Baseball thrashes Runnin’ Bulldogs

Chance Huff threw six scoreless innings against Gardner-Webb, tallying nine strikeouts in the process. // Photos by Tuna Ergan Student Publications

Tech baseball continued their strong play as they won four out of the five matches over the last week, including a series sweep against Gardner-Webb over the weekend. Riding high on their series win against the Wright State Raiders, the team travelled to Statesboro to face in-state rival Georgia Southern on Feb. 22. Despite scoring six runs, Tech lost the game 10-6, their first loss of the season. 

Sophomore catcher Kevin Parada and senior outfielder Colin Hall each hit two home runs, sophomore infielder Chandler Simpson contributed with an RBI and sophomore outfielder Tres Gonzalez went 2-for-3 for the game. Sophomore LHP Dalton Smith pitched first and gave up one run in his 1.2 innings. The Eagles scored three runs against sophomore/ RHP Marquis Grissom, Jr. Southern also had four runs added to their tally due to errors committed by the Jackets, which ended up becoming the winning factor for them.

On Feb. 23, the team hosted fellow 2021 NCAA Nashville Regional participant Presbyterian on the Flats. The Jackets thrashed the Blue Hose 17-7, which included a nine-run seventh inning. 

Parada led the charge and ended the evening with four RBIs including a home run. Sophomore infielder Drew Compton hit his third home run while sophomore infielder Tim Borden II hit a home run in his first at-bat. Gonzalez and sophomore infielder Andrew Jenkins contributed three and two RBIs respectively. 

On the mound, sophomore RHP Xander Stephens pitched 1.2 no-hit innings to receive his first career decision. Sophomore LHP Josiah Siegel conceded three runs in 2.1 innings as the starter before freshman LHP Cody Carwile and redshirt junior LHP Joseph Mannelly took charge and allowed just three runs between them. Freshman RHP Logan McGuire and junior RHP Cort Roedig ended the game on a high note with five total strikeouts in two innings.

Lastly, the team hosted the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs in a series on Feb. 25-26. The three-game series was to be played over three days, but due to the bad weather forecast on Sunday, the second and the third games were played on Saturday, Feb. 26. 

In the first game, the Jackets beat the Bulldogs 14-0. Junior RHP Chance Huff pitched six innings and bagged nine strikeouts without ceding a single run. Coming into the game, six Tech batters had a batting
average above .300, and they did not disappoint. 

At the plate, the hitters continued their impressive performance. Compton went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He also smashed his fourth home run of the season. Gonzalez, Simpson, Parada and sophomore infielder John Giesler contributed to lead the team to a win. 

The next day, the team continued its form and won both games. In the first game, sophomore RHP Zach Maxwell had a career-best outing, striking out 11 hitters in six innings. Following Maxwell’s lead, Parada took charge, adding six runs to the scoreboard. The hosts won the first game 14-5. The second game of the doubleheader was tougher for the team, but they came up with the win. Thanks to the efforts of Mannelly, freshman RHP Aeden Finateri, junior LHP Luke Bartnicki and sophomore RHP Dawson Brown, the visitors were held to three runs. Parada, along with Gonzalez and Compton, brought in the big guns to score seven runs, ending the busy week with a series sweep. 

Over the week, Parada had a .571 batting average, 1.476 SLG%, five home runs, 12 total hits, and 17 RBI, earning him the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week award. Through the first eight games, Parada leads Tech in home runs (5), slugging percentage (1.061) and OPS (1.614) and is tied with Simpson for the lead in hits (16). Tech sits at the No. 10 spot in Collegiate Baseball’s poll after the week of games. After a trip to Panthersville to face Georgia State, the team plays No. 5 Georgia in their yearly series, playing in Atlanta on March 4, Athens on March 5 and at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA on March 6.