Having made it through the play-in game into pool play, the Jackets immediately faced a team that – like BC – had recently beaten them 2 out of 3 in Atlanta. Brandon Gold had won against them then, but he was no longer available after pitching on Tuesday. Today, midweek starter Jesse Lepore (8-0, 2.37) pitched for the Hurricanes against Jake Lee (3-2, 6.92) for the Jackets. Lee had not been successful against Miami in Atlanta 15 days ago, giving up 10 hits and 8 earned runs in only four innings.
|#25 Georgia Tech (36-21)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||1|
|#2 Miami (44-10)||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||4||6||1|
As visiting team, the Jackets batted first. A Matt Gonzalez two-out single was his 290th career hit, and moved him into sole possession of 4th place all-time at Georgia Tech over Jason Basil.
Lee got into trouble in the Miami 1st by walking two with one out. The Hurricanes struck first on an RBI single, with runners moving to 2nd and 3rd when Joey Bart couldn’t handle a wide throw in from CF Ryan Peurifoy. A third walk loaded the bases and disaster loomed. (All of the walks had been on 3-2 counts.) Ben Parr came in a coaxed a grounder, but it was placed where Wade Bailey had to dive for it and went as a RBI single. A bunt attempt was turned into a second out, although a covering Bailey was crashed into hard by the runner, before another groundout ended the frame. Unfortunately, after only one inning, the tournament's #1-seed Miami led 3-0.
Some sweet defense got Tech out of a little jam in the bottom of the 2nd when Bailey caught a line drive and then doubled off the Miami runner at 2nd. It was Georgia Tech’s nation-leading 74th double play. In Miami’s 3rd, Parr struck out the side using only 12 pitches. He got three quick outs in the 4th and 5th innings as well, but Lepore was keeping the Jackets' offense at bay in between. Each team had only 2 hits through five innings, but the first inning walks had been Tech’s familiar nemesis.
Career hit number 291 for Gonzalez was a leadoff double off the big wall in left field in the 6th, tying Nomar Garciaparra for 6th all-time in career doubles at Georgia Tech with 58. Unfortunately, he never advanced further as his teammates went down quickly after.
In Miami’s 6th, a two-out double and walk were stranded by Parr, keeping Georgia Tech's deficit to only 3-0. Lepore had some shoulder problems during Tech’s 7th and had to leave the game, replaced by Frankie Bartow. It was unfortunate for LaPore, who had pitched extremely well. Bartow issued a leadoff walk to Brandt Stallings, bringing up pinch-hitter Keenan Innis, who hit a comeback to the pitcher for an easy double play by Miami. Bart then grounded out, and the Jackets were down to six outs.
Parr gave up a two-out single to Chester in the Miami 7th, but Joey Bart erased him trying to steal second. Parr had thrown 84 pitches in 6.2 innings, giving up only 3 hits, and I'd imagine the coaching staff was regretting not starting him, for what that’s worth. The Jackets went down in order in their 8th, with Gonzalez being robbed of a hit by a diving Chester in center field. Micah Carpenter relieved Parr for Miami’s 8th, and gave up a solo homerun to Zach Collins, extending Miami's lead to 4-0.
Miami closer Bryan Garcia, with his 14 saves, came in for Tech’s 9th. English and Craport each managed one-out singles, but Stallings hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out. Innis coaxed a walk on a 3-2 count to load the bases, and Coach Hall pinch-hit Arden Pabst for Bart. Unfortunately, Arden struck out to end the game.
A rough start by Jake Lee put the Jackets in a hole they couldn’t get out of. Ben Parr pitched a great game in relief, but the Miami pitchers were equal to the task and shutout the potent Jackets for only the second time this season. Tech now must face FSU Thursday, already down 0-1 in pool play. It’s not impossible to make the title game, but it’ll require a lot of help now.