Baseball wins two of three in “Battle of the Techs”

The baseball team took two of three games on the road against Virginia Tech over the weekend before hosting Mercer in a 4-3 victory on Tuesday.

The series against the Hokies ended an eight-game road trip for the Jackets, who will now play 16 of their next 20 games in Atlanta. This is good news for Tech, whose 12-4 home record bests its road mark of 8-7.

The Jackets won the Friday night contest against the Hokies 11-5 to secure their first series opening victory in three weeks.

Jonathan King made the start on the mound, giving up 10 hits and five runs (three earned) over 6 ⅓ innings of work.

The team entered the seventh inning down 5-2 but proceeded to score nine runs over the final three innings to earn the win. The rally began in the seventh inning with an RBI double by Matt Gonzalez, immediately followed by an AJ Murray single to bring Gonzalez home.

Connor Justus doubled later in the inning to score Murray and tie the game. Gonzalez also drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth, and from there the Jackets never looked back.

Gonzalez and teammate Daniel Spingola each finished the day with three hits and three RBIs, while Justus added two RBIs of his own. As a team, the Jackets notched 15 hits in the game, with seven going for extra bases.

Virginia Tech took Game 2 of the three game series in walkoff fashion on Saturday by a score of 9-8. A three-run double by the Hokies in the second inning gave them a 3-0 lead, but the Jackets recovered in the third to tie the game.

Georgia Tech took a 7-5 lead in the sixth inning via two singles and a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The Hokies tied the game in the seventh, but Georgia Tech responded in the ninth when Wade Bailey scored off of a single by Murray.

The Hokies were not finished, however, as a single and an error in the bottom of the ninth plated two runs and clinched the victory.

Jackets head coach Danny Hall shared his thoughts after the game, courtesy of

“We blew two leads late, and that was the story,” Hall said. “Wade Bailey had a great at-bat in the ninth to get a two-out hit and give us the lead, but he made a mistake on the ball in the ninth inning. He made a great play to come and get it, but he’s just got to take the out at first base, and we’re still playing. Certainly a tough way to lose.”

Brandon Gold threw 114 pitches in 5.2 innings of work as the starter on Sunday to help the Jackets win Game 3, 7-6. He gave up six earned runs but struck out eight batters and allowed only one extra base hit. Matthew Gorst pitched the remaining 3.1 innings, holding the Hokies scoreless while giving up just two hits and striking out six batters to earn the save.

“Gorst pitched great in relief,” Hall said. “He really settled the game by throwing a lot of strikes.”

The Jackets plated five runs in the second inning to take an early lead and scored two more in the fourth to lead 7-3 and endured a three run inning by the Hokies in the sixth to seal the deal.

Spingola recorded four hits and three RBIs on the afternoon, extending his streak of 23 straight games in which he has reached base.

The team’s first home game since March 24 resulted in a 4-3 win against the in-state rival Bears of Mercer. Pitcher Ben Parr lasted into the eighth inning and earned the win while Spingola added three more RBIs to his season total of 23.

Spingola’s three-run homer in the seventh put the Jackets up 4-1, but Mercer cut the lead to one in the eighth with a pair of RBI singles.

Reliever Zac Ryan then held the Bears scoreless in the ninth inning, forcing a groundout, fly out and strikeout to earn the save.

The Jackets host University of Virginia this weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium in a three-game series followed by a Tuesday showdown against Georgia at 7:00 p.m.