Tech’s baseball team won two but lost the series finale to second-ranked Miami during a weekend series in Coral Gables, Fla. In the first two games, Tech was able to come back from an early deficit to defeat the Hurricanes. In game three, however, Tech started off strong but was unable to score after the second inning, ultimately losing to Miami at Mark Light Stadium.
Friday night’s series opener began with a groundout to sophomore pitcher Deck McGuire that drove in a run, giving the Hurricanes a first inning lead against the Jackets. The very next inning Miami got two RBIs on a single furthering their early lead to 3-0. Starting off what would end up being a good series for sophomore shortstop Derek Dietrich, the Ohio native hammered the ball over the left field wall. This shot drove in two others and was Dietrich’s third homer for the season.
The following inning Miami retaliated, batting in two runs off a pair of singles to make the score 5-3, the Hurricanes leading.
After a scoreless fifth, the Jackets had a field day in the top of the sixth, scoring seven runs. With the score 10-5 Tech took the lead and never gave it back, picking up an additional three runs to make the final score 13-9.
Senior right fielder Luke Murton, sophomore center fielder Jeff Rowland and Dietrich all hit crucial home runs. Overall Tech’s offense excelled on Friday, earning 13 hits in the game.
“We had some great at-bats to get the ball airborne for home runs tonight,” said Danny Hall, head coach of the Jackets, in an interview with ramblinwreck.com
Dietrich and Murton returned again in game two and were joined by junior first baseman Tony Plagman in hitting home runs for the Tech offense. The Jackets bullpen also performed well with junior right-hander Zach Von Tersch striking out seven. He also kept the Hurricanes to four hits resulting in two runs.
After Miami first baseman Jason Hagerty scored on a wild pitch by Von Tersch in the bottom of the second, Plagman stepped up to the plate in the fourth and nailed a homer to tie the game 1-1. The following inning Dietrich got his fourth homer of the season when he hit it over the right field wall, picking up two RBIs.
The Hurricanes never regained the lead. Murton hit a two-run homer and later Plagman batted in a runner with a single, giving Tech a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Freshman pitcher Mark Pope was the closer and only allowed one run.
“I was very pleased. Everyone we brought into the game out of the bullpen got us key outs and we needed that. It seemed like (Miami) kept putting pressure on us, but our bullpen was tremendous,” Hall said.
In the final game of the series Tech stumbled against Miami pitcher Iden Nazario. Dietrich was able to bat in a run in the first and junior second-baseman Jason Garofalo hit a home run in the second. Unfortunately for the Jackets, that would be the last run they scored of the game. Tech got eight hits total, three of which were by Dietrich. The final score of the game was 6-2 in a frustrating loss to the Hurricanes.
The Jackets game on Wednesday against Mercer was cancelled. The Jackets return to Russ Chandler Stadium today to kick off an ACC weekend series against No. 6 North Carolina.