Tech started a long home stretch after a weekend in which they outscored #6 N.C. State yet lost the series 2-1. They faced Georgia Southern for the second and final time this year after beating the Eagles in Statesboro in February. Neither starter would be the same, Connor Thomas moving to Saturdays and Brant Hurter replacing him after a fine winning start over Auburn a week ago. Junior RHP Zach Cowart started for the Eagles, who swept Appalachian State over the weekend. Hurter pitched his best game yet in his young career as Tech increased their domination of the Eagles to nine straight. The offensive star of the game was Chase Murray with three hits, a run and an RBI.
Nobody could break through until the bottom of the 3rd, when the Jackets scored two on RBI’s by Murray and English. The second run was only possible because Bart was running and thus avoided an inning ending double play. Tech led 2-0 and Hurter with pitching very well through four, with seven K’s. He worked around a leadoff double in the 4th, the Eagles first hit.
In the bottom of the 5th, Chase Murray tripled with two outs, but was stranded, and in the top of the 6th, GSU got their second hit, but the runner was erased by Joey Bart while trying to advance on a ball that got away for a second. Hurter had faced only one over the minimum through six.
Tech picked up their third run through aggressive base running in their 6th. English and McCann led off with singles, but English went to third on McCann’s and scored on a wild pitch. Cowart avoided further damage with strikeouts of Bailey and Colin Hall and a fly ball by Austin Wilhite.
Southern put together a couple of singles in their 7th, but Hurter got out of it with his ninth and tenth strikeouts. He looks better every outing.
After Waddell walked to lead off the Tech 7th, the Eagles brought in freshman LHP Hayden Harris to pitch to pinch hitter Baron Radcliff, whom he struck out. He also got Murray and Bart to keep it 3-0, as Tech brought in Hugh Chapman for the 8th. Hugh brushed the sleeve of the first batter, loaded the bases with a two out single and walk before Austin Wilhite made a nice play on a grounder in the hole to preserve the shutout. GSU went to sophomore RHP Braxton Johns for the Tech 8th and he worked around a single by Bailey.
Chapman was relieved by Jared Datoc after a single and walk led off the 9th. Jared made it even more tense with a bases loading walk before getting a sweet double play grounder to Bailey. Although GSU scored on the play, they would get no more as called strike three ended the game with Tech winning 3-1. Hurter got the win, Cowart the loss, and Datoc the save as Tech improved to 14-11 with Miami and Jim Morris coming this weekend.