Jackets sweep Hokies in thrilling series

Drew Compton crosses home plate and watches as fellow sophomore Tim Borden II heads toward first base. The two players helped Tech sweep the Hokies at home in the weekend series. // Photo courtesy Caitlin Aycock Student Publications

Tech Baseball was back in action last week after their series win against Georgia. The Jackets continued their season with a single game at Mercer on Tuesday, March 8 and then a weekend home series against the Virginia Tech Hokies from Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13. 

Against the Bears, Tech got out to a hot start when Chandler Simpson drove in the Jackets’ first run of the game in the third inning with a sacrifice fly. In the fifth inning, Kevin Parada scored another run for the Jackets when he crushed a ball to center field that hit the speaker system in the outfield to make the game 2–0. 

Mercer countered Tech in the bottom of the fifth inning by scoring two runs of their own to tie the game going into the sixth inning. Tech was able to respond with another solo home run, this time by Drew Compton, who sent a no-doubter over the right field wall to bring the score to 3–2 in favor of the Jackets. 

Over the course of the next two innings, Mercer was able to take the lead, leaving the Jackets in a dire situation, down 4–3 in the top of the ninth inning. Collin Hall provided an answer for the Jackets when he hit the third Tech home run of the day to knot the game back at four apiece to allow the Jackets a chance at extra innings. 

Hopes of another Tech opportunity to take the plate were soiled though, when the Bears were able to walk off the game with an RBI single and upset the No. 13 Jackets 5–4.

Scoring in the first of three matchups with Virginia Tech began quickly with a tie ball game at 1–1 after the first inning when Compton hit an RBI single to get the ball rolling for the Jackets. Virginia Tech had an impressive top of the sixth when they scored four runs and took a 5–1 lead. 

The Jackets fought back in the bottom of the inning when sophomore Tim Borden II was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score a run, followed by a two-run double by sophomore Steven Reid to bring the score to 5–4. The Jackets then tied the game at five when Borden stole home on a wild pitch. 

In the eighth inning, Reid hit an RBI single to take a one run lead and Tech was able to load the bases during a two out rally. The Jackets got another run walked in for the 7-5 lead going into the ninth inning. The Hokies took advantage of their final frame and scored three runs to retake the lead, leaving the Institute down a run in the bottom of the ninth.

The Jackets managed to load the bases yet again and were able to walk in another run to tie the game 8–8. With the bases loaded and only one out in the tie game, John Anderson came to the plate and smoked a pitch off the outfield wall to walk off the Jackets in the bottom of the ninth inning, 9–8. 

Inclement weather pushed Saturday’s game back to Sunday for a doubleheader to complete the series against Virginia Tech. In the first game the Jackets dominated the Hokies for most of the contest. 

The Jackets began the game down 1–0 but scored six runs in the second inning to give them the cushion needed for the rest of the game. The Hokies managed to string together a few runs before Tech inserted freshman reliever Cody Carwile. Carwile pitched four innings and held the Hokies scoreless, only allowing a single hit while the Jackets offense extended the lead to 8–4 after a solo home run by Kevin Parada and an RBI double from Compton in the sixth inning. 

The Jacket offense kept pouring it on in the seventh and eighth innings with four more runs and the Hokies could not keep pace. Junior Sam Crawford allowed only two runs in the last three innings to finish the game for the Jackets, resulting in a 12–6 victory in game two of the series. 

On the back end of the doubleheader, Tech began the game slow and found themselves down by a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. From there, Tech was able to score two runs from two RBI singles by Borden and senior Jack Rubenstein to take a 2–1 lead. Andrew Jenkins extended the Tech lead with a solo homerun in the fifth inning. In the sixth, a Virginia Tech error allowed the Jackets to score two runs through an awkward sequence of events on the base path, with Parada sacrificing himself at second to score another run. 

Virginia Tech managed to score two in the seventh inning and a run apiece in the next two innings to tie the game at 5–5. The Jackets managed to get two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to score, resulting in an extra-innings game.