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Jackets drop tight game to UVA, 9-8

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The Cavaliers handed Tech a third-straight ACC loss on Saturday night.

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

Some of the best baseball games I’ve seen at Russ Chandler have been between the Jackets and Cavaliers. I especially remember a weekend about 10 years back that ended 1-1-1 when Virginia tied a game late before having to leave on a pre-established curfew.

Now, the 11-6 (1-2) Jackets send Xzavion Curry (2-0, 2.95ERA) up against junior RHP Noah Murdock (0-1, 3.63 ERA) for the 8-8 (1-2) Cavs. Midweek, Tech beat Ga Southern while Virginia lost to Liberty. Tonight turned into a heartbreaking loss for Tech after more than four hours.

UVA struck early with a one out double followed by a homer to right in the top of the 1st to lead 2-0. The Jackets tied it in the 2nd on McCann’s 11th homer to center field and Radcliff’s two out RBI single with Serratos on third. In the Tech 3rd, Guldberg singled and scored on English’s double to make it 3-2. Not through yet, Serratos scores on Colin Hall’s sac fly and Radcliff worked a walk with the bases loaded to make it 5-2 after three. It was in this inning that Tech recorded their last strikeout of a Cavalier batter all night, despite many two strike counts.

After Curry retired seven in a row, UVA loaded the bases to lead off their sixth on two singles and a very questionable walk. A deep sac fly and groundout scored two before out three kept the lead at a bare 5-4. In Tech’s half of the sixth, junior righty Paul Kosanovich relieved Murdock with one out and Guldberg on. After Guldberg moved to third on a passed ball and throwing error, English drove him in to get one run back and Tech led 6-4 after six.

After Curry put the first two on in the 7th, Luke Bartnicki relieved him. A pop up and fielder’s choice got two outs before an RBI single up the middle made it 6-5. Bartnicki’s pickoff attempt at second on the next batter was reviewed and changed to out in a huge call, keeping it 6-5 at the stretch.

Bartnicki came back for the 8th, but was relieved by Hughes after the leadoff batter reached on a bunt (called a single although McCann threw wide to first). After a wild pitch, two fly balls moved the tying run all the way around to score.

In the bottom of the 8th, Guldberg and English singled with one out and UVA brought in sophomore lefty Andrew Abbott. McCann drove one deep to left that bounced over for an RBI ground rule double. After Serratos was internationally walked, Colin Hall hit a grounder fielder’s choice that drove in Tech’s 8th run. Virginia brought in Devin Ortiz, a sophomore righty, who finished the inning.

Hughes came back to try to preserve the 8-6 lead, but he couldn’t do it. He hit the first batter, gave up a single, a RBI double, a RBI single to tie it, and a sac fly to give UVA the 9-8 lead. Keyton Gibson came in and got a too late double play to end the inning. Tech got the tying run to second base in their half of the 9th, as Guldberg had his second consecutive four hit game, but he stayed there as Virginia celebrated their big comeback win to improve to 2-2 ACC and a shocked Jacket team fell to 1-3.

There were plenty of offensive heroics for Tech, 15 hits with Guldberg, English, McCann, Serratos, and Radcliff each having multi-hit games, but the failure of relief pitching to several preserve leads cost Tech the game. Ortiz got the win, Hughes the loss. The teams play Saturday, but I have to attend a funeral so will miss it.