Jackets pull away from Penguins, bitten by Huskies

Senior first baseman Cam Jones catches an out against Youngstown State in a game that was a dominant Jackets win. // Photo courtesy of Catey Thurston Student Publications

Coming off hard-fought losses to Georgia, Tech looked to bounce back in games against Northeastern and Youngstown State. Unfortunately, the  Jackets fell  to the Huskies 7-0 while only mustering five hits. Tech bounced back from their loss against Northeastern, and would take down Youngstown State in four straight games and rack up more than 15 runs in all four of those games. Freshman outfielder Drew Burress would continue his red-hot start to the season by continuing to lead collegiate baseball in home runs, with 10 in just 61 at bats.

The Jackets came into their game on March 6 against Northeastern in a difficult spot. s. They got  behind early thanks to Northeastern securing two hits against sophomore pitcher Carson Ballard. Huskies second baseman Luke Beckstein led the game off with a double and first baseman Tyler MacGregor would give the Huskies a 2-0 lead thanks to a two-run homer. 

Tech would fail to respond and the deficit would only grow for the Jackets. Northeastern would tack on two more runs in the second and third inning to make the score 4-0. The teams would exchange scoreless fourth and fifth innings only for the Huskies to widen the lead one more time. MacGregor would come up to bat in sixth with Beckstein on and would hit his second home run of the game to make the score 6-0. The Jackets would give up one final run in the sixth to make the score 7-0. The game was Tech’s worst of the season offensively, only mustering five hits and going 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

After a disappointing loss to Northeastern, Tech looked to bounce back against Youngstown State. The Jackets started the game off slowly once again, falling to a 2-0 deficit in the second inning against the Penguins. Senior catcher Matthew Ellis halved  the lead with a run batted in (RBI) on the fielder’s choice. The Penguins answered by scoring in both the fourth and fifth to make the score 4-1 in favor of the Penguins. Tech responded with a home run from Ellis and RBIs from both senior first baseman Cam Jones and sophomore outfielder Parker Brosius to tie the game at 4. 

Youngstown State scored one more run, but Tech responded with 11 unanswered runs to put the game out of reach with a score of 15-5. The Jackets’ 10 run lead in the eighth secured a run-rule victory for Tech. The Jackets offense was led by Brosius, Ellis and senior second baseman Mike Becchetti — the trio notched a total of 11 RBIs.

The following day, Tech had a double header against the Penguins. The Jackets would once again concede the first run of the game but would immediately respond with four runs of their own to make the score 4-1, in favor of the Jackets at the end of the first inning thanks to RBIs from Ellis, Becchetti, Jones and Brosius. Youngstown State responded with a three-run home run to tie the game at four at the end of the fourth inning. 

The Jackets regained the lead in dominant fashion at the bottom of the fifth by scoring nine runs. The nine runs were highlighted by a Burress grand slam. The Penguins earned two more runs to make the score 15-6. The Jackets would score one more run in the eighth inning to earn the run-rule victory with a score of 16-6.

In the second game of the double-header, Tech started off the game by scoring 13 unanswered runs. The assault was led by freshman infielder Carson Kerce who secured four hits and four RBIs for the game. 

Freshman pitcher Tate McKee excelled in the first start of his collegiate career allowing only two hits and striking out seven batters in four innings. The Penguins responded with seven runs bolstered by a grand slam to make the score 13-7 in the seventh inning. The Jackets fired back with four runs of their own to secure the run-rule win for Tech in the seventh inning via a score of 17-7.

The Jackets concluded the series against the Penguins with a game on March 10 and left no doubt as to whether they were going for the series sweep. Tech started the game off strong getting to an early 9-0 lead by the third inning. The Penguins answered with two runs of their own at the top of the fourth inning to make the score 9-2. The Jackets respond with nine runs of their own to make the score 18-2. 

Tech would hold Youngstown State scoreless at the top of the seventh inning to secure a run-rule victory for the Jackets. Tech was led by Ellis, who secured four RBIs and senior left fielder Trey Yunger’s team-high three runs.

The Jackets offense was explosive throughout their series against the Penguins. Burress notched more home runs to continue leading division one baseball in home runs with 10 in just 61 at bats. Ellis had a productive series against Youngstown State totalling 10 RBIs in the four games.

After they take on the Mercer Bears in Macon, Ga., Tech is looking to keep the offense rolling in the first Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) series of the season. They take on the No. 13 NC State Wolfpack in a four game series from March 15 to March 17 at home in MacNease Park. The Wolfpack currently lead the ACC with an undefeated 3-0 record in conference play and overall record of 12-3.