After dropping a weekend series against No. 2 Louisville, Tech baseball faced off against the Wofford Terriers in a midweek game. The start of the game was eerily familiar for the Jackets, as they gave up four runs in the second inning to begin the game with an early deficit. Coach Danny Hall started sophomore left hander Camron Hill on the mound in just his second appearance since his injury. The outing did not go as planned as the four-run second inning knocked Hill out of the game early. The Jackets’ bats did not struggle in this affair as they tallied 15 hits. The issue was the lack of run production. The Jackets only managed to score five runs, including home runs from junior outfielder Jake DeLeo and senior outfielder Angelo Dispigna. These five runs were not enough to combat late runs from the Terriers, who took the game 8-5. Capitalizing on runners in scoring position will be crucial if the Jackets want to have a good year in ACC contests.
After a couple of days of rest and practice, Tech faced off in an important weekend series against their ACC rival Clemson. Clemson came into the series on a roll, winning nine of their past 11 games and on a two-game win streak. Friday starting pitcher Dawson Brown had a great outing for the Jackets throwing four scoreless innings while striking out four as well. In the fifth, redshirt sophomore pitcher Ben King surrendered runs in both the fifth and sixth to give Clemson a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, redshirt sophomore first basemen Jackson Finley hit a towering homerun to shrink the lead to one. After exchanging runs in the seventh and eighth, the Jackets headed into the bottom of the ninth needing one run to tie things up and go to extras. After two quick outs to start the inning, junior outfielder Stephen Reid singled, and Dispigna came up to the plate with the tying run on first. Hall substituted speedy freshman outfielder Parker Brosius to pitch run for Reid, and the decision could not have worked out any better. Dispigna hit a ball to center field, and Brosius took off running. After a slip from the center fielder, the third base coach sent Brosius to home plate. Following a mental mistake from the infield, the throw went to second, trying to nail Dispigna, but Brosius crossed the plate to tie up the game.
The Jackets could not get Dispigna in, and the game headed to extra innings. Tech put their outstanding sophomore relief pitcher Scary Terry Busse in to try and keep the game tied in the 10th and 11th, and he did just that. He pitched two innings, striking out four and allowing zero hits in the process. In the bottom of the 11th, the Jackets’ lineup saw Clemson graduate pitcher Jackson Lindley for a second time. After a leadoff double for DeLeo to start the 11th, Dispigna came back up to the plate with runners on first and second with only one out. With the outfielders playing in, Dispigna hit a line drive over the center fielder’s head to drive in DeLeo and walk off the game, winning 4-3.
Following this incredible game from behind win, the Jackets squared off again against Clemson the next afternoon. The hitting woes from the previous night’s affair did not continue for the Jackets, as Tech put up five runs in the first inning, including a leadoff home run by DeLeo and a two-run RBI single from junior third baseman Drew Compton. Hall gave the ball to freshman pitcher Luke Schmolke, and he performed great, only allowing three runs in five innings. Hall announced after the game that Schmolke will continue to be the Jackets Saturday starter for the time being. Tech did not stop scoring after the first inning, and they tacked on more runs in the next five innings totaling to 16. DeLeo and Compton added a pair of home runs, and redshirt freshman second basemen Kristian Campbell added three RBIs. After Schmolke left the mound, the Tigers were unable to produce another run, due to great outings by both pitchers sophomore Aeden Finateri and freshman Noah Samol.
After pitching two innings in Friday night’s contest, Hall was extremely excited to give Scary Terry a day of rest and have him available for Sunday’s game. The Jackets clinched the series win with a 16-3 blowout victory over Clemson on Saturday afternoon. As a result of these two high energy victories, Tech failed to muster a strong third game in the series. While Finley came out pitching well, including striking out three batters in the first, he surrendered multiple runs in the fifth inning, putting the Jackets down early. Unlike Friday night, the Jackets could not produce any sort of comeback because the bats ran flat for the afternoon. Typical producers such as DeLeo and Dispigna were unable to get any sort of rally started and left-handed sophomore Cody Carwile could not keep the Jackets within striking distance as he relinquished four runs in the seventh. Clemson scored 14 runs on 14 hits, and the Jackets squeaked out some runs in the bottom of the ninth to make the score more respectable while ultimately falling 14-5. The Jackets will soar into Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Friday, March 31 to square off against the Boston College Golden Eagles (16-4, 5-2 ACC) for a three-game weekend series.