The Jackets sent Connor Thomas (4-3, 3.32) to the mound to attempt a series clinching win against sophomore RHP Morgan McSweeney (2-4, 3.76). Thomas had pitched the Jackets’ previous complete game against FSU three weeks ago and outdid himself today with another one as he picked up a crucial win while leaving the bullpen fresh.
The Jackets struck first when Chase Murray led off the 2nd with a homerun to right. Thomas had gotten through the first two innings with 12 pitches and three K’s. The Jackets added two more in their 3rd on a leadoff homer by Colin Hall and four walks, but missed a golden opportunity to blow it open when English and Waddell failed with the bases loaded. Wake took advantage of the momentum shift when they used a leadoff double followed by a single and ground ball out to score their first run and the Jackets led 3-1 in the middle of the 4th. Joey Bart led off the Tech 5th with a double, but once again the Jackets failed to capitalize, leaving seven runners on base in the third through fifth innings.
The Jackets didn’t waste a leadoff bunt single by Wade Bailey in the 7th, since Kyle McCann hit one deep over the right field wall to make it 5-1. Wake brought in sophomore LHP Bobby Hearn to relive McSweeney, who had pitched pretty well after his early game struggles.
After CT recorded his 13th and 14th K’s in the 8th, the Jackets put two on with two outs in their 8th. Wake brought in freshman RHP Antonio Menendez to face Bailey, who struck out. Connor Thomas came back for the 9th and finished with a flourish, notching his 15th, 16th, and 17th strikeouts, only two off the record of 19 set in 1975! He couldn’t quite match Xzavion with the shutout or two hitter, but outdid him by five in K’s while picking up his 5th win. McSweeney took the loss as Tech improved to 24-20 (11-12) and Wake fell to 19-25 (10-12). Offensive stars were Kyle McCann, Colin Hall and Chase Murray, although Tech leaving so many on base is a little concerning. Tech tries for the sweep Sunday and tries to erase the damage of last weekend at Chapel Hill.
These two games have been pleasures to watch and are a hopeful sign for the rest of the season.