The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets made a brief stop home between two ACC road trips to take on the Kennesaw State Owls for the only time this year, winning by a final score of 17-7.
The teams usually do a home-and-home, but in 2017 both games were rained out and there’s no game at Kennesaw this year.
Tech had a very disappointing week, going 2-3 and suffering greatly in RPI because of it. KSU was 21-15 (7-2 Atlantic Sun) and on a five-game win streak after sweeping North Florida last weekend.
The Jackets sent midweek starter Brant Hurter (3-2, 5.52) against freshman LHP Ryan Kennedy (2-5, 8.44). Tonight turned out to be Tech’s highest scoring game of the season, as they jumped out early, fell behind only briefly, and then never looked back.
Tech struck first in the bottom of the first, when Joey Bart singled and was driven in by a two out double by Tristin English, who moved to third on the throw. Wade Bailey then singled him in by beating out a grounder to make it 2-0 early.
The lead was short-lived though, as the Owls beat out two infield singles before Forrest Bramlett launched one over the left center wall to put KSU up 3-2 in the middle of the second.
That lead lasted until two outs in the bottom of the second, when Kennedy made a terrible mistake with the bases loaded after singles by Colin Hall and Luke Waddell and a walk to Bart. Kyle McCann put the mistake over the right center wall for his third grand slam in nine days and the Jackets led 6-3. English followed with his second double (Mr. Doubles is back), but didn’t score.
In KSU’s fourth, after two quick outs, a walk and two singles scored the Owls’ fourth run. In the bottom of the inning, after McCann barely missed a two-run homer, KSU brought in sophomore RHP Taylor Wilkes to face English with Bart on first. He walked English before Bailey hit a three-run homer to right, making it 9-4 after four.
The Jackets added in their fifth when Oscar Serratos was hit by a pitch and Hall and Waddell both put singles through the hole left by the first baseman holding the runner. Waddell’s hit drove in Serratos to make it 10-4. After the Owls walked Bart again (slow learners?), McCann blasted a three run shot to right and KSU brought in junior RHP Ryan Wesley to face English, trailing 13-4.
After he retired English, Tech brought in Keyton Gibson in relief, but his outing was brief and he was pulled after eight consecutive balls. Robert Winborne came in with runners on first and second and got a quick double play before a single scored KSU’s fifth run.
Tech answered in the bottom with a two-out walk by Serratos and RBI double by pinch hitter Baron Radcliff to restore the nine-run lead as KSU brought in Brian Exley, a redshirt freshman LHP.
Hugh Chapman came in to pitch for Tech in the seventh and was greeted rudely with a single, triple, and single to score two before he regrouped and ended the inning with a strikeout and helpful double play with the Jackets up 14-7.
Tech could only score once in their half of the seventh, making it the only inning they were outscored. Bailey drove in McCann, who had singled and moved to second and the score was 15-7 as Bailey Combs came in to pitch and retired the Owls in order with two strikeouts.
Freshman RHP Monty Horn pitched to Tech in the bottom of the eighth and walked Cole Neuber before Radcliff hit the batter’s eye in center field with a two-run homer to make it a final score of 17-7 as Jared Datoc came in to pitch. He faced the minimum, with a bloop single erased by a game ending 6-4-3 DP started by Luke Waddell playing at shortstop for the first time. Jamie Taylor also made a nice play at third to get the first out.
Hurter got the win as Tech improved to 22-16 and Kennedy the loss as the Owls fell to 21-16. The Jackets travel tomorrow to #15 UNC, where Tech will has won four series in a row.