Baseball, softball pick up weekend wins

Justyn-Henry Malloy swings at the plate during Tech’s home series against Louisville. During the Wake Forest series, he recorded four hits on the weekend along with a run and an RBI. // Photo by Taylor Gray Student Publications

After dropping a couple of high scoring games to the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Jackets’ baseball team took the trip up to North Carolina to take on Wake Forest. Tech came into the weekend near the top of the ACC Coastal Division with a 9-5 record. Meanwhile, Wake Forest came in near the bottom of the ACC Atlantic Division with a 4-6 record.

The first of three games began with a less than ideal start for the Jackets as they fell behind 3-0 entering the seventh inning. In the top of the seventh inning, freshman Jake Deleo and junior Colin Hall ran in one run each to cut the deficit down to just one run. Wake Forest responded with one run in the bottom of the seventh inning and an additional two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Jackets would be held scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, giving Wake Forest a 6-2 win.

Both teams limited their mistakes as Wake Forest did not commit a single error and Tech only committed one error in the game. Tech’s starting pitcher, junior Brant Hurter, struck out eight batters through six innings pitched while only giving up three runs on five hits. Following a loss in game one, the Jackets looked to bounce back in game two.

The second game began just the way the team was hoping for as they took a 2-0 lead after a two-run home run from freshman Tres Gonzalez in the top of the second inning, driving fellow freshman Drew Compton home as well. This was followed by five scoreless innings by both teams. The Jackets then broke the drought and extended the lead to 3-0 with a run in the top of the eighth. Wake Forest was only able to bring in one run in the bottom of the ninth, and the Jackets finished the game with a 3-1 win.

The story of the game was the Jackets’ freshman phenoms, as all three runs were scored by freshmen. Although the Jackets only scored three runs, they were able to convert all of their opportunities, leaving zero runners on base for the game.

The momentum from game two led to a strong performance in game three. After seven innings, Tech held a commanding 7-1 lead. They scored once again in the top of the ninth inning and held Wake Forest scoreless the rest of the way to secure an 8-1 win. Tech was able to score and hit at will as they finished with 16 hits and had multiple players responsible for at least 2 runs. Additionally, redshirt sophomore starting pitcher Sam Crawford had a strong performance, allowing only one run on four hits through six innings of work.

The Tech softball team was set to host Notre Dame for a four game series after picking up two wins over Pittsburgh. The first game began in competitive fashion as both teams traded runs; the score was knotted at two apiece entering the seventh and final inning. The Irish then took a 5-2 lead off of a 3-run RBI. When the Jackets stepped up to bat, junior Cameron Stanford hit a one-run home run to cut the deficit to just two. The Jackets were unable to score again in the inning and the game ended as a 5-3 Notre Dame win.

Game two was a back-and-forth affair as both teams traded leads. Notre Dame took a 3-0 lead after the top of the third inning. Tech countered by scoring five runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 5-3 lead, but Notre Dame tied the game at five by scoring two runs in the top of the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Tech responded with an RBI single by Cameron Stanford and then a two-run homer by senior Crosby Huckabay, giving Tech an 8-5 lead. Notre Dame was only able to score two runs in the seventh inning and the Jackets held on for the win.

After two close games, game three was more lopsided. Notre Dame took a commanding 7-0 lead after two innings. In the third inning, freshman Emma Kauf scored the lone Jackets run of the game to make it 7-1. In the fifth inning, Notre Dame added two more runs to their total and made it a 9-1 game. With Notre Dame’s eight-run lead, the game ended after five innings by the run rule. Following the loss, Tech was hoping to win the fourth game and tie the series.

The fourth game started with a quick five runs for Notre Dame as they took a 5-0 lead after the top of the third inning. The Jackets responded with one run each in the third and fourth inning, but Notre Dame would go on to score the final run of the game in the sixth inning as they won game four 6-2.

While this series did not end with a win, the Jackets have several positive takeaways to build off including the strong play in games one and two. One of positives included star outfielder Cameron Stanford. She hit and fielded well all weekend, especially when the score was close. The team looks to translate strong play into wins as they get set for the crucial late season stretch.