The Jackets squared off against in-state rival No. 11 UGA in the mid-week game. For Tech, mid-week pitcher Deck McGuire (4-0, 3.00 ERA) squared off against the Bulldogs’ starter Alex McRee (5-1, 3.42 ERA). Like most Tech-UGA games, this one had a full storyline from the start.
In the first inning, Ryan Peisel lead the game off with a single and was then pushed to second on a Travis Beckham walk. Beckham, Georgia’s best hitter, was caught cheating towards second and was picked off at first.
In the bottom of the first, Charlie Blackmon singled with two outs. Blackmon was almost caught by a pickoff but was able to beat out an errant throw to second by Georgia’s first baseman. Dietrich then hit a soft single between the pitcher and second baseman. As Blackmon rounded third, he slipped and was caught in a run-down for the third out of the inning.
In the third, Matt Cerione reached base on a strike out when McGuire’s pitch bounced through the dirt to the backstop. Cerione stole second and went to third on a groundout to the pitcher. Peisel’s groundout scored the runner for the first run of the game.
Tech answered back in the bottom half of the inning when Plagman walked for the first baserunner. Jason Haniger singled to advance Plagman to third. Jeff Rowland proceeded to fly out to left field, scoring Plagman from third on the sacrifice.
The Bulldogs went quietly 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth, but the Jackets did not in the bottom frame. Dietrich led off with a double and advanced to third on a one out fly-out by Brad Feltes. Dietrich scored on Thomas Nichols’ double to deep left-center. Nichols then came around to score on Plagman’s single before Rowland struck out looking.
In the fourth, the Jackets scored two more to Georgia’s zero. Chris House led off the inning with a single and came around to score on Blackmon’s double. Blackmon advanced to third on Dietrich’s flyout and scored on Murton’s single through the right side of the infield.
Georgia got two back in the top of the sixth when Michael Demperio led off with a triple. Peisel’s flyout scored Demperio on the sacrifice. Beckham singled and advance to second on Rich Poythress’ walk. Beckham scored when Bryce Massanari singled up the middle.
The triple by Demperio ended a string of nine straight batters retired by McGuire and Massanari’s single led to Andrew Robinson coming in for the relief.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tech got both runs back as Murton singled and scored on Nichols’ triple with one out. Nichols scored when Haniger singled up the middle with two outs. Georgia got a run back in the top of the eighth inning, but the deciding factor came in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs, Dietrich singled up the middle to extend the inning and get Luke Murton to the plate. Murton homered to left field to drive in Dietrich and score the final runs of the game.
“It’s great; we were pumped up for the game. They’re a good team, but I think we just came out with all the fire and Deck [McGuire] pitched a great [game]. We are looking forward to this weekend against Miami,” Haniger said, “[the win]’s huge; we faced some good arms against North Carolina. The guys they threw tonight were good too and that’s important for this weekend.”
McGuire (5-0) took the win for the Jackets, who host #1 Miami this weekend in Atlanta. For the Bulldogs McRee took the loss to fall to 5-2. The Jackets travel to Statesboro, Ga. for a six-game road swing. Still, they play three of those games close to home in Georgia.
The Jackets come home for an 11-game home stretch that includes the annual game against UGA held at Turner Field. The game will be on May 13.