Baseball goes 1-2 vs. UVA, thrashes UGA on road

After notching four straight wins at home, Tech’s baseball team hit the road this past weekend to play Virginia, dropping two-of-three to the fourth-ranked Cavaliers. Tech bounced back, though, with a huge 25-6 win over Georgia on Wednesday, April 14 to secure the season sweep over the Bulldogs.

The Jackets moved to 28-5 overall and 12-3 in conference play after the four games.

In the UVA series opener on Friday, April 9, Tech went down 7-4, as junior right-hander Deck McGuire gave up six runs on six hits in six and two-thirds innings. The Cavaliers first run came in the very first inning, giving them an early 1-0 lead. They struck again in the fourth, again driving one in to give them a two run advantage.

The fifth inning proved to be more fruitful for the Jackets’ offense, as they knocked in four runs to take a 4-2 lead over Virginia. The lead came behind back-to-back homers against Cavalier starting pitcher Danny Hultzen, the first a three-run shot by senior first baseman Tony Plagman and the second a solo homer off the bat of junior catcher Cole Leonida. Unfortunately for the Jackets, their fifth-inning surge would be their only offense of the game.

After allowing another Virginia run in the bottom of the sixth and three more mid-way through the seventh, Tech pulled McGuire and sent sophomore left-hander Jake Davies took the mound to close out the inning. Before he could get out of the inning, Davies gave up a solo shot to Virginia outfielder Dan Grovatt, giving the Cavaliers the 7-4 edge that would carry them through the last two innings.

Tech freshman right-hander Luke Bard was able to hold Virginia scoreless in the game’s final inning despite giving up two hits, but the Jackets offense was unable to overcome the three-run deficit.

Although he gave up six runs in the outing, McGuire did record six strikeouts on the day. The loss was his second on the season, putting his record at 5-2.

“We had a good chance to win the game, but we just didn’t do enough good things to win,” said Head Coach Danny Hall, courtesy of

“We have to come out tomorrow and do better in all phases.”

And do better they did. Despite falling behind 5-0 in the second game after just two innings, the Jackets bounced back to top Virginia 9-7 and even the series at one and one.

Junior right-hander Brandon Cumpton got the start for Tech, but after giving up four runs early in the first he was replaced on the mound by freshman right-hander Buck Farmer. Farmer, who came into the game with the bases loaded and no outs, managed to hold the Cavaliers to just one run and four hits in his six-inning effort. He finished the game with six strikeouts.

“Buck Farmer saved the day for us,” Hall said after the game courtesy of “He pitched great and took the momentum away from them.”

The Jackets’ offense responded to Virginia’s 5-0 lead in the third, driving in three on a three-run home run by junior shortstop Derek Dietrich. After a scoreless fourth inning for both teams, Tech surged ahead behind a four-run rally in the top of the fifth. Three of the four came on a three-run shot by Plagman, giving him 12 homers on the year. An inning later, they added two more runs to go up 9-5.

To pitch the seventh inning, Tech brought in junior left-hander Taylor Wood, who allowed one run and one hit in his one inning on the mound.

For the eighth, Hall called in right-hander Andrew Robinson, who gave up one run on two hits in the final two innings.

In the final game of the series, Tech’s defensive woes continued as they went down 9-1 to drop to 12-3 in ACC play. The first inning was scoreless on both sides, but the Cavaliers struck early again, putting up three runs in the second against Tech sophomore left-hander Jed Bradley.

The Jackets cut the lead to 3-1 in the sixth, as junior shortstop Derek Dietrich hit a solo homer over the right field wall to give Tech their only run of the game. Virginia responded in the bottom of the inning, though, driving in three more runs on four hits and two Tech errors to go up 6-1.

Bradley, who gave up eight hits and four earned runs in his outing, was replaced in the sixth by senior right-hander Patrick Long, who pitched through the end of the seventh inning.

Tech got two runners on in the top of the eighth, but Virginia right-hander Tyler Wilson struck out three straight to quell the Jackets’ hopes of scoring. In the bottom of the inning, Bard allowed three more runs to score, all but sealing the 9-1 loss and yielding the series to Virginia.

“We didn’t do anything [well] today,” Hall said. “[Virginia] won the series by playing better than we did for three games, and now we have to…make improvements to get better for next week.”

On Wednesday, April 14, Tech traveled to Athens to face off against rival UGA. Tech had its bats working in the game and they won 25-6. It was the teams’ second meeting of the season as the Jackets won the first game in Atlanta 6-5.

Tech started the game off strong with back-to-back walks, and Plagman singled to score Rowland from second and advancing Dietrich to third. Tech then tried to attempt a double steal and the strategy worked for the most part. Plagman was thrown out at second base but Dietrich scored from third to give Tech an early 2-0 lead.

Plagman hit a solo homer in the third inning and Leonida followed him with a single. Skole tripled to right field scoring Leonida. Two more singles produced two more runs for the Jackets and gave them a 6-0 advantage.

Sophomore right-hander Mark Pope started the game strong for the Jackets but allowed UGA to get four runs back in the bottom of the third inning. A Tech error made one of the runs unearned but Pope allowed a two-run homer to cut Tech’s lead to 6-4.

However, Tech wasted no time in getting those runs back and in adding to their lead. In the fourth, Dietrich doubled to score Rowland from second and Plagman followed with another double to plate Dietrich.

Four straight walks scored four more runs for the Jackets to increase their lead to 13-4.

Another walk with the bases loaded and a fielder’s choice scored two more runs in the fifth inning.

Skole continued to put runs on the board for the Jackets when he hit a grand slam in the sixth to push Tech’s lead to 19-5.

Some of Tech’s younger players finished the game for the Jackets but there was no drop off in production. Six more runs for the Jackets in the eighth resulted in a comfortable 25-6 win.

The Jackets wore down the UGA pitching staff, forcing the Bulldogs to use 10 pitchers. Tech drew 14 walks in the game, and 12 of those came in the first five innings.