It was a tough loss for the Yellow Jackets, who lost 4-3 to Mercer in 10 innings Wednesday night. They did not go silently, however, with Connor Justus tying the game in the bottom of the ninth with a squeeze bunt.
The Yellow Jackets got the scoring started first, scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning. With a runner on first and one out, sophomore LF Matt Gonzalez came up to the plate. On the 1-0 pitch Gonzalez hit a double down the LF line, scoring senior captain and 2B Mott Hyde from first base. Junior 1B Thomas Smith came up to the plate next. Just as Matt Gonzalez's double had outdone Mott Hyde's single, so did Thomas Smith do to Matt Gonzalez. On the 0-1 pitch, Smith hit a triple to RF to score Gonzalez from second base.
The Yellow Jackets would not keep this lead long, with Mercer coming right back in the top of the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Georgia Tech's freshman LHP Ben Parr attempted to make a pickoff move to first base, but it got away from Thomas Smith, allowing all the runners to advance one base and allowing freshman SS Matt Meeder to score from third base. The batter at the plate, senior 1B Nick Backlund, hit the first pitch he saw after the failed pickoff on the ground to second base. While he was thrown out at first, the runner on third (senior CF Sasha LaGarde) scored. Freshman C Charlie Madden came up to the plate next and walked on four pitches. And then, something completely ridiculous happened. The Bears successfully pulled off a double steal. In case you weren't paying attention, the lead runner was on third base, so in other words, we let someone STEAL HOME!!!!! Junior 3B Chesny Young stole home, giving Mercer their first lead of the game.
The Yellow Jackets would stay silent again until the bottom of the ninth inning. With runners on first and third, freshman SS Connor Justus came up to the plate. On the 1-0 pitch, Justus successfully executed a squeeze bunt, allowing Matt Gonzalez to score from third base. This would bring the game into extra innings.
In extra innings, Mercer would not stay quiet very long. With a runner on second and two outs, freshman C Charlie Madden came back up to the plate. On the 2-2 pitch, Madden doubled down the left field line, scoring junior 3B Chesny Young from second base, giving Mercer their final lead of the game.
Tech would do nothing in the bottom of the tenth inning, having all three batters go down in five pitches.
Starting the game for the Yellow Jackets was freshman LHP Ben Parr. In his 6.0 innings of work, Parr allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Parr also gave up a double. Coming on in his relief was senior RHP Jonathan Roberts. In his 1.0 inning of work, Roberts allowed no runs on no hits with a strikeout and a walk. Coming on next was sophomore LHP Sam Clay. In his 2.0 innings of work, Clay pitched perfectly, striking out four of the six batters that he faced. Finishing the game for the Yellow Jackets was senior captain and RHP "Trusty" Dusty Isaacs. "Trusty" Dusty wasn't so trusty Wednesday night. In his 1.0 inning of work, "Trusty" Dusty allowed the game's final run on two hits. He also struck out two batters and walked two. "Trusty" Dusty Isaacs was credited with the loss.
Starting the game for Mercer was freshman RHP Ryan Askew. In his 4.0 innings of work, Askew allowed two runs on three hits and struck out three batters. Coming on in his relief was junior LHP Grant Papelian. In his 1.0 inning of work, Papelian allowed no runs on a hit and struck out a batter. Pitching the next inning was senior RHP Stephen Glaze. Glaze pitched a perfect inning, getting all three batters out in 10 pitches. Combining to pitch the next inning was junior RHP Ben Lumsden and freshman LHP Austin Lord. In their combined 1.0 inning of work, the two pitchers allowed zero runs on one hit with no strikeouts or walks. Pitching the final 3.0 innings for the Bears was junior RHP Dimitri Kourtis. Kourtis allowed one run on four hits and struck out a batter. Dimitri Kourtis was credited with the win.
After a devastating loss, the Yellow Jackets will look to get back on track this weekend in a series against NC State. All three games will be available on 91.1 FM WREK. Friday's (6:30 first pitch) and Sunday's (1:00 first pitch) game will also be available on ESPN3, and Saturday's (1:00 first pitch) game will be available on RSN.