Jacket baseball wins series over Georgia

Chandler Simpson dives for third base during Tech’s 11-7 win over Georgia in game one of Clean Old-Fashioned Hate. Simpson led the Jackets with three hits from the leadoff spot, scoring two runs and swiping a base in the process. // Photo by Joe Johnson Student Publications

Tech baseball played a hotly contested week of in-state games, playing four games in four different venues against Georgia State and Georgia. The Jackets won the first three of four, picking up a weekday win over the Panthers and a series win over then No. 5 ranked Bulldogs.

Tech made the quick drive to Decatur for the Tuesday, March 1 game against Georgia State, coming away with a win in a low-scoring game. After two scoreless innings, the Jackets broke the tie with a three-run third inning, featuring a two-run homer by sophomore catcher Kevin Parada and a sacrifice-fly RBI by sophomore infielder John Giesler. Georgia State got on the board in the fourth inning, but a seventh inning walk drawn by Parada gave Tech an insurance run as the Jackets secured the 4-2 win.

The Jackets used five pitchers on the day, with none throwing more than 40 pitches. Sophomore Marquis Grissom Jr. started and earned the win with his two scoreless innings, with redshirt senior John Medich handling the next three innings. Sophomore Dawson Brown handled the last 1.2 innings of work, earning the save and striking out three Georgia State batters. 

Tech opened their weekend series with Georgia next, hosting the opener of Clean Old-Fashioned Hate on Friday, March 4. Sophomore shortstop Chandler Simpson started the game off with a single as Tech nearly batted through the order in the first inning, scoring three runs and igniting the sold out student section. The lead ballooned to 8-1 after the seventh before Georgia’s six-run eighth inning narrowed the margin, but a three-run eighth for Tech set the final margin at 11-7. Sophomore infielders Andrew Jenkins and Tim Borden II led the team with three RBIs each as every starter recorded a hit.

Junior pitcher Chance Huff worked his best game of the season so far, pitching seven innings with six strikeouts and only one earned run. After taking three pitchers to clear the eighth inning Bulldog rally, Medich took the mound for the ninth and retired the side in order.

With a chance to clinch the series the next day, Tech blanked the Bulldogs behind 13 total strikeouts by Jacket pitchers. Sophomore Zach Maxwell earned seven of those strikeouts in his three-inning start, before freshman Cody Carwile’s three innings of work with only one total baserunner earned him the win. Freshman Aeden Finateri finished the job, striking out five over the final three innings and completing the shutout.

At the plate, Simpson led the team with three hits while Borden and sophomore infielder Drew Compton each had multiple RBIs. Compton and sophomore outfielder Tres Gonzalez recorded RBI singles in the third to open the scoring before Borden and Jenkins each recorded an RBI in the seventh. Tech scored three more runs in the ninth to pad their lead, taking game two 7–0 and clinching the series win.

Tech looked to complete a series sweep in game three. Georgia jumped out to an early lead, leading the Jackets 3–0 after three innings. Sophomore outfielder Stephen Reid got Tech on the board with a solo home run in the fourth inning before a Bulldog home run restored the three run lead. Tech returned the deficit to two after a Parada RBI single made the game 4–2. Georgia began to pull away in the seventh, piling on six runs. Tech responded with a run in the bottom of the frame, but two more Bulldog runs in the ninth gave them a 12–3 lead, staving off a Tech sweep.

Tech cycled through seven pitchers in the game, with Grissom receiving the loss on his record. Jacket pitchers only tossed five strikeouts, well below the season average of around a dozen per game so far. The bats were similarly quiet, with Parada and Reid recording the only multi-
hit performances. 

Despite the loss, Tech recorded a 3–1 week and a series win over nationally-ranked archrival Georgia. The Jackets finished the week ranked No. 9 by the Collegiate Baseball poll. Next up for the team, after the Tuesday, March 8 game at Mercer, Tech welcomes Virginia Tech to Atlanta for the beginning of ACC play from March 9–11. The Hokies come into the game with a 10–1 record.