Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics
The Jackets kicked off their weekend series against Rutgers in style, winning by a dozen and powered by A.J. Murray's 4th inning Grand Slam.
W: Buck Farmer (2-0), Georgia Tech (9-1)
L: Rob Smorol (1-1), Rutgers (2-5)
As mentioned in the series preview article on Friday, Rutgers was throwing their clear ace to start off the series. I think it's fair to say that if their ace gave up 8 runs without making it out of the 5th inning, Tech probably doesn't have much to worry about on Saturday or Sunday.
Rutgers' starter Rob Smorol threw three solid innings to start things off, not allowing any Jackets to reach first base safely, before things really came unraveled in the fourth inning. The fourth saw the Jackets load the bases with Kyle Wren, Sam Dove, and Brandon Thomas, before Daniel Palka walked (scoring Wren). It was then that AJ Murray came to the plate and turned a 1-0 game into a 5-0 game with one swing of the bat, blasting his first career home run over the left field fence. Rutgers responded with 1 in the top of the 5th, before Tech scored 4 more each in the bottom of the 5th and 7th innings to take the victory by a score of 13-1.
Brandon Thomas, AJ Murray, and Matt Gonzalez all had two hits in a strange game where the Jackets scored more runs (13) than they had hits (11). Buck Farmer had 6 strong innings where he allowed 7 hits and 1 walk while only allowing 1 run and striking out 9. He was relieved by Freshman Jared Jillson, Junior DeAndre Smelter, and Freshman Joe Wiseman, who combined to allow only one hit and strikeout four -- always good to see that sort of performance from the bullpen, and especially freshmen this early in the season.
Overall there's not much other than positive to say about this performance. It took the Jackets a few innings to wake up offensively, but once they did they weren't going to be stopped. Buck Farmer had another strong Friday night outing in what's becoming a wonderful habit for him. 8 starters had a hit, and Murray's grand slam was followed up by Zane Evans' fifth home run in three games.
Saturday's game will be at 4pm from Russ Chandler Stadium as Junior right-hander Dusty Isaacs will take on Rutgers' Senior right-hander Tyler Gebler. Again, Smorol would appear to be Rutgers' clear ace this season, making me wonder what sort of fireworks we'll see with someone else on the hill for the Scarlet Knights. Come on out to the Rusty C on Saturday afternoon and see for yourself!
We've won 9 of 10 to start the season and don't appear to have much of a weak spot as a team. Are you highly encouraged as well, or do I need to lay off the Kool-Aid for a couple weeks?