Tech stumps Georgia's comeback, wins series opener
ATLANTA, GA. — No. 19 Georgia Tech defeated No. 16 Georgia 11-7 Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
After falling behind 8-1, the Bulldogs (8-1) rallied to score six runs in the top half of the eighth, although it just wasn’t enough. The Yellow Jackets (9-1) added three insurance runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning, which secured the series-opening victory.
"You have to play clean baseball when you face a good team, and we didn't play clean and they made us pay," Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said. “You never know how that first inning would've gone if we don't make an error and make the throw home, it could've been a 0-0 game.”
Georgia Tech jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. An error by Georgia pitcher Jonathan Cannon and a two-run RBI double by Drew Compton gave the Yellow Jackets some momentum. The Bulldogs would get a run back in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore Corey Collins crushed a solo home run to right-center field.
However, in the bottom half of the inning, Georgia Tech would respond as sophomore Tim Borden hit a three-run dinger off of Cannon. Borden’s home run gave the Yellow Jackets a 6-1 advantage entering the top of the fifth inning. They would add two more runs in the seventh to take an 8-1 lead before Georgia tried to mount a comeback in the eighth.
The Bulldogs scored six runs on five hits in the eighth inning. It was first sparked as Cole Tate took a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded, scoring graduate student Chaney Rogers for Georgia’s second run of the evening. A pair of consecutive singles from Parks Harber and Corey Action brought in three more runs to cut the deficit to three (8-5).
Josh McAllister’s two-out double scored both Action and Harber to make it a one-run game. Unfortunately, McAllister was tagged out at third for the final out. Georgia Tech’s Andrew Jenkins and Tres Gonzalez had consecutive singles in the bottom half of the eighth inning to give the Yellow Jackets some cushion before entering the top of the ninth.
“I was happy with the way we fought back and made it a one-run game,” Stricklin said. “We battled.”
Cannon (2-1) entered the contest leading the nation with 14.1 scoreless innings. On Friday, he pitched six innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Yellow Jackets’ starting pitcher Chance Huff improved to 2-0 on the season with the victory. The right-hander pitched seven complete innings, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Georgia freshman Chandler Marsh made his collegiate debut against Georgia Tech on Friday night. Following relievers Nolan Crisp and Will Pearson, the right-hander pulled the Bulldogs out of a jam in the eighth inning by striking out two batters to end the threat.
"Chance (Huff) was throwing three pitches for strikes, he had his full arsenal tonight for them,” Stricklin added. “I didn't think Jonathan (Cannon) pitched bad as he was able to go six innings but there were a couple of mistakes, and they made us pay for it. I thought Chandler Marsh was sharp in his debut. He came in and was throwing 94 miles per hour and got us out of the eighth inning. He is going to get more opportunities for sure."
The teams continue the series Saturday in Athens with the first pitch at sold-out Foley Field scheduled for 2:02 p.m. (SECN+).
The three-game set concludes Sunday and will serve as the 19th annual Spring Baseball Classic to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Sunday's game will be played at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville with the first pitch at 2 p.m.