, the White and Gold retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning on a McCann RBI double and a Colin Hall RBI single to put the score at 6-4 heading into the sixth inning.
With the two-run lead, the Tech bullpen pitched out of some trouble late, as Datoc pitched around two hits in the sixth, while Hughes left one runner stranded in both the seventh and in the eighth to keep the Jackets on top.
Hughes got some help from the defense in the eighth by way of a big double play, as Nick Wilhite ranged back to catch a deep fly ball to center field then fired the ball back into the infield to Bailey who turned and threw the ball to a waiting Austin Wilhite at second base to catch the runner trying to advance to second to end the inning.
The Redhawks added one more run in the ninth to put the final score at 8-5 in favor of the home team.
Both teams turned two double plays, while the Jackets stranded nine runners on base to the Redhawks’ eight.
With their two first-inning runs in the win, the Jackets improved to 15-3 when scoring in the first inning and 21-8 overall on the year when scoring first in the contest.
Georgia Tech (29-24, 12-15 ACC) will wrap its 2018 regular season slate with a three-game ACC series versus the No. 10 Duke Blue Devils (38-12, 17-9 ACC) on Thursday (7 p.m.), Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.). Senior Day festivities will take place on Saturday afternoon prior to the first pitch.
— GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GTBaseball) May 16, 2018