The #12 Oklahoma Sooners came to Atlanta for a trio of Spring Break matchups, starting with a game at Georgia Tech on Tuesday before playing Georgia State on Wednesday and Kennesaw State over the weekend. They were off to a red-hot start at 17-2, though without a win against a team with a winning record. Their only contest so far against a team with a winning record was a home game against Wichita State (8-6), a game that the Sooners lost 4-2. Further, and perhaps more importantly, Oklahoma had not yet played a road game when they showed up to Russ Chandler Stadium on Tuesday. It was game #20 on the season for the Sooners, but their first outside of the friendly confines of Norman, OK.
Coming into the game, the Yellow Jackets were 0-6 all-time against the Sooners, always having played at a neutral park -- most famously the 1994 CWS finals. Their most recent meeting was in 2004 in Fullerton, California.
Tuesday: Georgia Tech 2, #12 Oklahoma 0
W: Jay Shadday (1-0) | L: Austin Kerns (1-2)
Redshirt junior righty Ben Schneiderjans (0-0, 5.40 ERA) took the mound for Georgia Tech against Oklahoma’s sophomore righty Dylan Grove (0-1, 4.05 ERA). Originally scheduled for 6:00pm, the game was moved up to 4:00 PM and played in late winter cold.
Through four innings there was no score, as Schneiderjans followed up three perfect innings by stranding a runner to end the 4th. He followed that up by giving up a walk and a single in the 5th, ultimately stranding those runners by recording his sixth strikeout to end the inning. He had given up only a single and two walks in five innings of work.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets’ offense saw hits by Wade Bailey, Austin Wilhite, and Coleman Poje across the first four innings, but ultimately were unable to push any of them across. In the 5th, Ryan Peurifoy led off with a walk and moved to 3rd on a well-executed hit-and-run by Wilhite. Tech tried a squeeze bunt by Bailey, but it was bunted right to the pitcher who converted for an out at home. With two on, Chase Murray and Joey Bart each had flyouts to center field, leaving the Jackets with a golden opportunity missed.
Jay Shadday came in to pitch to start the 6th inning, and followed up a perfect frame by stranding two Sooners in the 7th with a strikeout of pinch hitter Quin Walbergh.
Oklahoma’s Austin Kerns came in to relieve Grove to start the 7th and hit Keenan Innis with his first pitch. It ended up being his only pitch of the game – he was pulled and replaced by J. B. Olson. A Peurifoy bunt moved Innis to second base, setting up Wilhite for an RBI double to right center – his third hit of the day, breaking the scoreless tie. A Bailey groundout moved Wilhite to third, setting up Murray for an RBI double of his own to nearly the same spot in the outfield. The Jackets had a 2-0 lead heading into the 8th.
Shadday stayed in the game and retired the final six batters in order to preserve the shutout. Between Schniederjans and Shadday, Georgia Tech recorded its first shutout of the season and gained the program’s first-ever win over the Sooners. In doing so, they gave Oklahoma its third loss of the season and their first time being shutout this year.
After the pitching woes of the Miami series, the performance today was very welcome. I learned today that Ben Parr is out of action for some – hopefully brief – period, so guys like these two are extra important. The RBI doubles by the two starting freshman position players demonstrates their value in this young season. Wilhite’s 3 hits raised his average to a team-leading .429 and Murray is hitting .310. Shadday leads the team in ERA at 1.04 after today’s gem.
Georgia Tech is back in action this weekend, with a very dangerous North Carolina team coming to town for a three-game set.